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Saga - Silent Knight  CD (album) cover

SILENT KNIGHT

Saga

 

Crossover Prog

3.58 | 145 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars No sooner had Scottish-born keyboardsman Jim Gilmour entered the Saga ranks than the band became capable of achieving their finest prog hour, developing their mixture of symphonic/pomp/hard rock/new wave and taking it to its most grandiouse level. 'Silent Knight' is a definitive cornerstone in their career (for many of us, one of their top albums), thanks in no small degree to the newcomer keyboardsman. A master of Mini and Poly Moogs, he created immense keyboard textures and well crafted solos and harmonies with good taste and finesse, complementing perfectly both Ian Crichton's energetic guitar playing and Negus's superb drumming. For now, Sadler can rely mostly on chords and layers while he sings, while a very confident Jim Crichton (the other Jim and the other Crichton) can display his usual solid bass playing and amplify the volume on his Moog Bass synth. The opening number 'Don't Be Late' is an absolute classic of Saga's repertoire, and so is the stunning, sombre closure 'Careful Where You Step' (perhaps my all time fave Saga piece!!). Both feature stunning riffs and solos by the ever-creative Ian Crichton, as well as your usual perfect ensemble Saga-style: Negus' drumming framework in 'Don't Be Late' is full of elegant constraint until the rocking epic climax. In between, you can find sheer symph prog (the waltz-like 'Time to Go'), prog with eerie textures and hard rocking moments combined ('Too Much to Lose', 'What's It Gonna Be?'), prog with a touch of R'n'B ('Help Me Out'), and arena rock oriented prog with a poppish twist ('Compromise' - it's unbelievable, but true, a Moog can actually rock as hard as Blackmore's or Moore's guitars!! a discovery made in JG's Twilight Zone). Now that I have mentioned 'Too Much to Lose' (the Chapetr VII, indeed) and 'What's It Gonna Be?', they really are monster tracks that never get overshadowed by undisputed classics such as 'Don't Be Late' and 'Careful Where You Step'. Well, all things considered, though I may have highlighted Jim Gilmour's role on this one, 'Silent Knight' is very clearly, and most of all, a very inspired, bombastic band effort. The musicians' skills, though delivered in a neckbreaking manner, are basically ruled by the particular challenges of each individual composition. The sound production is also great. All in all, a very impressive album from a band that had just achieved its own maturity.. and was enjoying it unabashedly!!
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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