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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars An improvement on the debut but I have problems calling this progressive music, the art work on this one was really impressive and it certainly helped young rockers to notice it . The fact that all five members played at one time or another KB made us feel uncomfortable especially when they were so close to using programmable synths and were clearly over using them. There were good momments on this second album and these chapter thing (spread on more than one album) was a little inspired from Rush (Cygnus X-1)
Report this review (#17585)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Saga's 'Images at Twilight' doesn't achieve the same level of pomp and grandeur than its predecessor, thoguh it's actually still worth listening to and has some excellent moments in it. Going on with the comparisons, the sound production is more meticulous and the instrumental ensemble feels tighter and more compact. But due to the fact that the band recorded this album mostly as a quartet (Chadd didn't last too long in the band, not even during the recording process - so the credits are "generous" on this one), this led to a notorious diminishing of the colourful keyboard orchestration that played such a big role on the debut album. On the other hand, Ian Crichton's guitar riffs, harmonies and solos get the chance to shine more brightly and burst out onto the fore. Some of the highlights are 'You're Not Alone' (a classic in their live acts) and the electrifying closure 'Mouse in a Maze'. My personal fave is the splendid symphonic ballad 'Images' (one of their finest compositions ever); the beauty of this piece results from the succession of captivating melodic lines, cleverly arranged and performed with finesse. The remaining repertoire is attractive, but not particularly spectacular IMHO: mostly AOR (the real catchy 'It's Time', for example),and even some synth dirven new wave ('Slow Motion'), anticipatin what Rush would eventually do in their 82-84 recordings. Overall, this is a good album, but Saga would prove on their next three recordings that thay could do better.
Report this review (#17588)
Posted Wednesday, June 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars SAGA's 2nd album "Images at Twilight" is up for debate whether or not it's as good as the first album, either way it's still a must have album. IaT starts with Chapter 3 "It's Time", Michael Sadler sings the chorus with anger "IT'S TIME... THIS TIME... MAKE ME NOW!!!" and near the end of the song you hear some nice interplay between Ian Crichton and Greg Chadd who would be their 2nd Keyboardist after Peter Rochon's departure. Ian's solo is really smokin' here... always thought this made a really great opening track. "You're Not Alone" is a fan favourite at concerts as Michael gets the crowd involved singing "You're Not!" "You're Not!" "You're Not Alone!!". Chapter 1 "Images" is a beautifully sad piece of piano music... lyrically this song will make you want to cry, the piano really makes that emotion come out, brilliant song. "Hot to Cold" is a tune that features some cool vocal interplay this time between Michael Sadler and possibly... Jim Crichton or maybe Greg Chadd, I never did find out... anyways this song was covered by another progressive rock band called "Chain" which received very high praise for their cover. In 2004, Michael Sadler was invited on to Chain's 2nd album "Chain.exe" to sing on a 38 minute track called "Cities" and also to take part in the SAGA cover of "Hot to Cold". Back to Images at Twilight, the album finishes with "Mouse In A Maze" which is a really mystic track, nice feeling on this one.
Report this review (#17589)
Posted Friday, August 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is classic Saga sound at its very best. The songs are short and very melodious which should not turn off the casual prog rock listener. This album has enough melody and class to turn on the hard core AOR listener who does not like prog due to the long winded show offs of songs that most prog bands are prone to. Saga does none of that. 'It's Time' and 'You're Not Alone' show this point to a tee. Great melodic stuff with enough prog to keep it interesting.
Report this review (#17590)
Posted Thursday, October 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars There's some great pieces in this album like "It's Time", "You're Not Alone", "Images" and maybe "Mouse In A Maze". But in general terms this is a medium album. Worst than his previous and his next but still enjoyable... if you wanna complete the saga GET IT!!!
Report this review (#17591)
Posted Saturday, March 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As the progressive rock is dramatically absent around 1980, Saga still continues to produce excellent modern progressive rock: they still show the way that leads to an avant-garde progressive rock full of modern keyboards. Saga's style here consists in very structured and melodic arrangements made of delightful modern keyboards and rather hard rock electric guitars.

