The Samurai Of Prog - 'On We Sail' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 27, 2018    
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Highly accomplished for sure, but to me, they don't quite have the quality of material to be in the genre's Premier division.

The Samurai Of Prog are unusual in that they have only three regular members – Marco Bernard (bass), Steve Unruh (vocals, violins, flutes and guitars) and Kimmo Pörsti (drums) – yet rely on a vast and flexible array of guest performers and exclusively external writers. In this instance, this includes the likes of Kerry Shacklett (Presto Ballet), David Myers (The Musical Box), Sean Timms (Unitopia/Southern Empire/Damanek) and Michelle Young (Glass Hammer/Clive Nolan).

Shacklett's title track opens proceedings and musically Kansas come to mind thanks to the organ and violin sounds. Shacklett gets to shine on keyboards while Srdjan Brankovic delivers a fine guitar solo. 'Elements Of Life' initially hints at Keith Emerson, and with plenty of time changes, it's clearly Prog. 'Theodora' features the lead vocals of Young which blends nicely with that of Unruh's; her style is more Operatic than Rock but it fits the song.

'Ascension' is an instrumental from Myers that starts out funky and is jaunty throughout with keyboards, guitar and flute all getting to solo. 'Ghost Written' comes from the pen of Timms and features impassioned vocals from former Unitopia cohort Mark Trueack. Consequently, it will come as no surprise that it has a Unitopia feel to it. 'The Perfect Black' is another instrumental that never really catches fire, it feels disjointed, certainly its first half.

Shacklett's 'Growing Up' uses a variation of a familiar nursery rhyme and that, combined with some rather lightweight vocals, makes it feel a little lacking until the instrumental sections which are short but very sweet. 'Over Again' is another Myers instrumental, it's purely piano and segues seamlessly into the closing 'Tigers'. This was written by the late Stefan Renström (Simon Says) and is the album's second epic number. The more I listen to it, the more I'm drawn to a Glass Hammer comparison. Brett Kull provides the guitar solos and gets to let rip with several keyboard solos which, at different times, tip their hat at Emerson and Rick Wakeman.

The Samurai Of Prog firmly occupy the classic Prog genre and are unapologetic about it, consequently their appeal will be confined to those of us with a passion for that style. Highly accomplished for sure, but to me, they don't quite have the quality of material to be in the genre's Premier division.

Gary Marshall

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