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SAGA

Crossover Prog • Canada


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Saga picture
Saga biography
Formed in 1977 in Oakville, Ontario, Canada - Disbanded (announced) in 2017

SAGA... one of the most famous Canadian Hard Progresssive with excellent albums including all elements which made the band's reputation: a taste for symphonism and melodies and real talent for efficient riffs.

From 1978 to 1980, SAGA produced a number of quintessentially "progressive" rock albums. These first albums emerged neo-progressive style bands like IQ, PENDRAGON and PALLAS. In the early's 80's they further perfected their style and seemed a bit as viable as their Canadian compatriots RUSH. Until 1989, suddenly SAGA re-emerged with arguably their strongest album to date: "The Beginner's Guide To Throwing Shapes". They went totally haywire in 1995, releasing "Generation 13" to be a real concept album.

Throughout the years, they created their own particular and unique brand of music. Well, they're still around and they are still making great music but unfortunately radio stations no longer play intelligent, riveting, songs anymore. So, if you're into groups like KANSAS, ASIA, RUSH, STYX, or YES, a new dimension of music awaits you... SAGA!

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Buy SAGA Music


Best Of-Now And Then-The CollectionBest Of-Now And Then-The Collection
EARMUSIC 2017
$5.87
$5.83 (used)
SagacitySagacity
EARMUSIC 2017
$6.46
$2.48 (used)
Worlds ApartWorlds Apart
Polydor Records 1994
$11.59
$7.10 (used)
Full CircleFull Circle
True North Records 2000
$10.89
$27.10 (used)
20/2020/20
EARMUSIC 2017
$5.88
$5.87 (used)
BehaviourBehaviour
POLYDOR IMPORT 1994
$10.75
$8.09 (used)
Images at TwilightImages at Twilight
Imports 2001
$7.70
$6.70 (used)
Generation 13 (2015 Edition)Generation 13 (2015 Edition)
Extra tracks
EARMUSIC 2017
$5.87
$4.99 (used)
5 Original Albums5 Original Albums
Imports 2015
$17.63
$17.62 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Johnny Be Good CD Soundtrack Judas Priest Kix Fiona Saga Ted Nugent Dirty Looks USD $80.00 Buy It Now
A Muggsy Spanier Memorial featuring Pee Wee Russell : Vinyl Album : SAGA 6917 USD $9.52 Buy It Now
Live In Hamburg by Saga USD $22.84 Buy It Now
Insane Clown Posse Marvelous Missing The Complete Saga Link Vinyl Sealed 4LP ICP USD $35.00 Buy It Now
COUNT BASIE - Count Basie!!! - Excellent Condition LP Record Saga EROS 8131 USD $12.61 Buy It Now
MUGGSY SPANIER - A Muggst Spanier Memorial - Excellent Con LP Record Saga 6917 USD $12.61 Buy It Now
Josh White And Carl Sandburg - Saga Records SOC-988 VG Condition USD $11.15 Buy It Now 41m 43s
SAGA/HEADS OR TAILS US FR38999 USD $20.00 Buy It Now 59m
SAGA DOS MIGRANTES USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $29.18 Buy It Now 59m 42s
P. Diddy & The Bad Boy Family - The Saga Continues (CD, 2001) USD $7.23 Buy It Now 1h 10m
SAGA - Careful Where You Step - Vinyl Record Single 45RPM - POSPX228 - 1980 USD $23.17 Buy It Now 1h 18m
DAVE TRAVIS country (original uk 1968) LP EX/VG+ FID 2132 uk saga USD $17.49 Buy It Now 1h 50m
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1h 59m
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SAGA WORLDS APART , LP, NETHERLANDS USD $10.00 Buy It Now 2h 28m
Popular Music from the Time of Queen Elizabeth I The Camerata of London CD Saga USD $46.99 Buy It Now 2h 30m
THE STARKER TRIO - MOZART piano trios K.542 & K.548 - SAGA LP EX USD $24.00 Buy It Now 2h 37m
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THE BOYS Saga Continues Cassette Single LP VERSION/Radio Edit LINK 1992 Motown USD $9.97 Buy It Now 4h 9m
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4h 42m
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4h 53m
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LEAVES' EYES Vinland Saga JAPAN CD MICP-10557 2005 NEW USD $73.02 Buy It Now 5h 3m
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David Sanger* Organ music from the 16th & 17th century Saga 5374 Vinly LP USD $25.17 Buy It Now 8h 30m
Charlie Parker ?- Vol. 5 - Bird And Diz LP 1st 1968 UK Saga Eros ERO 8035 Jazz USD $17.99 Buy It Now 8h 49m
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Carter Burwell - Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (Score) (CD Used Like New) USD $14.31 Buy It Now 9h
Saga-Spin It Again CD Digipak NEW USD $8.93 Buy It Now 9h 7m