Compared to the Saga's first album, the keyboards on "Images at twilight" sound a bit more modern, futuristic and anthemic. With 2-3 keyboardists in the band, one has to have great expectations, and actually the listener should not be disappointed regarding the keyboards refinement and pertinence. Saga mostly reached his typical modern sound and style here. There are many very good guitar solos, often synchronized to follow the melodic keyboards. The lead singer has an excellent voice a bit like the Spandau Ballet's singer. The overall sound is very modern for the year. "Images (Chapter one)" has excellent, catchy, magic, futuristic, addictive and heroic keyboards: impressive! All the tracks are excellent. Saga has their own unique sound & style: they probably inspired neo prog bands like Pallas.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Report this review (#17592)
Posted Thursday, March 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is absolutely great! Lots of cool songs. Not a real traditionnal prog piece but a brilliant act of neo prog. Songs like Take It Or Leave It and Images are fabulous! The bass riff on Take It... is amazing, simple but amazing. Images is splendid with its piano/synthesizer performance. Moreover, lead singer voice is astonishing but really melodious and a relief for the head. Just don't miss it!
Report this review (#17594)
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars The second Saga album suffers a bit from the sophomore jinx in that there isn’t anything really new or even particularly interesting over the first release. But these guys have never exactly been known for innovation or deep-thinking music anyway, so the letdown is a rather soft one.

Michael Sadler’s voice is one that fans may have become accustomed to, but to me it has a very affected quality to it that borders on awkward. Also, the lyrics here are pretty light, with heavily repetitive verse structures that seemed to be pretty prevalent in both ‘artsy’ and pop music of the early 80s.

The first installment of the multi-album chapter series begins on this album with “Images” and its sketch of a man down on his luck and apparently reflecting back on his run of bad luck (or bad choices):

“None remain, not the friends or possessions - who's to blame? With all those good intentions one picture did remain - a face that had his name. A body lies, no pain, under blankets of warm rain.”

Chapter Three is here also, and opens the album actually with the slightly schizoid “It’s Time”, but we have to wait for the next album to get chapter two which tells of the man rushing down dark wet streets to some sort of prophetic appointment. This whole chapter thing was (at the time) a clever way to try and keep listeners interested and buying records, but it all seems a bit hackneyed today.

Back to “Images” – this is probably the most interesting composition with its extended instrumental passage and ethereal vocal passages. “Mouse in a Maze” also has its moments with a tight bass line and a pretty catchy rhythm, although it comes on the heels of “Hot to Cold” which suffers from just about every early 80s trite composition ill possible – repetitive lyrics, monotonous keyboard riffs, and gauche vocals.

Twenty-five years ago I really thought this was a clever album, and was admittedly attracted largely to the very excellent cover art and the presence of the band’s videos on MTV, as well as the heavy use of keyboards and Moog synthesizers. Today the album comes off as rather trite, and just doesn’t hold up over the space of the years. The band would demonstrate an impressive staying power and attract a pretty loyal following over the subsequent two and a half decades. They would eventually refine their sound and emerge as a sort of respected older sibling of the neo-progressive and related bands, but this particular album was early, somewhat rough, and not their finest moment. Collectors and fans undoubtedly cherish it, but most newcomers to the Saga sound aren’t likely to find it too appealing. Two stars.


