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Bernard and Pörsti: Gulliver

If you have read my reviews the last few years you would know one of my favourite bands is The Samurai Of Prog, led by drummer Kimmo Pörsti and bassist Marco Bernard. Well, their new project has them joining with fellow bandmate Steve Unruh (adds violin and vocals on one track) and many special guests in what is another fantastic piece of art. I have to say this is just as good as anything from their other band (although I suppose one could consider this a TSoP release) which is really quite incredible considering how prolific The Samurai Of Prog has been of late.

In true progressive fashion Gulliver is an elaborate concept album bringing to life ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ as told in four parts. It really is amazing how these musicians come together for these projects. The care and attention to the smallest of details is just so impressive. The disc starts off very strong with the excellent “Overture XI”. The organ riffs, courtesy of Andrea Pavoni, are both powerful and dramatic but soon the song drifts into dreamy solitude with floaty keyboards and softer instrumentation. The crystalline lead guitar that ensues is so tasty and I hear some Floydy bits in the background keyboards. Meanwhile the rhythm section of Pörsti and Bernard hold it all together with incredible expertise. The heaviness returns with a ripping guitar solo and weighyt rhythms. “Lilliput Suite” is the first epic at almost eighteen minutes. This one has an Italian prog influence and is a very adventurous piece, beautifully constructed with Marco Vincini’s wonderful lead vocals (who at times sounds a bit like Gabriel ��" Genesis period), tasty lead guitar (acoustic and electric) from Ruben Alvarez and Rafael Pacha and intricate keyboard orchestrations from Oliviero Lacagnina who has played on the last three Samurai Of Prog albums. The incredibly catchy “The Giants” has stand out keyboards through the entire track. The guitar is also of ear worm quality and Marek Arnold adds a nice sax solo. The tone is a bit darker on “The Land of the Fools” and I am really digging the lead vocals of Daniel Fäldt as well as the funky bass figure from Bernard. At over fourteen minutes in length there is ample opportunity for the players to explore light and heavier soundscapes and the band takes full advantage. “Gulliver’s Fourth Travel” is another great track this time featuring English and Italian vocals by Steve Unruh and Stefano Galifi respectively. The tripped out keyboard spot of Luca Scherani is very cool.

As with all the Samurai Of Prog albums the packaging and artwork is exceptional, the work that goes into these releases is very impressive. The attention to detail provided on all the tracks is very much appreciated. This is a perfect example of why any prog fan would want the physical release. I urge everyone to support this very talented group of musicians.

Track Listing:
1. Overture XI
2. Lilliput Suite
3. The Giants
4. The Land of the Fools
5. Gulliver’s Fourth Travel
6. Finale

Added: April 26th 2020
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
Hits: 642
Language: english

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