Saga Worlds Apart revisited 2 CD live 30th Anniversary ( progressive rock ) USD $36.00 Buy It Now 9h 17m
MARK JOHN MCENCROE: SYMPHONIC SUITES NOS. 1 & 2 - A MEDIEVAL SAGA NEW CD USD $21.95 Buy It Now 9h 22m
SAGA 5490 Beethoven Symphony No.7 Leningrad Philharmonic Orch Yevgeny Mravinsky USD $21.03 Buy It Now 9h 25m
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MAYNARD FERGUSON - NEWPORT SUITE UK Saga Vinyl LP 1969 VGC USD $4.19 Buy It Now 10h 7m
ZOLTAN KODALY: SONATA FOR CELLO AND PIANO - CROXFORD, PARKHOUS Saga XID 5294 USD $11.00 [0 bids]
10h 7m
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S388 BEETHOVEN PIANO CONCERTO N.4 EGMONT OVERTURE FELICIA BLUMENTHAL SAGA STEREO USD $13.50 Buy It Now 10h 14m
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Thin Lizzy , Tha Continuing Saga , New Zealand USD $28.03 [1 bids]
10h 38m
SAGA OF DAN K MOORE 1964 - RARE 45 - GOVERNOR OF NC USD $19.99 Buy It Now 11h 12m
Love & Politics: A 30 Year Saga by Alix Dobkin (CD, 2010, Women's Wax Works (Lad USD $0.99 [0 bids]
USD $1.45 Buy It Now
11h 35m
Tragedy: Saga of a Hoodlum by Intelligent Hoodlum (CD, Apr-1993, A USD $23.95 Buy It Now 12h 13m
Saga . Worlds Apart . Fludd . Canadian artist . 1981 Maze LP USD $14.93 Buy It Now 12h 45m
VERDI NABUCCO NICOLA ROSSI-LEMENI GEORGE SINGER SAGA MONO 1972 NEAR MINT USD $11.22 Buy It Now 12h 50m
SAGA Heads Or Tails LP Vinyl VG+ Cover VG+ 1983 Portrait FR 38999 USD $6.98 Buy It Now 13h 3m
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Eddie Condon on Stage Immortal sessions LP SAGA 6916 USD $4.21 Buy It Now 13h 37m
John Williams & The Boston Pops Orchestra Star Wars Saga 1997 CD Philips Canada USD $11.00 Buy It Now 13h 40m
Twilight Saga (New Moon/Original , 2009 USD $1.40 Buy It Now 13h 56m
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Saga (3) ?- Worlds Apart LP USD $10.21 Buy It Now 14h 12m
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THE FLIGHT OF SLEIPNIR - SAGA NEW CD USD $16.06 Buy It Now 14h 15m
SAGA IN TRANSIT - ML8006 MAZE RECORDS-LP/Vinyl/Record USD $6.99 Buy It Now 14h 16m
SAGA behaviour ML 8010 canadian maze records 1985 LP PS EX/EX no deletion cut USD $11.20 Buy It Now 14h 16m
SAGA - 5 ORIGINAL ALBUMS (VOL.2) 5 CD NEW+ USD $28.84 Buy It Now 14h 23m
DAVE HOLLISTER - D.HOLLISTER; CHICAGO WINDS...THE SAGA CONTINUES CD NEW+ USD $25.27 Buy It Now 15h 9m
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SAGA - Security Of Illusion - CD - Import - **BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED** USD $28.95 Buy It Now 16h 8m
ROGER~THE SAGA CONTINUES...~1984 WB FUNK ELECTRO CLASSIC LP *IN SHRINK EX USD $6.72 Buy It Now 16h 19m
William Boughton, J. - Symphony 2 / Finlandia / en Saga [New CD] USD $18.33 Buy It Now 16h 41m
The Beach Boys - Sail On Sailor/California Saga - German Picture Sleeve PS 7" USD $14.99 [0 bids]
16h 42m
SAGA - Pleasure And Pain - CD - **BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED** USD $32.75 Buy It Now 17h 27m
Sibelius: Finlandia/En Saga/Tapiola/The Swan of Tuonela (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $9.14 Buy It Now 18h 24m
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SHABAZZ THE DISCIPLE Crime Saga Death Be The Penalty 12" HIP HOP 1995 PRV-0163 USD $5.99 [0 bids]
19h 15m
S129 ENRICO CARUSO HISTORICAL RECORDINGS SAGA FID 2063 USD $8.50 Buy It Now 19h 50m
Quincy Jones Roots The Saga Of An American Family 8 Track Taped NIP USD $54.99 Buy It Now 20h 3m
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JANOS STARKER - ABBA BOGIN / BRAHMS cello sonatas / SAGA USD $7.99 [0 bids]
20h 59m
STARKER TRIO / MOZART piano trios nos 3 & 4 / SAGA USD $7.99 [0 bids]
21h 3m
VARIOUS CD- SWINGING LONDON Saga Records A Trunk Full of 60s Pop Exotica By RPM USD $60.99 Buy It Now 21h 6m
Saga Symphony (Vanska, Iceland Symphony Orchestra) (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $16.93 Buy It Now 21h 16m
Roy Guest Folk Songs And Music EP UK 7" vinyl single record EFID1009 SAGA 1957 USD $19.56 Buy It Now 21h 21m
Behaviour Saga UK vinyl LP album record 26579 PORTRAIT 1985 USD $26.57 Buy It Now 21h 25m
MARK JOHN MCENCROE: SYMPHONIC SUITES NOS. 1 & 2 - A MEDIEVAL SAGA USED - VERY GO USD $14.95 Buy It Now 21h 36m
SAGA (Now & Then The Collection / 1978 - Infinity) 2 X CD's New + Sealed USD $6.16 Buy It Now 21h 49m
Charlie Parker vinyl LP album record Volume 8 - Ornithology UK SAGA6913 SAGA USD $19.56 Buy It Now 21h 51m