Report this review (#81873)
Posted Saturday, June 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Saga's second effort. Not very different from it's predecessor, but still very good. Kind of like King Crimson's first two albums : they sound very much the same, and the only thing that keeps most people of preferring the second to the first is that the surprise effect is no longer there. Saga were in the process of refining their sound, and Jim Gilmour's arrival in the band sure helped. Again, we are treated with two more chapters, 'It's Time (Chapter Three)' and 'Images (Chapter One)', which features superb piano work. More classics here too, such as 'You're not Alone', and the darkest, heaviest number of that period, 'Mouse in a Maze'. Sadler, once again, delivers a great and powerful performance, as do all band members. No weak songs here, in my humble opinion. Another four star effort, worthy of your collection.
Report this review (#100787)
Posted Tuesday, November 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars After their almost symphonic debut which was also a very good album you could expect something like this of their successor. But that's not really the case I must say. Images at Twilight is a really nice album but alas less than the debut. The first 3 tracks are quite cheerfull songs, a style that wasn't to be found on the first album, so that already indicates a change in style. It's all more accessable, I'll leave it up to you if that's an advantage or not. The 4th song, You're not alone is a live cracker they play on many of their gigs. Take it or leave is again in the style of the first three. Then comes the highlight to me, one of my all time favourites by Saga, Images. This is a wonderful progressive song that could have been on their first album where style is concerned. Hot to Cold and Mouse in a maze are more of the accessable stuff again so that means six out of eight in that vein. Hard to judge in what kind of result this has to end up. It's somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. But my love for Saga (and that lasts already for over 20 years) makes it 4.
Report this review (#149381)
Posted Wednesday, November 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I was really surprised to find Images at Twilight in my old LP collection as I have no recollection of listening to the album before. Maybe that says everything about Images at Twilight, as it is really without highlights. The songs are well composed and the musicians are really good, but personally I find the music kind of generic.

The most exciting thing on the album is the extensive use of synth, and the vocoder chorus in "See Them Smile". The music is very much centered around recognizable choruses and Michael Sadler´s powerful voice. Everytime it´s about to get interesting with some instrumental parts we´re quickly back in the vers chorus structure.

All in all it is not an album I will listen to very much in the future, but I will have to give it 3 stars for the high quality in composition and musicianship. I´m sure there are people who will enjoy this more than I did, and if you are into symphonic hard rock ( eighties style) this is probably a very good album.

Report this review (#151578)
Posted Sunday, November 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Saga's second album from 1979 named Images at twilight. From the beggining I might say this the least enjoyble for me album of Saga from the first period (1978-1983). While is much weaker then the next one , and at same level with the first, this album is a good melting combination between synth pop with some prog leanings. They always known how to combined this two elements resulting some great albums in the early '80's and later aswell. Not a traditional album in progressive terms, Images at twilight has some good moments like:Slow Motion and Take It Or Leave It, the rest are ok. Not much to add but if you knew some of their albums, you may enjoy this one as I did. Not something special but not a bad album either, on later albums this combination they've tried and succeded at some point are better puted and better written on albums like World's apart or Heads or tales. 3 stars for this album, still a pleasent album in my view.
Report this review (#210540)
Posted Monday, April 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Images at Twilight - where Saga, like most musical acts hits the dreaded sophomore slump. Kind of.

Is it that Jim Crichtan & Michael Sadler likely handled most of the keyboards. Much of the keyboard work seems to follow the melody line, rarely offering counterpoint, memorable solos or the interplay with Ian Crichton that I find so characterizes their sound. ( Rumour has it that Greg Chadd did not last long with the group). Is it a songwriting slump, where your debut consists of the songs of your live show, and then you face having to come up with the new album while touring, and then in the studio where time is at a premium ? For whatever reason, it comes across as a poor cousin to the debut.

Although the song Images continued to build what would be the prototypical classic 80s Neo sound, the rest , for the most part come across as a heavier version of the synth pop that would populate the early 80s music scene. Yes, their lyrical content was way above the girl/boy concerns of groups like Human League, and Ian Crichton's style of guitar playing was nowhere to be found in that scene. You're not Alone does have a bit of latin influence to it, And it did come to find a spot as a concert mainstay. But the songs, especially the choruses seem to have a more commercial bent that overwhelmed the prog credentials that I found on the debut. Where the debut incorporated the pop aspect influenced by Queen as one of the many components of their sound, on Images at Twilight, it seemed to dominate.

Case in point, my favourite song from the album , Slow Motion comes across as a sophisticated synth pop dance song. The rhythm section of Ian Crichton & Steve Negus provided the group with a solid rock backing that often gave their songs a "danceable" beat. Not disco, not even what was derivisely called White Boy Funk , but in a way, you could say it was prog dance music.

