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Saga - Silent Knight  CD (album) cover

SILENT KNIGHT

Saga

Crossover Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars Some superb songs but no progressive music as far as I am concerned. At one point these ugly digital synths get to my nerves . This is however clever pop music and I remember making love to Don't Be Late, but this was full of those hateful ugly synths and I never was able to listen to a whole side at once. Another superb art work for cover . This is however extremely well produced and with the best hi-fi of the day , the production and stereo effect were really stupendous .

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#17597)
Posted Tuesday, February 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars In the vein of the best efforts by PALLAS, a Scottish band which has been always compared. The production is perfect. The sound very modern, as this kind of Pomp-Rock is a bit mainstream but never banal.

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#17598)
Posted Saturday, April 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
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!!

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#17600)
Posted Thursday, July 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
burning95@hot
5 stars SAGA's 3rd album... released in 1980 this album could easily be the best Canadian album of that year, the only album that could give it a run is possibly Rush's "Permanent Waves", but I still think "Silent Knight" wins hands down. "Silent Knight" for me is easily 1 of SAGA's top 3 releases. I know many fans who rate this as SAGA's overall best CD and they have good reason for that. Silent Knight opens with Chapter 2 "Don't Be Late" that track by and far is one of SAGA's true trademarks. I love how Jim Gilmour sings the "digitized" vocals for instance "IF WE'RE LATE I WILL NOT SURVIVE - THEY WILL KEEP ME ALIVE" in between Michael Sadler's vocals, it's a very haunting song with one of my favourite Ian Crichton guitar solos, this song has everything. "What's It Gonna Be?", "Time To Go", "Compromise", "Too Much To Lose", "Help Me Out" and "Someone Should" all solid tracks in between 1 & 8. The final track "Careful Where You Step" a song that has a keyboard intro that will just slice through your organs and leave you gasping on the floor, more so in a live environment, I can attest to this! I can literally feel my bones rattling when Jim Gilmour plays the first notes of "Careful Where You Step", I love it!! This whole album has a very medievil feel to it, especially "Careful Where You Step" when I listen to this, I feel like i'm in full armour riding a black horse through some ancient city... just awesome! Oh yeah... I really get into this album... crank it!!!! Get it if you don't have it.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#17601)
Posted Friday, August 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars My God, that album is really great!!! An album you'll never forget. You'll hear it and it'll speak for itself. I can only say that you must buy this beautiful album. It's my second favourite (my 1st. favourite is "The security of illusion)... HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

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Send comments to porcupine_boy (BETA) | Report this review (#17602)
Posted Wednesday, February 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Despite a generalized progressive rock crisis, Saga still continues here to produce excellent modern progressive rock albums: 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.

This album is quite similar to the second one, although all the instruments form a slightly more cohesive, balanced and loaded whole. There are also more omnipresent rhythmic piano parts. The keyboards sound quite 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's typical modern sound and style reached on the second album is still present here. There are many very good guitar solos and rhythmic ones, often synchronized to follow the melodic keyboards. The lead singer has an excellent voice a bit like the Spandau Ballet's singer. All the tracks are excellent. Saga has their own unique sound & style: they probably inspired neo prog bands like Pallas.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#17603)
Posted Thursday, March 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I followed a suggestion from this site to consider this one as starting point. But, if this is SAGA best effort, sorry but we are far away from prog, and only near to quite good rock. Some pieces are nice, and as underlined by many, only production recording quality is excellent. Better spend your time with other bands.

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Send comments to NIC* (BETA) | Report this review (#36733)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
jetledorze@ho
3 stars Even if it's a goog album, I have to admit I really prefer Images at Twilight and Heads or Tales. But some tracks are very pleasant like Time to Go which is the only real prog act of the album. The rest is good neo prog however which could be compared to some Asia or first Marillion era. Three stars but no more.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#36745)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars In 1980 I was 18 and thought hard-rock was the only possible music I liked. In those days there were a few weekly hard-rock hours on one Dutch radio station. Then I met somebody much older who let me listen to Saga. I didn't know what to hear: Symphonic Rock music. Still after 25 year the early albums sound very good and catch my interest; in fact better than the later ones.

Highlights of this record: Careful where you step, Time to go and Compromise. No bad tracks at all. I give 5 stars to this album. It's deserved after all those years.