More places to buy SAGA music online Buy SAGA & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

SAGA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SAGA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.65 | 186 ratings
Saga
1978
3.14 | 184 ratings
Images At Twilight
1979
3.64 | 195 ratings
Silent Knight
1980
3.64 | 222 ratings
Worlds Apart
1981
3.53 | 163 ratings
Heads Or Tales
1983
3.11 | 118 ratings
Behaviour
1985
2.33 | 87 ratings
Wildest Dreams
1987
3.03 | 83 ratings
The Beginners Guide To Throwing Shapes
1989
3.55 | 108 ratings
The Security Of Illusion
1993
2.08 | 80 ratings
Steel Umbrellas
1994
3.92 | 134 ratings
Generation 13
1995
2.25 | 68 ratings
Pleasure & The Pain
1997
3.46 | 108 ratings
Full Circle
1999
3.53 | 114 ratings
House Of Cards
2001
3.28 | 95 ratings
Marathon
2003
3.44 | 93 ratings
Network
2004
3.80 | 160 ratings
Trust
2006
3.60 | 108 ratings
10.000 Days
2007
3.52 | 90 ratings
The Human Condition
2009
3.30 | 82 ratings
20/20
2012
3.22 | 68 ratings
Sagacity
2014

SAGA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.68 | 83 ratings
In Transit
1982
4.04 | 33 ratings
Detours
1999
3.76 | 34 ratings
The Chapters Live
2005
3.48 | 23 ratings
Worlds Apart Revisited (CD)
2007
2.70 | 21 ratings
Contact Live in Munich
2009
3.07 | 16 ratings
Heads Or Tales Live
2011
4.80 | 5 ratings
Spin It Again! Live in Munich
2013
4.07 | 5 ratings
Live in Hamburg
2016

