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Saga - The Human Condition CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.49 | 114 ratings

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Time Signature
5 stars Now is now...

Now is not then. And Saga solidly place themselves in the now with "The Human Condition", which I think is a brilliant progressive album. It blends in guitar-driven hard rock with at times very complex almost fusion jazz-like elements and utilizes both traditional pop/rock song structures and atypical progressive ones. I think Rob Moratti does a great job, and I like the fact that his voice is completely different from Michael Sadler.

The title track is great, staring out super complex weaving guitar and keyboard twin lead figures which are in a yin-yanesqu contrast with the super tight bass and drum patterns, almost making the bass the leading catchy instrument here. The vocals do not start until after about two minutes after a virtuous guitar solo only to give room for a keyboard solo after thirty seconds or so. The vocals pop up here and there throughout the song, seeming to serve as a type of chanting refrain more than anything else. The song also contains several breakdowns and build-ups. I think it's a really brilliant song to start out an album with, one that really showcases the high level of musicianship. It's almost like, after this song, they can do anything - they can screw up as much as they want, and it wouldn't matter.

There is great variation among the tunes on this album, and where the opener is complex the second one, "Step Inside" is heavier and more straightforward, with a symphonic feel due to the keyboards. The symphonic feel returns on the downtempo "Hands of Time", which also has an 80s synth music sensibility to it in the opening until the full instrumentation kicks in. "Avalon" has a slight folk feeling to it, as the bridge utilizes celtic melody patterns - just played on the electric guitar and well camouflaged actually - and manages to combine a hard-rocking sensibility with athmospheric keyboards. "A Number With A name" is akin to some of the songs on "10,000 Days", which does create some continuity between this album and Saga's recent back catalogue despite the change of vocalist. Another song that is worth mentioning is "Crown of Thorns" which is essentially a progressive metal song.

To me "The Human Condition" is a forward-looking near-perfect rock album, but still drawing on elements from the past without being a mere repetition of previous work.

Time Signature | 5/5 |


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