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Send comments to Hermanes (BETA) | Report this review (#58522)
Posted Tuesday, November 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Melomaniac
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars With 'Silent Knight', Saga delivered one of the best 'chapters' in the series, 'Don't Be Late' (Chapter Two). One of their proggiest numbers, very well written and executed, and a classic among classics. The way the song is built is magnificent. Other songs like 'Compromise', 'Too much to lose (Chapter Seven)', 'Help Me Out' and 'Careful Where you Step' are all Saga classics, but for the first time in Saga's career, some weaker songs, such as the horrid 'What's it gonna be?', 'Time to Go' and 'Someone Should' were recorded, and even though the rest of the songs are great, the overall quality of the album suffered from those songs. I therefore give this album 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to Melomaniac (BETA) | Report this review (#100788)
Posted Tuesday, November 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Third album of this famous canadian band named Silent knight. This was released just prior to another fine Saga album World's apart. Saga always has a combination of polished pop and symphonic prog a la Genesis, and the raw riffs of Rush that made them famous in the early '80. They combine very well their influences to a concise structure of songs that never sounds too indulgent. Maybe Asia did same thing in the early '80, but Saga did it better. Here Saga proves that is a lot of virtuosity on this album, just take a listen to Don't Be Late and Compromise, the best tracks from here, of course the rest are good too. I find it very enjoyble, the first 5 saga albums i find it essential in any collection, this one is one of those albums that i never get tired. 4 stars and recommended, among the best Saga albums and in the '80.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#139988)
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This third album by Saga is in fact somewhere in between their debut and their successor where the style is concerned. It's almost as symphonical as the first but not as "neo" as the second. The strength of this album is the overall performance. All songs are very good, some even better (Don't be late and Careful where you step) but all in all a very enjoyable listen for 37 minutes which is not really much of course, the only downside to me for this album.

It's all in all one of my favourites by Saga and I know almost all their albums, so I can compare. At least 3.75 stars, so 4.

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#149652)
Posted Friday, November 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Saga combined arena rock with a real gift for symphonic progressive atmospherics, not to mention the best of breed production values. True, they were overly dramatic even for their time, and Michael Sadler's vocals were affected in the extreme, but "Silent Knight" is still a worthwhile listen on many levels for people who want to hear some of neo prog's forgotten routes and roots.

The two best cuts are the well developed opener "Don't be Late", and the rollicking finale "Careful where you step", which captures the paranoia of the cold war peak as well as any song, and features brilliant keyboard and guitar interchanges and stereophonic effects. Along the way we have some average songs that are easy to listen to but also bolstered by great passages, as in the circus style theme that terminates "What's It Gonna Be", and hit-material hooks like in the heavy symphonic mantra "Help me Out" and "Someone Should", which reminds me of art rockers Sparks for some reason. This was the album just before Saga went from Canadian cult heroes and German superstars to world wide success, and we can see the ingredients coming together. Yes there are duds that necessitate a needle lift or skip button as the case may be, "Compromise" being an utterly tuneless affair that almost seems like a dress rehearsal for "Careful where you Step".

It's been over 25 years since "Silent Knight", and, although Saga's massive subsequent success was short lived, they in a large measure earned their elder statesmanship in the second wave camp through efforts such as this. Perhaps not quite a Knight in shining armor, this particular Saga is still dripping with nostalgic and intrinsic merit.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#150429)
Posted Monday, November 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gooner
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This gets 5 stars for what I would consider in the top 3 for neo.prog. A nice balance between the old and the new...somewhere in between mid-period Camel, I Robot-Alan Parsons, & light jazz fusion. Never really gets heavy until the end on Careful Where You Step. Also, a bit of a musical nod to mid-period Gentle Giant on Help Me Out which is quirky in a very GG way. I never really considered Saga neo.prog because I always thought they thought they were a refinement of the genre while making it more accessible to masses without sounding like Styx or Starcastle. Here, Saga sounds like Saga...and no one else. Ian Crichton takes the cake as one of the most underrated prog. guitarists, especially on Compromise. Listen and learn, folks!

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Send comments to Gooner (BETA) | Report this review (#159751)
Posted Friday, January 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Pomp pop or prog rock ?

It is a bit difficult to classify Saga. They are somewhere between HUMAN LEAGUE and prog rock. Maybe closer to prog rock than synth pop. This album is a typical example. The first song are closer to prog rock than pop. The following two songs are more pomp pop than prog. And it continues like this throughout the album. If my memory serves me right, SAGA also got a lot of respect from metal fans at that time. I know, because all my friends back then was into metal and hard rock. SAGA is a complicated band to understand. Maybe the right label is pre-neoprog. Or just music.

