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Samurai of Prog, The: On We Sail
Bass player and composer Marco Bernard has been a mainstay in the Finnish progressive rock scene for a number of years now having been involved with Colossus Magazine since 1996. It is from this involvement that led to the formation of The Samurai of Prog in 2009. Their debut Undercover was released in 2011 followed by Secrets of Disguise (2013), The Imperial Hotel (2014), Lost and Found (2016) and their brand new disc On We Sail (2017).
The core trio of:
Marco Bernard (Rickenbacker bass)
Steve Unruh (vocals, violin, flute, guitar)
Kimmo Pörsti (drums, percussion, backing vocals)
…have not surprisingly surrounded themselves with an impressive list of guest musicians including:
Rubén Álvarez (electric and acoustic guitars)
Octavio Stampalía (keyboards)
Kerry Shacklett (keyboards, vocals, acoustic and electric guitar)
Srdjan Brankovic (electric guitars)
David Myers (keyboards, grand piano)
Jacques Friedmann (electric guitars)
Luca Scherani (keyboards)
Michelle Young (vocals)
Sean Timms (keyboards)
Mark Trueack (vocals)
Jacob Holm-Lupo (electric guitars)
Oliviero Lacagnina (keyboards)
Flavio Cucchi (classical guitar)
Brett Kull (electric guitar)
Daniel Fäldt (vocals)
Roberto Vitelli (Moog Taurus pedals)
Stefan Renström (keyboards, vocoder)
On We Sail delivers all the elements we have come to expect from the band; beautiful melodies, great musicianship, diverse song structures and an overall classy retro vibe. The title track leads off the disc with an excellent uplifting melody. Unruh's lead vocals are on point and the keyboards are typically outstanding. Some nice tradeoffs between keys and violin adds to the heightened drama. With the powerful "Elements of Life", guitar, keyboards and flute all dominate in this one showcasing the band's instrumental prowess. The squelching guitar solo sounds great loud. The dynamic "Theodora" is another great track this time featuring the lead vocals of Michelle Young. Great keyboard solos, edgy guitar riffs and dramatic rhythms are what you will hear. On the somewhat mellow "Ascension" the keyboards and orchestrations really hit the melodic sweet spot. With the easy flowing mid-tempo groove of "Ghost Written" the melody is again the main focus enhanced with wonderful flute and violin. The laid back lead vocals of Trueack suit the music perfectly. The lead guitar work from Álvarez is another album highlight. Lovely keyboard textures and dramatic orchestrations make the instrumental "The Perfect Black" another classy piece of classically influenced symphonic prog.
The ten minute epic "Tigers" ends the disc with an emotional vocal performance from Fäldt, excellent electric guitar from Kull and more fine keyboard solos.
On We Sail continues the tradition of excellent production and tunesmith from this international group of musicians. Another great release from The Samurai of Prog.
1. On We Sail (6:21)
2. Elements of Life (7:54)
3. Theodora (5:55)
4. Ascension (5:19)
5. Ghost Written (9:40)
6. The Perfect Black (9:30)
7. Growing Up (5:42)
8. Over Again (4:06)
9. Tigers (10:34)
Added: September 13th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
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