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Samurai of Prog, The: Undercover

The Samurai of Prog is - yes, you've guessed it - a progressive rock act, and Undercover is their debut full-length studio album. Despite only being a trio at their core, the band recruits genre-veterans like Roine Stolt, Guy LeBanc, Michael Manring, Jon Davison, Jonas Reingold, as well as many others to help flesh out this album that mainly consists of cover tunes. Prog rock fans should have their interest immediately piqued by some of the guest musicians, but the track listing which includes covers of songs from Genesis, Yes, Marillion, ELP, Pink Floyd, and many others should make many fans of the genre track down Undercover immediately. The trio plays all of the songs with convincing power and execution, and The Samurai of Prog are clearly an extremely gifted ensemble. Undercover may be more of a novelty than an actual artistic statement, but as far as cover albums go, this is one of the best options out there for fans of progressive rock. Consider this one highly recommended!

For better or for worse, every one of the covers here does a remarkable job of sounding extremely similar to the original act. The trio does mix up a few songs - particularly on their rendition of Pink Floyd's "Dogs" - but their versions of "Starship Trooper", "The Lamia", and "Assassing" sound especially like their respective originators. Everything from the vocal arrangements to the clever uses of instrumentation sound remarkable similar to the original acts, even though The Samurai of Prog does put their own unique twist every now and again on all of the tracks. And even if they didn't, the musicianship is so impressive that the covers are remarkable either way. The sleek, modern production also suits the music perfectly.

Undercover doesn't exactly re-invent the wheel, but if you're looking for an absolutely top-notch album of progressive rock cover tunes it's hard to go wrong with this one. The Samurai of Prog have proven that they are an extremely talented ensemble with this debut effort, and I'll be keeping a close eye on them in the coming years. It's rare to come across albums with this level of finesse contained within the musicianship and arrangements, and the choice of cover tunes should easily turn the heads of prog fans worldwide. 3.5 stars seem fair for this impressive effort. Undercover may not be an entirely independent artistic statement, but it's a damn good one nonetheless!

Track Listing:
1. Before the Lamia (2:08)
2. The Lamia (7:22)
3. Starship Trooper (10:27)
4. World of Adventures (9:47)
5. Assassing (7:06)
6. Gravitá 9.81 (2:25)
7. Jerusalem (2:44)
8. Dogs (11:49)
9. The Promise (8:09)
10. ...Zap (0:10)
11. Resistor: Stranger (3:52)
12. Costa & Mariotti: Blood Sacrifice (4:52)
13. Roz Vitalis: Asylum (4:06)
14. Contrarian: Prisoner of the World (2:55)

Added: September 24th 2011
Reviewer: Jeff B
Related Link: The Samurai of Prog Website
Hits: 3880
Language: english

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