[Review] Marco Bernard – The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up

We have the pleasure of listening to and reviewing another album released by Marco Bernard, a member of Samurai Of Prog, and one of the leading exponents of modern Progressive Rock. The artist’s new solo album entitled “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up” was released on March 31, 2023 via Seacrest Oy and contains seven tracks. The album features many guest appearances, resulting in a line-up of top artists, among the best in the modern music scene. An interweaving of arpeggios and a distinctly Symphonic atmosphere opens “Overture,” the album’s first track, with pompous features. Precious keyboard, woodwind and violin work over a solid, elaborate and markedly Prog rhythm section, full of tempo changes. Between technical passages and Symphonic openings, the track alternates between solo keyboard and guitar parts that immediately immerse us in the musical atmosphere of the album, with the classic imprinting to which these artists have accustomed us. The album’s longest track “Never Never Land” begins with acoustic guitar arpeggios and piano. With the entry of the rhythm section, the track develops with fine guitar and keyboard interlacing, over which a warm and expressive vocal interprets the lyrics. Intense ew full of quality cues and ideas, it combines the tradition of 70s Prog with the personal touch of these skilled artists in presenting it with a modern and original imprinting. The continuous tempo changes and solo inserts are the real added value to the sound of this piece. Technical passages and Symphonic openings alternate in the long instrumental textures, ending with the last sung verse, interpreted with passion. “The Lost Boys” opens with a soft piano, and then the rest of the instruments come in and develop into an energetic and elaborate markedly Prog song. Keyboards take center stage, thanks in part to the wide range of sounds at diusposition. The vocals are dynamic, alternating between solo stanzas and highly engaging choral refrains. As in the best tradition of Prog, the track is enriched by tempo changes that enhance the technique of the artists involved, between intense melodies and solos. In the central part they develop a long instrumental section with keyboards and guitar as protagonists, alternating until the finale with the sung parts, incorporating different genres and styles with technique and quality. A Symphonic opening with mellotron and guitar arpeggios characterizes “The Home Under the Ground.” The first part of the song is more delicate, and then develops with a musical crescendo, increasing in intensity as the mintui flows. The instrumental textures are very well-rendered and technical, with fine interweaving of piano and electric guitar, creating solo parts of absolute value. In the second part, male and female voices duet, accompanying us until the finale and alternating with instrumental parts with Jazz Prog traits. “The Pirate Ship (Hook or Me)” is another track that exceeds 10 minutes, the theme of which is Captain Hook’s pirate ship. The rhythm section is solid and elaborate, giving a more Heavy feel to the track, with valuable synth textures that take us back to the sounds of the 1970s. The tempo changes are continuous, developing the central theme of the song, one of the most complex and intricate on the record, with an over-the-top technique. The vocals are energetic and full of pathos, fitting precisely into the context of the track, which is constantly evolving and full of high-level ideas. A deep bass line opens “The Return Home” with interweaving piano and keyboards and the synth still leading the melodies. The guitar duets, while the violin with its interventions takes the sound to another level. Entirely instrumental, the track enhances the technique of all the artists involved who have ample room to express themselves. Winds, violin, guitar and keyboards weave between engaging melodies and solo parts, while bass and drumming create a solid and elaborate rhythm section, keeping the level very high. The album ends with “Lunar Boy,” which opens with a ballad style, then evolves into a Prog song in a steady musical crescendo. The track elaborates as the minutes go by, inserting a warm vocal in the middle section. The violin offers an interesting solo insert, followed by synth and chitrarra in a long instrumental section. Alternating between very intense choral and instrumental sung parts, the track concludes this fine work, leaving us wanting to listen to this work many more times. Marco Bernard and all the artists involved create another record of absolute value, technical, Symphonic and very intense from beginning to end. Inside the tracklist are all the ingredients that a lover of Progressive sounds looks for when buying an album. A confirmation for these artists, who over the years have proven to be among the best in the modern music scene. A recommended listen for all lovers of Prog sounds, a true masterpiece and one of the best releases of the year.

Tracklist

01. Overture (6:14)
02. Never Never Land (11:24)
03. The Lost Boys (10:20)
04. The Home Under the Ground (9:54)
05. The Pirate Ship (Hook or Me) (10:37)
06. The Return Home (6:59)
07. Lunar Boy (7:57)

Lineup

Marco Bernard / Shuker Basses
Octavio Stampal├Ča / Keyboards
Brody Green / Drums
Steve Hagler / Electric Guitar
Marc Papeghin / French Horn, Trumpet
Steve Unruh / Vocals, Flute, Violin
Alessandro Di Benedetti / Keyboards
Ruben Alvarez / Electric & Acoustic Guitars
Kimmo P├Ârsti / Drums
Sara Traficante / Flute
John Wilkinson / Vocals
Mimmo Ferri / Keyboards, Additional Guitars
Beatrice Birardi / Xylophone, Bongos, Tambourine, Doumbek
Gennaro Piepoli / Acoustic & Electric Guitars
Marco Vincini / Vocals
Andrea Pavoni / Keyboards
Cam Blockland / Vocals
Carmine Capasso / Electric Guitar
Adam Diderrich / Violin
Audrey Lee Harper / Vocals
Daniele Pomo / Drums & Percussion
Marco Grieco / Keyboards, Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals
Matthew Parmenter / Vocals
Hans J├Ârg Schmitz / Drums
Marcel Singor / Electric Guitar
Oliviero Lacagnina / Keyboards
Marek Arnold / Saxophone
Rafael Pacha / Classical Guitar
Charles Plogman / Electric Guitar
Riccardo Spilli / Drums
Giorgio Mastrosanti / Telecaster Guitar
Juhani Nisula / Electric Guitar
Bo-Anders Sandstr├Âm / Vocals

Marco Bernard |Facebook Page|

Seacrest Oy |Official Website|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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