The music here is pretty synth based with the artwork setting the standard. It was at that time pretty much post-rock and science-fiction based. The cold war was at it's most intense and there was a war in Afghanistan. It was a bad time for the mankind. This album kind of reflects that. The world is run by a machine called synthesizer. Not much human touch here. Just cold pomp pop meets prog rock. Michael Sadler adds some drama with his voice. The wall of synths adds theater to the music. The sound is great though. I have always liked the sound on their first four albums, this album included.

The songs are good, but nothing special. This is not SAGA's finest hour. The only really good song are Don't Be Late. This album is the weakest of their first four albums, I am afraid. But it is still a good album.

3 stars.

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#189528)
Posted Sunday, November 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
debrewguy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Saga's third. Do they overcome the sophomore slump ? Not quite. This is certainly an improvement over Images at Twilight. But the songwriting is still developing.

The album does start with a Saga classic - Don't Be Late. Mellow for an album opener, but once its' melody has seeped into your mind, there's no denying the beauty and melancholy, and as it picks up the pace, one can't help but be taken away dreaming.

Several other songs recall the group's previous efforts & foreshadow the continuing develpment of certain aspects of their sound. Compromise is this album's How Long, with some harder edged guitar. Time To Go is the AOR/Pomp rock sound that Saga mastered on the next two albums. Not to my taste, but I can see it as a favourite among other fans. The verses' melody remind me of some of Klaatu's Sir Army Suit's songs, especially the influence that the Moody Blues had on Klaatu. Someone Should could well have been lifted from Styx's Kilroy was Here. Mind you, It would have been the best song on that album. Careful Where You Step is a prime example of why some people insist that Saga was the first Neo band. A concert mainstay for years, it is well loved by many of their fans.

The rest seems to straddle the pop / prog line. Later, as the years went by, to my ears, they would seem to eliminate such balance and go one way or another. For me, the pop side was of little interest, as I much preferred their prog or pomp sound. Later songs like On The Loose, and the Flyer would hark back to this album. So in a way, true fans of the band should check this one out. For the more casual listener, it's still worth a few bucks if you can't find it a good price. But the best introduction to the group will come with Saga's next two albums.

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Send comments to debrewguy (BETA) | Report this review (#213775)
Posted Monday, May 04, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I first became familiar with this band back in 1980 with the song "Don't Be late" which was on the radio a lot back then. In the next year or so I would become familiar with songs like "On The Loose" and "Wind Him Up" all songs that I really liked. Actually even to this day I crank these songs up when I hear them. Back in the early eighties I never took the plunge in buying a SAGA album mainly because my concerns were about the rest of the songs on their records. So here I am almost 30 years later after purchasing this cd and the next two studio recordings."Silent Knight" was released in 1980 it was their third album and first with keyboardist Jim Gilmour. I must admit my concerns about the "rest of the songs" maybe not being that great were actually true.This is very much synth-led eighties sounding music.The first and last tracks are really good, especially the opening track which stands head and shoulders above the rest.

"Don't Be Late" opens with the synths swirling as Sadler starts to sing. Outbursts of guitar come and go.The thing I like most about this song is the atmosphere.The tempo continues to shift. "What's it gonna Be ?" is an uptempo tune with synths, drums and guitar standing out. Vocals before a minute.This is catchy and I like the chunky bass before 2 1/2 minutes. Melancholic guitar ends it.

"Time To Go" opens with piano melodies before vocals and drums start to lead the way. Synths become prominant. "Compromise" is uptempo with lots of synths. Some nice guitar after 2 minutes. "Too Much To Lose" opens with waves of synths before it kicks in at 1 1/2 minutes, vocals follow. "Help Me Out" is too poppy for my tastes. "Someone Should" is catchy and energetic. "Careful Where You Stop" has these pulsating synths and atmospheric guitar. Catchy and uptempo.

Barely 3 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#227997)
Posted Thursday, July 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Magnificent album that Here we are, Silent Knigt, which pleasure to find Legend on a big album. Synth always beautiful, Ian Crichton's guitar is sweetened, riffes indeed in place(square), imitating almost the sound of gulls, this sound of guitar if particular is present here everywhere on the album. The voice(vote) so beautiful of Michael Sadler, which pleasure. The production of the album is tres appropriate(clean), a recognizable sound has every title. The style in him even of the album can get closer sometimes to the progressive néo or to the Hard fm without belonging to the kind(genre). The album makes vibrate it is really of a level tres high, melodies are magnificent, let us not veil us any more the face to say that it is a jewel this album, tres accessible(approachable) tres pleasant, it does really good. I like and if the criticisms(critics) sometimes avoid Legend too bad.

