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The Samurai of Prog - Lost And Found CD (album) cover

LOST AND FOUND

The Samurai of Prog

 

Crossover Prog

3.82 | 89 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Multinational virtual band THE SAMURAI F PROG, steered by bassist Marco Bernard, continue tirelessly their pilgrimage into the 70's epic progressive rock. The core trio is again accompanied by a big cast of international prog musicians, and this time to the fullest extent keyboardist Stefan Renström and guitarist Johan Öijen (whoever they are). As you may remember, TSoP's first two albums contain covers of mostly well-known prog classics, and the music on The Imperial Hotel (2014) was composed by the keyboard-playing collaborators such as Robert Webb of ENGLAND. I was pretty enthusiastic for that work, but now I feel sort of exhausted and I'm not completely convinced of the material that originates from the mid/late 70's.

Actually my initial listening was coloured by negative thoughts of pretentiousness, the kind of "prog for prog's sake" that screamed for the table-cleaning tsunami of the punk movement. That is, these long and complex compositions left me rather cold emotionally (just like TULL's A Passion Play does). I even thought very cynically: what else to expect from originally shelved and unfinished works by relatively minor followers of YES, GENESIS and ELP, such as LIFT, CATHEDRAL and QUILL? On my second listening I began to admit the possibility that the closer you learn these tracks, the more you like them. For sure, all the musicians give their best, as if these pieces really were lost masterpieces that criminally never before were given a full treatment. It's the vocal department that I'm permanently least satisfied with.

'Preludin' is a complex instrumental originally written for PAVLOV'S DOG, featuring its guitarist Steve Scorfina. It's a bumpy ride, but Steve Unruh's flute and violin are used effectively. 'Along the Way' is a brief piano piece by David Myers, continuing the tradition of all TSoP albums. 20-minute 'Inception' originates from the archives of the US band LIFT. I don't much like the nasal voice of Unruh, but the Genesis/Yes/ELP influences are interesting to say the least.

'She (Who Must Be Obeyed)' - originally composed for ODYSSEY of which I have no specific knowlegde - features vocalist Jon Davison, whose high-pitched Jon Anderson imitation becomes a nuisance on this non-YES context. Anyway the sound is nice & warm with lots of Mellotron and Hammond. When we get to 'Plight of the Swan' sung in a Gabrielish manner by Unruh, I really begin to wish other kinds of vocalists. This one's probably going to remain as my least favourite here.

CD 1 approaches 53 minutes, but CD 2 is even longer with its sole track, an epic dealing with an adventurous quest for magical book (practically worth of a lengthy concept album of its own). The American band QUILL were heavily influenced by ELP and YES. The members are as usual, featured as guests. Sadly this 36-part piece plays as a single track on the CD player... There are beautiful instrumental passages, but again the vocals are the weak link IMHO, and frankly I have no big interest towards the extremely pretentious dramatic context. In the end, for me this monstrous epic is an exhausting time-stealer instead of an uplifting, magnificent listening experience that a prog epic ought to be.

All in all, the grandiose and complex prog itself gets only 3½ stars with all my negative remarks considered, but the lavish artwork of Ed Unitsky easily dictates how I round my rating!

Matti | 4/5 |

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