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Bushi – The Flawless Avenger Award winner

The Flawless Avenger
by Mike McMahan at 03 February 2020, 3:25 PM

What possesses a man to tune every string on a guitar to “G” and proceed to play that way as if nothing had happened? This is a question that will haunt me, as a guitarist myself, and an extremely big fan of progressive metal and progressive music in general; for several years to come. It is a question perhaps best answered by Alessandro Vagnoni, guitarist, arranger and songwriter behind the project BUSHI “The Flawless Avenger.” This record is based on the Japanese Hagakure “The Book of the Samurai,” and presents itself, indeed, in a book format. The digital release is to be made available on their Bandcamp on the 14th of February, also in book format, with the lyrics and credits included, as well as the CD.

Where to start? Opening up the record is the classical Japanese sound of “Hagakure,” leading directly into the thundering “Masters of the Sword (I.45).” I can’t really identify song by song breakdowns for the release, as they combine to one story, with titles actually marked as pages and/or segments of the book. The lyrical content is written, brilliantly, by Vagnoni, in Haiku form, the traditional poetic art of the Samurai themselves. The vocals throughout are, for the most part, understated; and they never reach the screaming pitch you might expect behind the music, which is chaotic and more all over the place than it is anything else. The time signatures alone, handled very aptly by both Scode and Baioni, baffle the mind. It is a handful…and a head full. It is also bold, artistic and absolutely beautiful.

The songs are short, with only the albums closer “Late Night Idle Talk,” checking in at over five minutes (the remainder of the record’s eleven songs all come in at under four). There are blends of the heaviest of heavy metal, pop, and straight up old school progressive art rock that would make the likes of Robert Fripp of KING CRIMSON sit up and take notice. As a matter of fact, while listening, I almost couldn’t help but to draw comparison to KING CRIMSON’s own “Larks' Tongues in Aspic.”

I have also practiced and studied martial arts for the last forty-two years, so this subject matter and presentation were right in my wheelhouse of love. Any labeling of this record is almost impossible, as I said before; but the progressive metal world should be put on notice. BUSHI is here, and I hope they are around for a good long while.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Hagakure
2. Masters of the Sword (I.45)
3. A Man From China (I.81)
4. The Flawless Avenger (II.52)
5. To Sleep is the Best Answer (II.85)
6. Chiruku (III.22)
7. Revelation on Top of a Brick Wall (III.28)
8. To Defeat Ones Allies (VII.1)
9. Bravery (VII.40)
10. On the Verge of Happiness (X.127)
11. Don’t Stop Where Your Heart Does (X.145)
12. Late Night Idle Talk
Alessandro Vagnoni – Guitars
Davide Scode – Bass Guitar/ Vocals
Fabrizio Baioni – Drums/ Backing Vocals
Sergio Pomante – Tenor Sax
Record Label: Infinity Entertainment Group


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Edited 01 April 2023

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