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Send comments to Discographia (BETA) | Report this review (#228017)
Posted Thursday, July 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars The saga continues

After the promising debut album and the disappointing follow-up Images At Twilight, Saga bounced back with their third album. The awful Disco-influences that crept in on the previous album are thankfully much toned down for Silent Knight. Like on the debut album, there are progressive aspects of Saga's music, but these are kept to a minimum really. For the first time they opened an album with one of the so-called "chapters" - namely, chapter two: Don't Be Late, which a great song, even if a bit slow for an opener. The second track, What's It Gonna Be?, is, however, easily the album's worst track and initially severely harmed my hope that this album would really be a significant improvement over the previous one. This song would have fitted better on the weak Images At Twilight. But the rest of the album is surprisingly and thankfully again quite decent and clearly listenable. Generally, the second half of the album is slightly stronger than the first half. Absolutely nothing truly remarkable is to be found on this album, but it is a decent album nonetheless.

Even if the band's distinctive sound was pretty much there already of the debut, I still would say that they had yet to fully "find themselves". Unfortunately, they would find themselves in a place located further away from progressive Rock, but they would at least find more success there. Silent Knight is in some respects perhaps a bit more mature than the first two albums, but still suffering from some of the same flaws. The production is still a bit thin and there is nothing that really grips you. Silent Knight falls in between the good self-titled debut and the weak Images At Twilight in terms of quality. The debut remains the best of the early Saga albums.

Recommended for Prog fans in general, but only essential for Saga fans

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#240530)
Posted Sunday, September 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Silent Knight is the third release by Saga. Not much has changed. The songs haven't changed, the sound hasn't changed. Creative standstill. Well, maybe, the album art is a lot better actually!

Half of the songs are adequate and match the quality of the debut. Don't Be Late is as good as any of their other up tempo rockers. Also Help Me Out has a nice interplay between guitars and keyboards, Careful Where You Step is another poignant rocker.

One thing you gotta give Saga. They were one of the few 70's rock bands that made such good use of keyboards. Never indulging into pointless solos but nevertheless strongly present in the overall sound. 2.5 stars.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#251933)
Posted Friday, November 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
3 stars For me this is among SAGA's best albums, if not the best. I like it more than the praised Worlds Apart, maybe because with this album I found the band when I was 13 or 14 (well, this AND the live album In Transit, to be exact) and so its "memory value" is higher. If I listened to this - or any SAGA album - today for the very first time, probably I wouldn't be very interested. But never underestimate the power of nostalgia linked to the music! Some days ago I had the chance to listen to this one after a couple of decades, and it was a delight. (It'll be interesting to see how a couple of their later albums will be to me. I'm not expecting much of them, really.)

Our Canadian group was never *very* progressive when it comes to compositions, but against the music industry of the time they surely were carrying a torch of some kind. And hardly any group has mixed synth pop elements and prog feeling as succesfully as SAGA. Compared to ASIA, who started some years later, they were less pompous and richer in details. They had more in common with the (then future) Neo-Prog bands than 70's Symphonic bands that usually form the idea of what prog is. So, in a way they were rather ahead of their time than behind. But maybe not that much that their music would feel "timeless". If you dislike early 80's popular music, chances are you won't like SAGA very much.

'Don't Be Late' is perhaps my favourite by this band. It really draws me into a deep, adventurous atmosphere, and I love the way it evolves from the slow, frail beginning into a hasty instrumental part. Another strong and chilling track is 'Careful Where You Step'. Perhaps the majority of the 8 songs are not even close to that level but (with the exception of two which are too synth-pop to my taste) all have something to keep the listener interested. The production and the playing are very good. Michael Sadler's vocals are a bit too much in the background in the mix, but they are a perfect pair with the crisp, keyboard-driven sound.