SAGA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.50 | 14 ratings
Silhouette
2003
4.00 | 12 ratings
All Areas: Live in Bonn 2002
2004
4.44 | 26 ratings
Worlds Apart Revisited
2007
3.58 | 12 ratings
Contact - Live In Munich (DVD)
2009
4.50 | 6 ratings
Spin it again! - Live in Munich
2013

SAGA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Saga
1985
3.00 | 2 ratings
Time's Up
1986
3.00 | 12 ratings
The Works
1991
2.00 | 1 ratings
Wind Him Up: Best
1992
4.30 | 11 ratings
All The Best 1978 - 1993
1993
1.74 | 9 ratings
The Very Best Of Saga
1994
3.20 | 11 ratings
Defining Moments (Volume 1)
1994
3.00 | 4 ratings
Saga Softworks
1995
1.00 | 1 ratings
Wildest Dreams
1995
1.00 | 1 ratings
Wildest Dreams
1995
2.50 | 6 ratings
How Do I Look
1997
2.60 | 5 ratings
Remember When
2006
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Collection
2013
3.85 | 4 ratings
Best Of Saga. Now & Then - The Collection: 1978 - Infinity
2015
2.15 | 4 ratings
The Polydor Legacy
2017

SAGA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
How Long?
1978
2.00 | 1 ratings
Slow Motion
1980
3.00 | 1 ratings
On the Loose
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
Time's Up
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
Wind Him Up
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
Synposis
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Flyer
1983
2.00 | 1 ratings
Scratching the Surface (remixed version)
1983
2.00 | 1 ratings
Scratchin' the Surface
1983
2.00 | 1 ratings
Take a Chance
1985
2.00 | 1 ratings
What Do I Know?
1985
2.00 | 1 ratings
Only Time Will Tell
1987
2.00 | 1 ratings
Angel
1988
3.00 | 1 ratings
Gotta Love It
1991
2.00 | 1 ratings
(You Were) Never Alone
1994
3.50 | 2 ratings
On the Loose
1995
3.15 | 18 ratings
Phase One
1997
3.50 | 6 ratings
Home
1999
3.40 | 5 ratings
Money Talks
2001
4.36 | 13 ratings
It's Your Life
2006

SAGA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Polydor Legacy by SAGA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2017
2.15 | 4 ratings

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The Polydor Legacy
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Kingsnake

2 stars This is not really a good compilation album. The title says it focusses on the Polydor years of Saga, but I really wonder who put this albums together.

Wildest Dreams and The Beginner's Guide to Throwing Shapes were not released by Polydor but by Atlantic and Bonaire.

Apart from that; Security of Illusion, Steel Umbrellas, Generation 13 and Pleasure and the Pain were al released through Polydor, and these songs are missing here.

A good thing about this compilation is that it focusses on the really early years of the band, wich is the most popular, and it features the band's greatest hits. So that's what you get, all the hits, up to 1989, and nothing more.

Better compilations are The Works (1991), wich has 3 unreleased tracks and Best of Now/Now and Then (2015), wich focusses on something more than just the mere hitsingles.

Saga is a difficult band to catch in a compilation album, and most of the times it's a grand failure. So I cannot recommend this one to anyone.

 10.000 Days by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.60 | 108 ratings

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10.000 Days
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by martindavey87

3 stars After a run of poorly-received albums over the prior decade or so, Saga released 'Trust' in 2006 to favorable reviews, which helped the band start to reestablish themselves and prove their relevance. And so it comes to the follow-up and to see if the band could capitalize on this newfound momentum and sense of revival, or if they'd fall back into the "has-beens" category, where they'd spent the best part of the last few years.

The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

'10,000 Days' is a solid album, no doubt. The songwriting and creativity doesn't quite match up to previous release 'Trust', but the band do still maintain a renewed vigor, with some energetic performances and instrumental acrobatics, especially between guitarist Ian Crichton and keyboardist Jim Gilmour. The music is keyboard-driven progressive rock at its finest, and the group show that, in a day and age full of virtuoso musicians everywhere, these guys still have the chops when it counts.

