Written by: BW on 01/07/2014 02:47:55

Saga can mean a couple of things. It can be in reference to a long series of things, be it movies or TV and from a British point of view it can relate to an insurance company for people over 50. In music terms, especially in the Prog Rock scene you will probably know them as veteran Canadian musicians with over 35 years of experience. Does this mean that the time in the business has helped to create a brilliant album?

The first impressions of “Sagacity” are pretty promising. “Let it Slide” is a strong starting track with some nice mood setting electric keyboard and that almost expected single note from a guitar quivering around to cause some ambience. Then the thundery drums and main melody kick in. The song itself is a solid affair and doesn’t seem to loosen during the duration. Some nice harmony work in the chorus (which almost sounds Queen-esque) adds to it and as a whole this is a solid song. You know that a good first song sets the expectation for the rest of the album, so with that we move on.

“Vital Signs” seems to follow the trend and albeit it is a little slower than “Let it Slide” it is solid and decent. What I will say is that you do begin to hear the qualities of a band that have been on the go for a while, as for stuff people learn as time goes on and hence adapt into their work, there is always room for stuff that has helped them get where they are. It does feel a little stuck in the late 80’s with some of the predictability in the song, but it certainly isn’t a bad song. It’s just a little dated, that’s all.

It’s when we get to track 3 we begin to see some dodgy chinks in the armour. “It Doesn’t Matter Who You Are” sounds ok until the singing starts. It just sounds so bland and it doesn’t do anything. The one thing a singer should really be able to do is SING. This just sounds like they got the tour manager in to do some lines because the main vocalist got stuck in traffic. That may well be a bit harsh, but you need to be when you hear such an audio difference from the last few songs. Not to mention the guitar solo is all over the place and sounds like someone crying their eyes out. This, I fear is the start of a bad thing.

It does keep heading downwards with “Go With The Flow” as the main melody sounds like something you would hear in a holiday programme and I really struggle to understand why this is on the same album as something that sounded so promising at the start. I do know that some Progressive Rock albums need to have something different, but not to the point where you are wondering what the heck is going on. There does need to be some consistency, but then “Press 9” happens.

With that track your fears are realised and you listen to a song that has to be (and I’m really not joking with this) the worst rock track I have ever listened to in any way, shape or form. It is that pointless I would rather listen to Steel Panther. It is a song about being on an automated phone line and having buttons available to push for some strange options in life, but it stretches the bar even for me. I really am starting to think that the first two songs ended up on this album by mistake.

“Wake Up” shows some signs of getting back on track with a solid beat and some steady guitar work, but some of the vocals seem to be wrong. Harmonies come in when they probably shouldn’t and it does get slightly crowded, but the good stuff is showing signs of coming back through. Not before time if you ask me. It almost has a sound of a 70’s standard rock band, like Magnum or someone like that, which isn’t the worst thing in the world.

As the album goes on you begin to feel like the album is becoming a little tired. My belief is that if you are a big fan of Saga then this will do you fine, but as I always like to go in with an open mind, I just feel like I’ve heard all this before and done to a better standard. “Don’t Forget to Breathe” sounds like a proper 80’s track from a cross between a Glam band and someone like Nik Kershaw (some people may have to look him up on Google) and as much as it shouldn’t, the badness of previous songs do make you lose interest towards not just this song, but the rest of the album.

“The Further You Go” is sort of a soft rock ballad, but there are leanings towards something Queen did during their Innuendo days. It sounds like “The Miracle” in the intricate parts and I feel it is better than this to be honest. “On My Way” does start to pick things up a bit with a nice intro and a sold, decent melody with a catchy chorus. The same goes with “No Two Sides” as it also meets the same requirements, but gets your soul lukewarm rather than on fire. “Luck” gets that feeling “Let it Slide” gave us again, which is welcomed with open arms, as a meaty beat and some decent instrument work help to relieve the boredom. “I’ll be” finishes the album off with a ballad, which like most of the latter half of the album just doesn’t grab you. It plods along at a slow pace and doesn’t really do much else to be honest. I have doubts that this is even Prog at all, as it has a feeling that there is a lot of older styles surfacing than I would expect.

“Sagacity” starts off so well and then fails to deliver on that promising beginning. Halfway through you feel deflated and start to sense an album that just doesn’t bring your emotions to life. I am sure if you’re a fan you will no doubt get what you’re used to, but in terms of the neutral spectator, I found an album I’d pick a track from and leave the rest to the vultures. Sorry, but this is one saga I don’t really want to see the rest of, unfortunately.


Download: Let it Slide, Luck, Vital Signs
For The Fans Of: Dreamtheater, Magnum, Queen

Release date 27.06.2014

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