Readers of this site are of course familiar with the amazing band Spock's Beard and Ryo Okumoto (keyboards) who has been part of SB since 1995 already! Okumoto has also played with numerous other musicians, like e.g. Phil Collins, Eric Clapton and Asia.
His new solo album The Myth Of The Mostrophus, his first one again in 20 years, features an extraordinary line up of guest musicians as for example: Steve Hackett, Michael Sadler (Saga), Mike Keneally (Satriani, Zappa), Jimmy Keegan (Santana), Jonathan Mover (GTR), Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard, Big Big Train) and of course the other members of The Beard, being Dave Meros (bass guitar), Alan Morse (guitar) and Ted Leonard (voice).
The six songs, all clocking in at least 6 minutes, are all rather complex progressive rock songs featuring excellent melodies, tempo changes and extraordinary instrumental passages. Opening song Mirror Mirror really sets the tone for this album, featuring a soaring guitar climax by Morse and some exquisite drumming by D'Virgilio. Follow up Turning Point features Saga vocalist Michael Sadler and it also contains some impressive guitar work by the outstanding guitar picker Mike Keneally. The Watchmaker has already been released as a video and single and it is in fact a rather simple rock song with howling Hammond organ and Mini-Moog passages of the keys wizard Okumoto himself! Steve Hackett gives act of presence in Maximum Velocity with a soaring solo and vocalist Michael Whiteman and drummer Jonathan Mover make this a more than excellent melodic prog song indeed, while Chrysalis is the ballad of the album featuring bass player Doug Wimbish of Living Colour. The album closes with the epic title track prog monster, clocking in over 22 minutes and that one of course is an almost classic Spock's Beard epic like e.g. From The Darkness (X, 2010), The Great Nothing (V, 2000) or The Healing Colors Of Sound (Day For Night, 1999). Leonard does the lead vocals here and therefore you really think that this is a SB track although composition wise The Myth Of The Mostrophus is not as good and versatile as the aforementioned SB epics.
However, Okumoto's new solo album is still a must for all fans of excellent progressive rock music as the music featured here is bombastic, melodic, symphonic, and overly ambitious proving that Ryo is almost a progressive rock god; play it LOUD and enjoy.
**** Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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