So Saga retains the polished & professional sound (did they ever put out an album that sounded bad?). But for the rest . well . if you loved the mid 80s Adult Oriented radio format to your liking (not the Album Oriented format that was more guitar based), then this might be worth a spin. For those who enjoyed Pomp Rock, this is a good version of the pop side of it. For the rest of us, this is only a must if you're looking to have the entire Saga collection.

Report this review (#212621)
Posted Monday, April 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars A weak chapter in the saga

After the great debut, Saga released the disappointing follow-up, Images At Twilight. While the debut featured most of the band's trademarks and their distinctive sound, this second album seems like a step backwards. Or rather, a step away; a step away from (Prog) Rock and towards Disco and funky Pop. The sound is even more thin than on the debut and production is glossy and plastic. While on the debut there was hardly any weak songs, the relation is reversed this time around; there are only one or two good songs here among the mediocre and even downright awful ones. Only a couple of the tracks retain the progressive structures of the debut and the songs are generally shorter and simpler, there is more emphasis on catchy choruses. There are also some really cheesy moments on this album and some horrible Disco-infected songs.

The best track here is easily the first chapter of "the chapters"-saga: the very good Images, which starts with a really nice piano introduction and a strong vocal. Saga's first four albums all had tracks subtitled 'Chapter #'. These chapters appeared in non-numerical order, scattered on these early albums and while the debut confusingly included chapters four and six, this second album features chapters one and three! It was always unclear to me what these songs are supposed to have in common or why they are supposed to hang together in the order indicated by the chapter numbers - as far as I can tell they are not really musically connected. Even more interestingly, Saga once again picked up this tradition in 1999 on the appropriately titled Full Circle album and they continued on the albums House Of Cards and Marathon adding up to a further eight chapters of the saga. In 2005, they released a live album featuring all of the 16 chapters in numerical running order.

Despite one or two good moments, Images At Twilight was clearly a letdown after the promising self-titled debut. Thankfully, Saga would bounce back with their third album.

Report this review (#240508)
Posted Sunday, September 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
1 stars Saga apparently hadn't much more then just a few good songs in them. Most of them ended up on the debut, leaving little of merit to fill up the ensuing albums. While the debut had 2 weak tracks out of 8, this second album only has only two songs I can hear without rushing out of my own living room.

It's Time and You're Not Alone are ok but certainly not their best. The rest is an uninspired excuse for an album. Commercial music by the numbers, as if it was produced by an assembly line. I guess I will need to create my own review template to get through this part of my catalogue as swiftly as possible.

Report this review (#251935)
Posted Friday, November 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars After not being impressed by the live album In Transit I thought that I'll never listen to Saga again. But after hearing the amazing cover of Mouse In A Maze by A.C.T from the Special Edition version of their album Imaginary Friends and hearing the band talk about Saga as one of their biggest inspirations I finally decided to give Saga another go. After all, my previous choice of an introduction album might have not seemed all that fair.

The choice of Images At Twilight felt quite obvious since it featured Mouse In A Maze and You're Not Alone, one of the few tracks that I actually liked from In Transit. But would this be enough to convert me into the realms of Saga fandom?

This time around I found the music a bit more enjoyable, but this is still far from what I would consider being one solid recording. There isn't much prog here and the stuff that can be considered semi-progressive sounds too commercial and mainstream to keep progressive fans entertained. Still I can't really say that I didn't enjoy myself while listening to this music therefore it's only fair to give it the good, but non-essential rating.

**** star songs: It's Time (Chapter Three) (4:04) You're Not Alone (5:26) Images (Chapter One) (6:29) Mouse In A Maze (5:43)

*** star songs: See Them Smile (3:24) Slow Motion (3:53)Take It Or Leave It (4:00) Hot To Cold (4:58)

Report this review (#259598)
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars If Saga's debut was rather faceless and undistinguished, this sophomore effort busts out of the gate with arguably their best song ever, "It's Time". Unfortunately after that, there's not much to recommend.