While this record does suffer from a fair amount of filler material, there are some strong compositions that make this a worthy purchase. 'Lifeline', 'Book of Lies', 'Sideways', 'It Never Ends' and instrumental track 'Corkentellis' may not rank among any of Saga's greatest hits, but they're still damn good songs none-the-less.

While '10,000 Days' isn't perfect, it's still a good album by a newly-revitalized band. It's unlikely to convert any new fans, but people who enjoyed 'Trust' might still see potential in this group to continue releasing solid music. "Good, but non-essential" sums it up perfectly.

 Trust by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.80 | 160 ratings

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Trust
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by martindavey87

4 stars 2006's 'Trust' was my introduction to Saga, coming across the album cheap, and having heard of the band before, I thought it'd be worth checking them out.

I'm glad I did.

From the opening moments of the first song, I knew this band were something slightly different. Best described as some kind of hybrid between progressive rock and AOR (adult-oriented rock... oldies stuff), Saga have a very interesting sound, which relies heavily upon the synergy between guitarist Ian Crichton and keyboardist Jim Gilmour. Both men complimenting each other perfectly to create something which is better than the sum total of its parts.

The album is well-produced, with a clear sound that gives everyone ample space to shine. Vocalist Michael Sadler's warm voice cuts through perfectly without sounding strained or out of its element. His is a voice perfectly suited to this style of music. And a thumping bass gives the music plenty of groove.

'Trust' was released after a string of albums that failed to please critics, and while they didn't really stray from anything they'd done before, something clicked with this record that started to give the band their second wind, almost 30 years into their career! Songs like 'That's As Far As I'll Go', 'Back to the Shadows', 'It's Your Life', 'Ice in the Rain' and 'Footsteps in the Hall' all go to show that Saga aren't ready to be counted out yet.

 Best Of Saga. Now & Then - The Collection: 1978 - Infinity by SAGA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
3.85 | 4 ratings

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Best Of Saga. Now & Then - The Collection: 1978 - Infinity
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars This is a rather good compilation, spanning the entire career of Saga, taking one track from each album (omitting The Works and Phase One).

By doing this a lot of hitsingles are not present (Heads or Tales, Worlds Apart and Behaviour spawned several hitsingles). Instead of this hit-single-formula, this collection tend to choose the more intricate and progressive tracks. That's why songs like Giant, Heaven Can Wait, On the Air and Book of Lies are included.

By doing so, this is compilation to appeal to new fans. Every aspect of the band is highlighted; the pop/aor side of the band, the neoprog side of the band and the heavy prog-side of the band.

This is absolutely a recommended album for anyone who wants to discover this band. People who already have all the studio-albums will find nothing new and should instead focus on the numerous live-releases of the band.

 Time's Up by SAGA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1986
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Time's Up
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Kingsnake

3 stars This is the first ever compilation album of Saga.

It was released in 1986 and marks the end of the first period of the band. This album focuses more on the singles the band put out, and adds two longer progtracks (Too Much to Loose and Help Me Out).

It's a nice compilation, but it offers nothing new. The albumcover is fun and fits the band perfectly. But the best compilation is The Works, wich offers non-album tracks and is longer in duration and focuses on more than just the hitsingles.

I can only recommend it to Saga-fans because of the album cover and to complete the discography, and if (by chance) anyone should find this record on vinyl (for cheap) it's absolutely worth the buy, because it's the only Saga-compilation put out on vinyl.

 Live in Hamburg by SAGA album cover Live, 2016
4.07 | 5 ratings

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Live in Hamburg
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars In the course of 2015 and 2016, Saga and Earmusic were planning to re-release all their albums from 1989 up till now. Remastered and with bonustracks. These bonustracks were all livetracks from this concert at Hamburg.

The re-release-wave suddenly halted in march this year and was apparently abandoned. But to keep fans satisfied, the livetracks of the Hamburg concert (recorded in 2015) got this proper release.

