[Review] Ryo Okumoto – The Myth of the Mostrophus

Ryo Okumoto is one of the leading exponents of modern Progressive Rock, known for his eclectic style on keyboards. His career begins collaborating with Kitaro, but it is as a keyboard player for Spock’s Beard that he reaches the pinnacle of success. As a soloist he has released 6 studio albums, the new “The Myth of the Mostrophus” was released on July 29, 2022 via InsideOut Music. Containing 6 long tracks including the final epic of over 22 minutes in which numerous leading exponents of the world music scene collaborate. The album opens with “Mirror Mirror” with a fine intertwining of Ryo‘s pompous keyboards and guitar on a solid and linear rhythm session. The track evolves enriching with tempo changes, a dynamic and expressive vocal, creating engaging choruses and passages that remain in the mind. The style is markedly Progressive, with technique and quality enhanced by the presence of top level musicians. A song that immediately plunges us into the atmosphere of the album, proposing the classic sounds of the genre in a modern context with the unmistakable touch of Ryo. In the instrumental sections the solo inserts are excellent, with the organ in evidence in the central part and duets with the guitar that combine symphonic features with virtuosity. From the solid and elaborate sounds “Turning Point” immediately highlights Ryo‘s keyboards and a warm and expressive vocal, continuous tempo changes and a very refined sound. Symphonic Prog, Heavy strokes, forays into Jazz Prog united by the stellar technique of the artists involved make the track original. Elaborate and at the same time accessible, with a virtuoso instrumental section where they duet guitar and keyboard mixing different styles and musical genres with ease, keeping the level of the album very high. “The Watchmaker (Time on His Side)” was also extracted as a single to anticipate the album, opening with rock-hard guitar riffs and a pompous synth. The vocal is dynamic and more melodic, with engaging choral parts, while the track is enriched with tempo changes and keyboard weaves. With an imprint closer to the sounds of the artist’s early days, which offers valuable and sought-after solo inserts, despite the piece being more commercial, in the good sense of the term. A delicate acoustic guitar arpeggio opens “Maximum Velocity” on which a warm and expressive vocal is inserted with a sweet choral background. At 2 minutes with a change it turns into a solid Prog song with harder strokes, with excellent mixes between guitar and keyboards. A constantly evolving track that is enriched by tempo changes and intricate passages offering a high-level Prog that enhances the characteristics of all the artists involved, concluding with a musical crescendo. Dreamy atmospheres on the piano that intertwine with the flute open “Chrysalis,” the softest track of the album, full of pathos with a valuable vocal interpretation. It softens the tones between the long Prog tracks of the disc, showing a different facet of the sound of the artist skilled in proposing a very intense song. In the second part it evolves into a musical crescendo, and then closes leaving us with good sensations. The title track “The Myth of the Mostrophus” is an epic suite of over 22 minutes, which starts immediately strong with a granite and energetic sound with excellent mixes between guitar and keyboards. Continuous tempo changes and complex plots characterize the entire length of the piece, which is a succession of solo inserts and duets that alternate with intense vocal parts. Within this excellent piece we find all the facets of the artist’s sound, passing from the Prog Synphonic at times more Heavy, virtuous passages and others softer and more delicate. A cornerstone for this album that certainly raises the level of the disc, already of excellent quality, an absolute masterpiece. As said for the final track, this album is an absolute masterpiece, a record to listen to and to listen to again as it is full of quality ideas. A stellar lineup that showcases all his technique, with Ryo Okumoto in great shape both in the composition and in the execution phase. One of the best record releases of recent years, a must-have album for all Prog lovers.

Tracklist

01. Mirror Mirror (9:27)
02. Turning Point (6:53)
03. The Watchmaker (Time on His Side) (6:25)
04. Maximum Velocity (8:11)
05. Chrysalis (7:35)
06. The Myth of the Mostrophus (22:14)

Lineup

Nick D’Virgilio (Big Big Train, Spock’s Beard) – Drums & Vocals
Al Morse (Spock’s Beard) – Guitar
Dave Meros (Spock’s Beard) – Bass
Ted Leonard (Spock’s Beard. Transatlantic) – Vocals
Jimmy Keegan (Spock’s Beard) – Vocals
Steve Hackett (Genesis) – Guitar
Michael Sadler (Saga, ProgJect) – Vocals
Mike Keneally (Steve Vai, Frank Zappa, ProgJect) – Guitar
Jonathan Mover (Joe Satriani, ProgJect) – Drums
Marc Bonila (Keith Emerson/Kevin Gilbert) – Guitar
Doug Wimbish (Living Colour) – Bass
Randy McStine (McStine & Minnemann, Porcupine Tree) – Guitars & Vocals
Lyle Workman (Todd Rundgren) – Guitar
Michael Whiteman (I Am the Manic Whale) – Guitars & Vocals

Ryo Okumoto |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

InsideOut Music |Official Website|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

Leave a Reply