"It's Time" was like an antidote for all the trekkies out there, on par with the more direct reference of FM's "Phasars on Stun" from "Black Noise". Optimistic interstellar science fiction just oozes from the grooves and drips over the far reaches of the platter. The melody is a killer and the synthesizer and acoustic guitar combination is more than palatable. The vocals, bass, and drums, everything really, all expose the enormous potential of the group that was left mostly unrealized.

The other "Chapter" installment is an appealing ballad with a majestic keyboard outro, and the lyrics and main riff of "Mouse in Maze" help plant it firmly in the above average category. Unfortunately, elsewhere it's more of the typical SAGA formula of banal compositions in unkempt polyester dress like a late dinner guest. This is especially true for "Slow Motion" and "Hot to Cold"; even if "See them Smile" and "You're Not Alone" are slightly better.

SAGA could have been so much more than a second league prog group and/or flash-in-the-pan hit makers with a little more vision and focus, but such was not to be. The formula expressed here remained loosely intact through the first half of the eighties, with all too few stunning images emerging sporadically from the twilight fog.

Report this review (#275063)
Posted Sunday, March 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Many, many years ago, I was a big fan of Saga's first albums. I am now picking this one up again for a review and a reconnection with my past.

I have to conclude that my musical preferences has developed during the last two decades. Saga's mix of pomp and pop is no longer my musical preference. Some of the stuff on this album makes me cringe.......seriously cringe. There is far too much synths on this album too. The guitars feels a bit forced into a synth dominated sound. Some of the songs are pretty bad. But this album also gave us one of Saga's best ever songs in the shape of You're Not Alone. A true barnstormer and the highlight of this album. Mouse In A Maze is also a very good song. The rest is not too bad, but still not what I would spend much time on. How times has changed, is my verdict on my musical preferences over the last two decades.

3 stars

Report this review (#284401)
Posted Tuesday, June 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The second studio album from canadian art rock band Saga named "Images at Twilight" is right at the top of their studio achievments. It beutifully merges progressive and pop tendencies of the band and prooves that structural complexity is not always a measure of quality.

Progressive elements are reduced compared to their first album, but it is a sheer intelligence of compositing and a great feeling for melody and atmosphere that make this album so magnificent.

There is not a single week composition or a filler on this album. "It's Time" is a perfect starter, bristling with energy and intelligent ideas. The flow continues with every song that follows, reaching its peak with "Images (Chapter One)", the most progressive song on the album with atmosphere that causes goosebumps.

"Images at Twilight" is without a doubt one of the highlights of Saga's discography and, I dare to say, one of the best art rock albums ever created. If you do not know Saga yet, I would highly reccomend you to start with "Images at Twilight".

Report this review (#453026)
Posted Saturday, May 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars *Meh*

Saga is a proud survivor of a dying genre: the pop-prog. Many attempted from Rush, Kayak, Styx, Kansas, Triumph, Asia and Supertramp. They all succeeded in many levels, nonetheless the exploit of drawing girls to their shows. They also disapointed many hard rock fans looking for more crunch and aggressivity.

I have to admit that Saga is more for the softie: pompous singing, catchy choruses and plastic keyboards. You absolutely cannot commit a crime listening to this, nor making love for that matter. It has that 'Hold Your Fire' by Rush feel that leaves a 'meh' feeling afterwards.

Despite the lack of badassery, Saga is confirming their ability to play tight and dynamic light prog. I personnally prefer the next album, but this one has at least 2 fantastic numbers: Images and Mouse in a Maze. Those two songs are heavy staples of Saga's dark side, and this is the side I prefer. When Saga is sad, they have an impressive power of melancholia that I find attractive.

A tad disappointing, I wanted something darker but the art cover is a-ma-zing.

Report this review (#1148123)
Posted Friday, March 14, 2014 | Review Permalink
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...

Report this review (#1584622)
Posted Sunday, July 3, 2016 | Review Permalink

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