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The Samurai of Prog - Secrets Of Disguise CD (album) cover

SECRETS OF DISGUISE

The Samurai of Prog

 

Crossover Prog

3.94 | 103 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The second set of prog covers by this Finnish-based group (bassist Marco Bernard, drummer Kimmo Pörsti and multi-instrumentalist Steve Unruh) and their huge cast of guests is more ambitious and notably bigger in size than their debut Undercover (2011). The first disc of 77 minutes has 10 amazing covers plus Samurai Of Prog's own beautiful track 'Sweet Iphigenia' from the Colossus project "Decameron 2", while the second CD includes only four tracks but is still 54 minutes long. The leaflet containing all the information track-by-track is also very beautifully illustrated.

So the first impression is like being taken for a luxorious ride into a prog heaven. The compositions of 70's classic prog are chosen with excellent taste and they are performed with great dedication and skill. It's only natural that in time the listener becomes less enthusiastic about this set: you begin to ask yourself why listen to these covers instead of the originals. But an album of prog covers hardly gets better than this anyway.

First we have the epic 'Three Piece Suite' from ENGLAND's classic album (1977); Robert Webb is featured on Mellotron, Hammond and other keyboards, and on vocals together with Steve Unruh & Mirja Lassila. The way some of the original performers are invited as guests continues throughout the set, e.g. 'Descendo en el Maelstrom' features Mento Hevia from the Spanish prog legends CRACK. Undercover had a little instrumental prefacing (and inspired by) 'Lamia', and a similar approach is taken here with another GENESIS masterpiece, 'Dancing With the Moonlit Knight': 'Before the Dance' is a piano solo by David Myers. And after Genesis, a wonderful interpretetation of the lovely GENTLE GIANT track 'Aspirations from The Power and the Glory (1974)'. Wow! Those extra vibraphones nicely increase the jazzy feel.

'Traveler' originates from the 1977 PFM album Jet Lag. Guest vocalist Mark Trueack comes from the Aussie prog group Unitopia (though this information is not mentioned in the leaflet). The next tracks is probably unfamiliar to non-Finnish, it's the best track 'Sameassa vedessä' from MATTI JÄRVINEN's sole album (1976), which is considered as a prog classic even though its progressivity isn't very notable - which is why one can't find it from the Archives. The Finnish lyrics are sung by female Mirja Lassila. The only choice in CD One that I'm not very happy with is the KING CRIMSON track 'One More Red Nightmare'. It is followed by 'To Take Him Away' from the eponymous 1972 album of the French SANDROSE. Respectably many countries are covered! YES's 'Time and a Word' features extended vocal arrangements by Jon Davison, who was shortly afterwards asked to join Yes.

In my opinion CD Two is not as pleasant. Easily the most annoying track on the whole set is UTOPIA's 'Singring and the Glass Guitar' (23:32) with all the naiive stroytelling and melodies that become earworms. The other long track is the alternative version of Samurai Of Prog's epic composition from "The Stories of H. P. Lovecraft". In between there are two more excellent prog covers, VDGG's 'Darkness' and RUSH's 'Jacob's Ladder'. No doubt this set deserves four stars.

Matti | 4/5 |

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