I also love the delicate track 'Time To Go' which has very beautiful keyboard playing and melodies. Essential album for SAGA listeners.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#333684)
Posted Thursday, November 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars A perfect mix between Popol Ace's "Stolen From Time" and Yes post Bruford, this is the style of "Silent Knight" album, i.e. a mix between Classic Rock and Prog. And Saga with this style here's also to conquer the metallers more open to other musical styles. In my personal view this is the power of Saga. The sound is good, a good mix between electric guitars and synths with not aggressive vocal parts. The melody are not so complicated, without virtuosisms. Precisely for this Saga manages to be similar to New Wave groups, although the most distant from them. And "Silent Knight" is an album that you can hear 10 times in a row without boredom or to get heard.

In great substance, "Silent Knight" is not a masterpiece but sure a concrete and winning album.

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Send comments to 1967/ 1976 (BETA) | Report this review (#401011)
Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The other side of Neo-Prog.

Just like Marillion, I think Saga deserves a royal place at the table of Neo-Prog founders; except that they have one hundred percent original material... and they came way before. I didn't heard anything (yet) that could relate to their blend of energetic vocals, explosive keyboards, loud drums fills and intelligent guitar solos.

Many quality Canadian bands flew under the radar in the 80's, but Saga is leading the grand march with a complete package of enigmatic imagery (magnificent art cover and just looooove the sci-fi firefly theme) and emotionnal music. It's a pretty big sound for the time, I'm impressed by their bombastic material. Don't forget the thoughtful lyrics, with many winks to Albert Einstein too!

A very persuasive record, with tons of juicy axe licks (who inspired Doug Ott from Enchant) and very good use of 'plastic' keyboards for a change.

That album won me at the first song. It's THAT good.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#1146526)
Posted Tuesday, March 11, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars My first ever Saga purchase was "Trust" and the second "Silent Knight". Though the two albums are separated by two and a half decades, I noticed some similarities in style. This, I decided, was a compliment to "Trust", which I felt had turned up the prog factor a couple of notches from their previous album "Network", my most recent Saga purchase at the time of this writing.

"Silent Knight" is Saga's third album and the last one with producer, Paul Gross. What the band introduced on their debut is prevalent here too, namely serious pop rock songs with a good dose of instrumental segments showing off the skills of guitarist Ian Crichton and new keyboard player Jim Gilmour, who I feel gets featured much more than Crichton on this album. The sound is decidedly of the times and there's no mistaking that synthesizer and those drums along with that approach to music composition and production. If you can get past that almost embarrassing 1980 pop sound though, there's some pretty decent stuff on this album.

Take the opener, "Don't Be Late (Chapter Two)" with its subtle yet hurried keyboard notes and Michael Sadler's vocals suppressed almost to a hush and backed with a strained whisper. The music reaches a couple of powerful moments before dropping back to the gentle but quick pace we began with. Once the song proper concludes, a grand instrumental section begins with bold keyboards playing an almost classical melody and guitars dittoing that before the keyboards take over for a climactic finish. New sounds but with some inspiration from the classic days of progressive rock.

Another track to be ready for is #3, "Time to Go". Again we get a strong classically influenced melody and take note that there's a harpsichord (or at least a very good facsimile), piano, and two different keyboard sounds, one resembling horns. The bass and drums only serve as rhythm here and the guitar a secondary instrument. This is musically a rather impressive creation given the year. It's songs like this that seem to define the concept of neo- prog if that concept is to create more cohesive and concise pop rock songs but still feature moments of advanced composition and playing.

"Too Much to Lose (Chapter Seven)" "Help Me Out" and "Careful Where You Step" continue on this road by including some exciting synthesizer and guitar work with a 1980 pop rock flavour. Other songs sound more pop oriented though just about all of them leave room for a showcase of playing ability and some dramatic flourishes and abruptly appearing surprises, like a cascade of piano notes falling from the cessation of a barrage of bombastic rock or a sudden muted staccato of guitar notes after a sweeping keyboard melody.

Simply skipping through the first 30 seconds of each song will probably leave you cold unless you habour a deep love for the sound of pop in this period. Memories of pop videos from the early 80's threaten to dissolve my feeling of being cool with my music playing when many of the songs begin. However, after the first three minutes the songs tend to have spent their lyrical messages and the last two minutes are usually for something more bold and evocative.

I recognize that even in 1980 there were artists striving to create more complex music than what Saga ever did. But I'm going to give this album 4 stars for keeping the prog factor up higher than what was offered on many of Saga's later albums.

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Send comments to FragileKings (BETA) | Report this review (#1284672)
Posted Saturday, September 27, 2014 | Review Permalink

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