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Saga - Worlds Apart CD (album) cover

WORLDS APART

Saga

 

Crossover Prog

3.62 | 168 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

saalfeld
4 stars I'm a bit biased here, because this is the first record I ever bought, on vinyl in 1982 with a different cover, so it seems fitting, that this is also the first record I review on this site. At that time On the Loose was a great hit in Germany and in other parts of the world and I just liked it, when hearing it on the radio, not caring whether it was progressive or not. I was reading a lot of science fiction at that time and Saga seemed to be the perfect soundtrack for Orson Scott Card and Philip K. Dick. Saga was a very promising band, then, combining progressive elements, amazing musical skills and Science Fiction with a mass appeal and Stadium Rock attitude. They would release one other album in that vein "Heads or tales" and lose it afterwards until "Trust" was released, showing a late return to form.

At their best, Saga sounded like a band from outer space, there were no other bands I know of, which sounded even remotely like that. You have many layered keyboards, which build the basis of the sound, a solid rhythm section (I actually liked Steve Negus' drumming), an aggressive, razor sharp guitar, fast solos, which were never self indulgent or overdone (except maybe on Tired World on the self titled debut, but there is always an exception to the rule) and the voice of Michael Sadler, which might not be for everyone, but certainly added a certain uniqueness to the sound. Like in a good science fiction story, they would combine strange and original ideas with a well crafted story, which means a nice melody and usually a conventionally structured song. Do not expect "Gates of delirium" or "Supper's ready". We are dealing with crowd pleaser material here, but still a little different. This is mainstream, but not Journey, Foreigner or Survivor. It is Blade Runner mainstream, not Rocky.

However, with World's apart Saga left the world they created with their first three records. It is no coincidence, that, no matter what version of the album you possess, the strange mechanoid insects do not appear on the cover. Saga was turning towards more earthbound themes in their lyrics and somehow the atmosphere here is not as consistent as it was an "Silent Knight" or the self titled debut. Here we have some songs which might be written off as filler material. "Conversations" is a nice instrumental, expertly executed, but somehow I did and do not care that much about it. Songs like On the loose, Time's up, Wind him up and the worthy closure to the somehow obscure Chapter Concept "No stranger" were songs that spoke to me immediately on an emotional level, while it was also evident, why "Amnesia", "Framed" and "the interview" were not single material, although Ian Crichton's guitar saved them (at least Framed and Amnesia) from oblivion.

So is it a good album? I would think so. Occasionally I still listen to it. I know what I get and it ages very well. There are still not many bands around, that sound like Saga at the height of their creativity. Mind's Eye, maybe.

Is it progressive? Well, define "progressive". It's not early Genesis, it's not early Yes, it's not King Crimson. But if progressive means something new, influenced by the dinosaurs of prog, it most certainly is, though maybe the influence is rather to be found in the Krautrock corner than classic prog.

Recommended, still, for anyone who likes intelligent Rock Music. Not essential, but in my opinion still much better than the better rated "Full Circle". Actually three stars, but I give it a four, just to raise the average.

saalfeld | 4/5 |

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