The band is on fire, and drummer Mike Thorn really keeps the pace going. The band sounds young and refreshing, hitting song after song without unnecessary silence and banter between the songs. Michael Sadler hasn't lost a single bit of his vocal power and hits all the notes without a problem. Ian is (as ever) all over the place, but that's a Saga-trademark.

We get some real treats here: for the first time a lot of songs get an official live-release. Goodbye Once Upon a Time, Someone Should, Hot to Cold, Time to Go and Wildest Dreams were never before released (officially) on a live record. The new song On My Way and I'll Be also found their way into the set.

The rest of the songs are tried and true, and it's good to see that band doesn't play the acoustic set anymore. Those days are long gone. The closest thing to a ballad is Scratching the Surface (starting on piano) but eventually builds into a progrock epic going for at least 9 minutes (very nice).

The only really wrong thing is the 2,5 minutes of clapping and cheering at the end of Careful Where You Step, but hey, that's what the skip button is for.

It's good to hear Saga still rocking out.

 Silent Knight by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.64 | 195 ratings

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Silent Knight
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Saga's best cover art for their best album

After the enjoyable but a bit flat "Images At Twilight", "Silent Knight" sees the return of two of SAGA's ingredients missing from their second effort: catchy melodies and superb instrumental sections. This third studio opus also marks the arrival of classically trained keyboardist Jim Gilmour, more creative in his interventions than its predecessor Greg Chadd. For his first appearance in the band, he already participates at the composition of half of the record.

Like the cover art, "Silent Knight" is maybe SAGA's most futuristic offering. The music represents a transition between the 70's and 80's decades: efficient pop/rock, with progressive touches and more and more new-wave elements. The disco beats are definitely gone this time.

"Don't Be Late" is a classic from the Canadians. A great song with a mastered progression and powerful keyboard and guitar soli. The gorgeous instrumental section will give you goosebumps! Probably my favorite from SAGA. The fast retro-futuristic "What's It Gonna Be" alternates melancholic and punchy moments, with a beautiful instrumental finale. On the contrary, the soapy "Time to Go" makes a large use of very cheesy synthesizers. The only genuine weak track of the album. Back to life with "Compromise", a nice and catchy tune with a strong new-wave flavour.

Don't rely on the calm, spacey opening of "Too Much to Lose", this very good sci-fi / fantasy piece features heroic passages as well as a few changes. The joyful "Help Me Out" possesses a rocking melody and a cool keyboards interlude. Then comes "Someone Should" and its trippy electronic sequence. A bit uneven, this song is part of SAGA's material which certainly foreshadows the neo-prog genre. The record concludes with its second best track, "Careful Where You Step". Mesmerizing retro-futuristic overture, nice melody, great progression and a powerful epic finale. What else could you ask for?

With "Silent Knight", SAGA proves again there was surprisingly creativity and refreshing ideas in progressive world in 1980. Not as complex or sophisticated as the symphonic prog bands of the 70's, the music of the Canadians is a perfect balance between catchy melodies, radio-friendly pop, hard rock guitars, new-wave synthesizers and glorious instrumental sections. This rich and colorful opus was quite unique at the time and probably still is. Once again, the compositions must have been a major influence for the neo-prog genre.

SAGA's best album, the one to start with if you don't know the band. Highly recommended for fans of TOTO or STYX!

 Images At Twilight by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.14 | 184 ratings

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Images At Twilight
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Images lacking a bit of color

Stuck between the creative eponymous album and "Silent Knight", "Images At Twilight" is often considered as SAGA's weakest effort from their 'golden' 1978-1981 era. The musical ingredients haven't changed though. So why this general impression? Because the compositions are less inspired, the melodies less catchy and the instrumental sections not as surprising and breathtaking as on the debut opus. Another reason may be the replacement of keyboardist Peter Rochon by Greg Chadd, whose interventions are less creative and spacey. However, despite all these remarks, "Images At Twilight" is not a bad record, remember this is still SAGA...

Beginning with an energetic disco/new-wave opening in the style of the predecessor, "It's Time!" features enjoyable melody and a cool guitar solo. Nonetheless, this song sounds a bit cheesy at times and is overall uneven. Although the usage of vocoder displays a futuristic impression, "See Them Smile" is more conventional, rather flat and repetitive. Surprising for SAGA when you know their self-titled disc. With its childish synthesizer, the odd "Slow Motion" is quite soapy. On the contrary, "You're Not Alone" is the best track of the album. A changing disco/rock song with a powerful melody!

