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Samurai Of Prog, The: Archiviarum

The multinational progressive rock band The Samurai Of Prog are at it again with the release of their latest opus titled Archiviarum. The band was formed by Italian born bassist Marco Bernard, who spearheaded the 'Colossus' magazine in the ‘90s and the subsequent music CDs that are amazing in their own right. Joining Bernard are American musician Steve Unruh (lead and backing vocals, violin, flute, electric guitar, mandolin) and Finnish born Kimmo Pörsti (drums and percussion).

I first became familiar with the band upon hearing the excellent Imperial Hotel (2014). Each successive follow up has been stellar. The band’s been working at a steady rate having released the superb On We Sail in 2017 and their latest album Archiviarum earlier this year. The increased output has not diminished the quality of their work in the slightest as Archiviarum is another great release. As with all their albums the trio surrounds themselves with quality guest musicians like Brett Kull (Echolyn), Mark Trueack (Unitopia), Danny Lopresto (Southern Empire), Marek Arnold (United Progressive Fraternity, Toxic Smile, Seven Steps To The Green Door), David Myers (ex-The Musical Box), Oliviero Lacagnina (Latte E Miele) and many others. The album is a mixture of new tracks and previously recorded tunes from other projects that have been given an updated treatment. None of these tunes have appeared on previous albums of the band.

Archiviarum is chalk full of outstanding symphonic progressive rock beginning with the first track “Keep The Ball Rolling”. An excellent organ intro followed by scintillating violin riffs, tricky rhythmic changes and a head sticking melody are a few highlights. The organ flourishes have a Kansas vibe and the twists and turns make this a real progfest for the ears. The wistful and poignant “Ahead Of Fortune” is slightly more plaintive with lovely acoustic strumming and a vocal melody that reeled me in almost immediately. The slightly distorted guitar solo from Ruben Alvarez is very nice. On the melodic “La Oscuridad” Unruh and guest vocalist Michelle Young both sing in Spanish which is quite befitting of the music. The orchestral elements like solo organ and synths, piano and big crescendos really give this one an epic feel. “Cristalli” is sung in Italian by Stefano 'Lupo' Galifi and includes tasty guitar work and another excellent keyboard solo. The keyboard drenched “Elitropia”, courtesy of Lacagnina, first appeared on Decameron III and is given a new mix here. The circus like melodies and bouncy keys give way to darker tones with many twists along the way. Keyboard fanciers should love this piece. “The Sleeping Lover” is taken from the Decameron II project, this time with newly recorded vocals and a different mix. The vocal and guitar melodies are quite exquisite. Flute and violin also feature prominently. “From This Window” was recorded during the On We Sail session and is the album’s longest track at over ten minutes. Uplifting and soaring symphonic prog with interweaving keyboards and guitar and an outstanding vocal arrangement.

Two covers grace the end of the CD; Camel’s “Ice” and Bowies’ “Heroes”. The beginnings of this reworking date back a few years with the intent of having Guy Leblanc (Camel) add keyboards but his unfortunate passing meant a change in plans. Arnold’s intro saxophone solo is absolutely gorgeous as are Stefano Vicarelli’s keyboards. This is certainly a classy tribute to Guy. The last track “Heroes”, ends the disc with a solid rocker. Trueack’s vocals and Arnold’s sax are fabulous.

This band continues to make some of the finest progressive rock around. Another superb offering from The Samurai Of Prog.

Track Listing:
1. Keep The Ball Rolling (6:07)
2. Ahead Of Fortune (5:16)
3. La Oscuridad (9:50)
4. Cristalli (5:24)
5. Elitropia (4:56)
6. The Sleeping Lover (8:32)
7. From This Window (10:37)
8. Ice (9:41)
9. Predawn (4:06)
10. Heroes (Bonus Track) (5:36)

Added: June 12th 2018
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1644
Language: english

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