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Saga - Full Circle CD (album) cover

FULL CIRCLE

Saga

 

Crossover Prog

3.45 | 106 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars New chapters in the original Saga

Finally, Saga came full circle and returned to their roots with the very appropriately titled Full Circle album in 1999. This album is indeed a fitting follow-up to Saga's very early albums and the musical content found here is in many respects an updated version of the kind of music they made back in the late 70's and early 80's. It was not only musically, but also visually that Saga returned to their roots here. The cover art harks back to the fantasy-tinged sleeve pictures of the band's three first albums and even the mysterious insect that was found on the 1978 debut album makes its initial reappearance here after more than 20 years in its "cocoon". Despite the fact that most Saga albums don't even feature this character on the sleeve, it is hard to think about Saga now without thinking of this insect "mascot" of theirs. It has become almost as much part of the band's image as Eddie has for Iron Maiden.

Another thing from the old days that Saga resurrected on this album was the "chapters" idea. For those of you that might not remember, Saga's first four albums all included songs that were subtitled 'Chapter #'. After eight chapters spread over these four original albums, the gimmick was abandoned. Here, after nearly 20 years, chapters 9, 10 and 13 were introduced on this album which proves that they already at this point intended to make at least another two (the 11th and 12th chapter) on their next album(s). As it turned out we would eventually be treated with a further eight chapters over the course of several albums in the new millennium and in 2005 a live album was released featuring all 16 chapters (old and new) in their numerical order.

Full Circle was in many ways a new beginning for Saga and the start of their most consistent period ever. The first 20 years or so of their career as a recording band was a "shaky" period with the quality of their output varying widely between excellent and poor and also varying sometimes in style. The previous album, The Pain & The Pleasure was, for example, a very weak one. With the present album they were sending out the following message: "please forgive us for those weak albums we made and remember the good ones!". Full Circle is by no means as good as, or as progressive as, the conceptual masterpiece Generation 13, but it was the first in a long series of good Saga albums that continues to the present day (I'm writing this in 2011).

In conclusion, Full Circle was a very welcome return to what the band was all about in their early days. Recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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