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Bernard and Pörsti: Robinson Crusoe

The Samurai of Prog comes through in many guises, SoT �" the band’s original form, The Guildmaster, Bernard and Pörsti, and many other projects. No matter which you choose, rest assured the quality is top notch. This time around we have the latest from Bernard and Pörsti titled Robinson Crusoe, released in 2021. Like all their albums, the guest list is impressive with many of the old guard including Oliviero Lacagnina (keyboards), Octavio Stampalia (keyboards), Marcella Arganese (guitar), Rafael Pacha (acoustic and electric guitars, recorder, viola da gamba), and many more.

The concept delves into the explorations of Robinson Crusoe, a novel written by Daniel Defoe in 1719. Like all Samurai of Prog albums, the story is part of the journey and really is a huge part of the listening experience. Also, Ed Unitsky returns with his stellar artwork, always a big part of the band’s package.

The disc begins with the Stampalia penned “Overture”, a dreamy and serene soundscape that is enriched with intense flurries of violin and an outstanding keyboard solo from Stampalia. The orchestrations are, at times, breathtaking. This leads directly into “Like an Endless Sea” where a dramatic intro of horns, keyboards, and marching drums lead into wonderful guitar and keyboard interaction. The vocals of John Wilkinson subtly reminded me of Jon Anderson. As you would expect these are exceptional players, wonderfully played symphonic prog with an old school charm yet with modern sensibilities. That has always been one of the band’s virtues, melding the old with the new, all the while making grand statements, with great melodies always at hand. “The Voyage Begins” is a classy solo piano piece written and performed by David Myers while Steve Hackett adds some signature guitar solos in “The Island of Despair”, another richly orchestrated piece with varied tempos, complex instrumentation, and various shades of heavy and light. The multi-part “Friday” is a ten-minute ride that all fans of classic progressive rock should enjoy, especially those who can appreciate a little Italian flair.

What can I say? This band keeps on producing great music as their creativity and artistry seems to know no bounds. Absolutely recommended!

A Seacrest Oy label release.

Track Listing:
1. Overture (6:18)
2. Like an Endless Sea (9:38)
3. The Voyage Begins (3:08)
4. The Island of Despair (10:00)
5. Friday (10:08)
6. The Rescue (7:23)
7. New Life (5:16)

Added: September 20th 2022
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band on Facebook
Hits: 458
Language: english

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