[Review] The Samurai Of Prog – The Lady And The Lion (And Other Grimm Tales I)

The Samurai Of Prog are one of the most interesting bands of the modern Progressive Rock scene, with numerous high-level albums to their credit. The main members who gave life to the project are Steve Unruh, Kimmo Porsti and Marco Bernard, also engaged in other parallel projects that are also very interesting soloists. In 2021 they proposed an ambitious work divided into 2 parts inspired by the tales of the Brothers Grimm, first of which is titled “The Lady And The Lion (And Other Grimm Tales I).” The album was released for the Seacrest Oy label on May 7, 2021 with a very beautiful cover art by Nele Diel. It contains 6 tracks for over 40 minutes of music, as always well composed and performed with the participation of numerous guests as is customary in the projects of these artists. Those who follow and know their music know that their style is inspired by the 70s Prog bands, with a symphonic connotation and personal character without too many virtuosity but with a sound that manages to enhance the qualities of all the artists involved. “Into the Woods” is the opening track that starts with a soft piano and a violin background and then adds the rhythm session and a pleasant flute. It is an introductory instrumental piece, which immediately plunges us into the symphonic atmospheres of the group, enriched by tempo changes and valuable inserts of electric guitar and keyboards. In the final section in calando the piece ends by resuming the initial part with only the violin and the piano and then launching the next track “The Three Snake Leaves.” The keyboards are intertwined with a deep bass and the violin and the second song comes to life, with a sudden change it becomes a theme with strong Prog connotations. Intricate rhythms, a warm and expressive vocal that begins the narration with high-level and inspiring lyrics. Each passage and each melody is precise involving the listener with violin and keyboard protagonists in the first instrumental section, enhancing the skills of the musicians. The intensity increases with the passing of the minutes and then in the central part offer a guitar and synth solo, after which the narration resumes with flute inserts. The numerous instruments present allow the band to have a range of sounds out of the ordinary, with all instruments played to perfection, a start of impact, which immediately makes us think of another masterpiece produced by this band. “Iron John” is characterized by a darker intro than the previous one, always with keyboards and violin in evidence, and then develops a symphonic theme with positive melodies. The instrumental parts are masterful, with pompous openings and melodies that immediately capture the listener’s attention, catapulting him into the magical realm of the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales. In the central part there is a section that recalls the medieval sounds, perfectly fitting with the theme of the disc and set in the musical context of the album. The band’s ideas are well developed, always giving the right space to the instruments, and managing to mix the Prog tradition with their concept and musical style. In the finale a soft violin and acoustic guitar supported by winds accompany us towards the end of this instrumental piece. We have come to the longest track on the album titled “A Queen’s Wish,” which exceeds 11 minutes in length, starting with a delicate piano and orchestral background. Enter the vocal that keeps the atmosphere soft, alternating male and female voices, both very expressive, and the story continues. With the passing of the minutes the piece becomes more elaborate, giving space to a wide range of instruments and sounds, leaving space for the narration in the initial stages. In the first instrumental section the scene is guided by the synth, and then returns to singing, always alternating the two voices with these pleasant inserts of keyboards with a 70s flavor. A succession of emotions, from the guitar solo in the central part, to the tempo changes, to the development of the theme that takes advantage of the long duration of the track for all 11 and 36 minutes. Knowing how to create such intense songs is not an easy job, but it is made so by the Samurai technique both in the composition and in the execution phase, one of the best moments of a record that hits the mark at every step. “The Lady and the Lion” is the title-track, lasting just under 4 minutes, an interesting passage to the very technical and well-built piano, which softens the tones after the previous long Prog track. Closes the album “The Blue Light” which begins with layers of choral voices that soon give way to an acoustic guitar and flute arpeggio. The theme evolves with a valuable Prog theme, which returns to the style of the previous pieces, with the alternation of male and female singing, rich tempo changes and musical excursions in which different instruments are expressed. The matrix of the ’70s is present, with inserts of keyboards and guitar that intertwine, giving life to a song in crescendo at times pulled that concludes in the best way this excellent album. Closes the album “The Blue Light” which begins with layers of choral voices that soon give way to an acoustic guitar and flute arpeggio. The theme evolves with a valuable Prog theme, which returns to the style of the previous pieces, with the alternation of male and female singing, rich tempo changes and musical excursions in which different instruments are expressed. The matrix of the ’70s is present, with inserts of keyboards and guitar that intertwine, giving life to a song in crescendo at times pulled that concludes in the best way this excellent album.

Tracklist

1. Into the Woods (3:07)
2. The Three Snake Leaves (9:43)
3. Iron John (5:58)
4. A Queen’s Wish (11:36)
5. The Lady and the Lion (3:59)
6. Blue Light (6:48)

Lineup

Marco Bernard / Basses
Kimmo Porsti / Drums, Percussion
Steve Unruh / Vocals, Violins, Flute, Guitars

With:
David Myers / Grand Piano
Octavio Stampalia / Keyboards
Alessandro Di Benedetti / Keyboards
Ton Scherpenzeel / Keyboards
Jaime Rosas / Keyboards
Carmine Capasso / Electric Guitar
Cam Blokland / Guitar
Kari Riihimaki / Guitar
Rafael Pacha / Guitar
Valerie Gracious / Vocals
Marcelo Ezcurra / Vocals
Bart Schwertmann / Vocals
Marc Papeghin / French Horn, Trumpet

The Samurai Of Prog |Facebook Page|Spotify|

Seacrest Oy |Official Website|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

2 thoughts on “[Review] The Samurai Of Prog – The Lady And The Lion (And Other Grimm Tales I)

  1. Cover art or graphic design are not made by Ed Photoshopitsky. Please read the small texts or is the wrong info from band?

    1. Ed Unitsky is a great artist and he collaborates with Marco and Kimmo since many years, this cover art is made by Nele Diel but i’m in contact with Ed and it’s an evilous comment call him Photoshop..etc try to use appropriate words on my webzine.

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