The second side is more homogeneous in terms of quality. After the average "Take It Or Leave It", "Images" possesses a beautiful piano overture. A dreamy and a little epic ballad. In the vein of TOTO, the energetic and punchy disco/rock "Hot To Cold" foreshadows the later neo-progressive bands of the 80's. The record finishes on a darker tone with the nice "Mouse In A Maze" and its aggressive guitar riffs. It rocks!

As you understand, "Images At Twilight" is less innovative and progressive than its predecessor. The surprise factor is less present and the instrumentals sections, less dazzling. This second effort is indeed the band's weakest from their early years. Nonetheless, this album has its moments, contains songs well worth listening and was also an inspiration for neo-prog. Not essential, but if you enjoy SAGA's first offering or TOTO, give it a listen.

Fortunately, the inspiration and ideas will soon come back for the Canadians...

 Saga by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.65 | 186 ratings

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Saga
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The saga begins...

During the late seventies, while progressive rock was declining due to the punk revolution, North America was becoming a prolific hive of refreshing horizons for prog, especially Canada with RUSH and SAGA. Often considered as a major influence on 80's neo-prog, the music of Crichton and co. was on par with the animal on the cover art back then: rather difficult to categorize. Judge by ourself: a mixture of punchy FM pop/rock and disco/new-wave, with catchy melodies, spacey synthesizers and powerful instrumental sections. The balance between the guitars and the keyboards (mainly the Moog for this debut) is perfect. Although the songs have overall a normal duration, they feature many changes and surprises. Not really complex, but more direct and efficient.

Influenced by SUPERTRAMP, SAGA's style can sometimes be compared to TOTO's for their lively synthesizers and rich guitar accompaniments. However, the Canadians incorporate more progressive elements and make a larger use of the new available electronic technologies. Like their four first studio releases, this self-titled opus contains two special songs, named 'chapters'.

From the very first seconds, you know you're in for something atypical. "How Long?" opens with a disco/new-wave synthesizer sequence and a beat ' la HUMAN LEAGUE! The track itself alternates rocking and softer passages. Quite dated, but fun and finally enjoyable. A bit in the vein of SUPERTRAMP, "Humble Stance" has also a cool long trippy keyboard interlude. On the contrary, the odd "Climbing The Ladder" is a little dissonant and not very coherent. Then comes "Will It Be You?", the best and most progressive composition of the record. Beginning with an enchanting introduction, these changing 7 minutes contain heavy, powerful and heroic sections. Its energy and punchiness maybe influenced PENDRAGON for their first opus "The Jewel".

The second side is pleasant but slightly less inspired. Driven by synthesizers, the nice "The Perfectionist" also foreshadows 80's neo-prog. "Give 'em The Money" resembles SUPERTRAMP again, however with harder passages and a cool trippy electronic interlude. This song has its moments but sounds overall a bit uneven. The most interesting part of the ballad "Ice Nice" is its ending section, featuring a cool keyboard little jazzy solo and a rocking finale. The progressive "Tired World" is the other 'chapter', quite epic and spacey.

Despite a few weaker moments and dated keyboards sounds, this first effort from Crichton and co. is really promising and original. Like their fellow countrymen RUSH, SAGA are part of the missing link between 70's symphonic progressive and 80's neo-prog. They certainly contributed to the emergence this sub-genre, nonetheless rather more in the style of PENDRAGON and PALLAS's debut albums than the usual GENESIS-influenced bands such as MARLLION or IQ.

At first sight, this mixture of catchy melodies, powerful sections and electronic technologies can be considered as a risky stance. However, during the late seventies, numerous new genres were hatching. Therefore, proposing a recipe never heard before was not illogical at the time.

Unique, SAGA were also different from the other North American progressive bands (RUSH, KANSAS, STYX...). Their eponymous studio album is one of their most varied and offers a wide palette of atmospheres and many changes. Even after a few listens, the surprise factor remains, you cannot expect what will come next. The instrumental sections are simply great! And surprising the listener is quite impacting...

Hard rocking, electronic, progressive, melodic, catchy, epic, atypical are one of the adjectives that could describe the music of SAGA. This 1978 self-titled is already promising, colorful and one of the band's best offerings. Highly recommended!

 Full Circle by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.46 | 108 ratings

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Full Circle
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Full Circle. Indeed. You don't need to understand the significance of the title or artwork to appreciate this album, but the background history is important. Saga emerged in the late seventies with a style of music that fused the coming synthesizer-driven pop sound with hard rock guitars and a flair for progressive instrumental sections. Add to that songs of science fiction and intrigue and you have what made the first four albums Saga classics.

As the band found success in the early eighties, they struggled to keep their unique style all the while keeping up with the changing face of popular music and being guided by a management whose choices and advice were not always in the band's best interest. Key members left and somehow Saga struggled on. When the classic line-up re-grouped in the nineties it seemed all was well in the world again. But the nineties were uneven. They released an album that received much praise, did a soundtrack album that even the band disliked, did a concept narrative that is quite a fine piece of work, and followed that up with one of their least popular albums. What did they learn from all this? That it was time to go back to the beginning. Come around full circle. Start again making music like they used to.

An important element of the first four albums was the Chapters series: eight songs released two to an album and in random order that together created a jigsaw puzzle of a story about an alien race and Albert Einstein's brain. The first three album covers featured this alien race and we see here now that the aliens are back, this one emerging from its old skin all fresh and new, a symbol of the band's take on itself. And yes, with "Full Circle" a new series of Chapters begins. In that way, Saga had come full circle. How about the music, though?

The first couple of tunes don't really indicate that they have returned to their classic form. "Remember When (Chapter 9)" references some of their older song lyrics but that special progressive pop/rock music doesn't turn up on this track, even though the classic Saga sound does. "The One" is a solid but simple hard rock song with a great riff. A good stadium fist-pumper for sure, but it's not a classic prog song in any sense. "Follow Me" takes the pace down a bit an there's a chorus of children. If nothing else, the band is showing that they are not going to stick to any one formula for this album.

The band truly come full circle (i.e. return to their classic approach) by "Uncle Albert's Eyes (Chapter 13)" for which they stretch out a little more and give us one of their guitar / keyboard duels. This is looking promising. But will they keep it up?

From here on in, the album really shows us a variety of colours. The more proggy type sections appear on "Don't Say Goodbye", "Not This Way (Chapter 10)" and "A Night to Remember", meaning that the music is allowed to get ahead of the song at times. Saga's songs actually follow a standard pop format but it's where they work their instrumental sections that the band put themselves ahead of any standard pop rock act. However, true to their classic form, they still fit in some more typical pop and rock pieces like the acoustic-led "Home", a very powerful piece with pleasant acoustic guitar, and another hard rock number with "Time Bomb", featuring another great heavy riff.

The final track "Goodbye" uses only keyboards for atmosphere and Ian Crichton's wailing volume-control guitar notes over which Michael Sadler lays out the lyrics. It's a haunting piece, almost eerie when the vocals start, but also passionate. A surprise ending for this album, if you will.

I've had this album in my collection for nearly two years or so and I've always thought it was an enjoyable piece of work. Listening to it with a prog rating in mind, I was tempted at first to give two stars simply because I felt the prog quotient wasn't high enough. I have rated other albums I really like with two stars when I felt there was not much on there to represent prog. This is after all a site for progressive music and not Rate Your Music or Amazon. Hey, I give it four stars as a rock album! So, yeah, two stars at first but then as I listened carefully trough the other day I really felt it was too good to just get two stars. Though nothing like a prog classic, this album has variety, some well-exercised creativity, and some terrific musicianship, most notably Mr. Crichton's guitar playing which is always a pleasure to hear. And the Chapters series is back, and prog loves a good sci-fi story.

From my point of view, Saga wouldn't get around to doing a really good (crossover) progressive rock album until "Trust", but "Full Circle" is still worth listening to as a pop/rock album with progressive tendencies. Certainly a good album for newbies to hear. Welcome back, Saga.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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