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5 stars I don't know what this other reviewer is thinking with only giving Network 2 stars?!? That's quite honestly insane, but I'll respect his opinion. Network has blown me away from my very first listen, it is by far the BEST work they have done since Worlds Apart and Heads or Tales!! I have been reading many reviews online and the thoughts are all the same this album is better than the last 3 releases: Full Circle, House of Cards (only by a little) and Marathon. I can't find a weak point to this album, the rockers rock, the ballads are some of the best they've ever written and they used Moogs for the first time in a long time. Michael Sadler's voice just gets better with age, Ian Crichton is playing some really killler guitar suff for example on "Keep It Reel" he has a tasty little piece near the end where everyone who has heard the tune swears it's Eddie Van Halen! (Ian is better than EVH!!) I think Christian Simpson's drumming is a welcome addition to the band, Steve Negus is a great drummer and founding member but Christian has done a heck of a job stepping into Steve's shoes and being able to fit in as well as he has. My fav tracks are: "On The Air", "Keep It Reel", "If I Were You", "Don't Look Now", "Believe" and "Don't Make A Sound", Network in my opinion doesn't dissapoint every track is golden here. If there is 1 SAGA album you should get from the past 10 years this is it!!!
Report this review (#32957)
Posted Saturday, September 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars Sorry, but this one is no good. Dont believe a word. Go buy the first 4 records and maybe the live dvds.The keys are mixed well back, there is no moog taurus and very little synth bass. Ian is a truly exceptional guitarist but the tone and the abundance of cheesy power chords grate on the ear. I would rate it above `House of Cards` which was so bad I returned it to the store. The guys at the record company need to get these chaps to do what they are best at... pomp-funk-rock with the mock moog horns blazin!
Report this review (#32961)
Posted Saturday, December 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars We are in the resurgence of the classic one of the Symphonic Progressive Rock of all the times? It is possible. A position of honor deserves this work inside the discografía of Saga, for me it is at a height of famous "In Transit" and also it has the whole essence of the group.
Report this review (#32962)
Posted Monday, January 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is up there with the best from SAGA.All is there.Great interactive guitar and keyboard as ever.Michael Sadler is awesome and the new drummer gels well adding a slightly different sound."On the Air" ,"Keep It Reel","Don't Make A Sound" are superb tracks but the standout for me is "I'm Back".I challenge anyone to listen to it and not join in the chorus.It gets me every time.SAGA are not your average band.They have a unique sound which is underlined here.Great songs,no fillers here,and as always,The musicianship cannot be faulted.The tracks stand up live.Go and see.
Report this review (#32963)
Posted Sunday, January 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars After many years of following "the boys" I can only compare them to an old car. You know, it runs on all cylinders for some time then all of sudden it hic-ups and doesn't run so great...until you bring it in for a tune-up. This amazing band seems to follow a pattern of successful recordings then not so successful then back again. This "hot and cold" performance is what makes honest musicians out of them. It's hard to come back album after album with fresh sounds. It's easy to get comfortable. These guys keep re-inventing themselves every few years. I will say though, the trend to albums that truly suck has alot in common with the temporary departure of Steve Negus time and time again. That being said, this album (without Negus) actually isn't half bad. Vocals, Keyboards, and Guitars are still in prime working order. Give the album a try and give it some time to set in. You won't regret it (there are certainly worse Saga albums out there) Also,for those of you who have never had the opportunity to see these guys live, I suggest buying their live CD's. (I got to see the original group make-up in 2003 live and they blew me away just like they did in 1984!! See these guys live!! No studio band here!!
Report this review (#32964)
Posted Thursday, February 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've followed Saga on and off for 23 years, and am very happy with this album. There might not be any ground-breaking here, but it's great to hear this band sound just like I expect them to. This is a very solid, rocking album with good ballads in the mix. After about 40 plays it still holds up as one of their better efforts. Definitely worth buying and playing extremely loud while driving!
Report this review (#32965)
Posted Saturday, February 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not as bad as I had expected from some of the reviews - the first 4 tracks are spot on, well worth the price of admission alone! I have followed Saga for 2 decades plus ( and the rest!) and Gawd knows they have produced some duffers - Lessons in Throwing Objects anyone?! - but I think this is a return to form. Good songs, solid playing, drummer? - grows on you. Nothing will ever beat Generation 13, ever, but this is a strong disc, you will really love it if you like songs. Regards. Tommo.
Report this review (#37262)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excellent follow -up to "Marathon", actually better than" Marathon" on a lot of fronts. Not quite as good as "House of Cards " ,but hey that was a masterpiece.So pefection wise somewhere between "House of Cards", & "Full Circle" ,which is a vey nice neighbourhood to be in ! Some very special moments here -don't cheat yourself of this treasure !
Report this review (#54190)
Posted Tuesday, November 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you listen to Saga for the first time it's an album that will blow you away. Musicaly one of the best albums in the last years. If you are a die hardfan from the first album, like I am, than you have to think that they are on the way back to being one of the best progbands ever. There are a few weak albums, but the flame keeps burning to buy more. And this one is one to have. Nice sound effects If you like guitars look for the solo albums from Ian Crichton, if you like good songwriting than buy the latest from M. Sadler, but don't dismiss this to have.
Report this review (#57025)
Posted Saturday, November 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hmm. This is my 1st review and as I just picked this release up new at the Tower Records liquidation so far I claim its a winner. By this I mean its solid and I am not comparing it to the early Saga releases i.e. Imgaes at Twilight etc. but rather as a solid POST prog rock release. I am a musician fby hobby(with 10 releases out) and although I mainly make electronic music I do have an ear for a well recorded rock album as well as being a prog fan since my teens(Im in my 30's now) and listening to alot of 1970s bands. Well lets see complaints about vocals. None. The vocals are perfectly mixed with good levels between Michael and the accompanied instrumentation. His singing is strong and the harmonies are impecable. Next we have the keybords in the mix. The keyboards are sounds are well chosen and althought I am a sucker for nice Rhodes piano passages with a bit of Moog I will say there are tasteful orchestrations i.e. strings and a bit of mellotron(probably a sample) flute in a track. Bass is punchy but the guitars are a tad up in the mix and more prevalent than what I really like, but thats a mater of personal taste. There is no Moog bass that my "synthy" ears can pick up and I really do miss that Moog bass playing. All in all this is a solid Saga album which is high on production values, harmonies, melodic keyboards and great singing. Its also a bit harder edged than the first 4 albums., but is a band suppossed to just re-hash the same old stuff over and over? You can answer that after you listen to your nect ELP clone band.....Nice job Saga!
Report this review (#103348)
Posted Saturday, December 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Network from 2004, Saga's I guess finest album in this decade 'till now. I was a little surprised to saw that no collaborator review this album yet. I'm the first and I'm impressed again by a Saga album. The music here is more prog , more uptempo, more edged than previous one Marathon. The boys in the band are with more vein and that is shown in pieces like:On The Air, Keep It Reel, I'm back, the smooth Outside Looking In and Back Where We Started , the rest are also strong. But with all that I don't considered this a masterpiece or close, is just another well produce, well played Saga album. On Network Saga reminds me of their early albums, when they were big, combined very well the pop arrangements with great prog interplays, that made them kinda unique in the early '80's. So this album from 2004 is another example that Saga is not necessarly in top of prog music today, but they keep the flag high and they do what they know best - prog music combined very well with polish pop arrngements. 3 stars for sure for Network.
Report this review (#192266)
Posted Monday, December 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In slowly going through their collection ( starting with my own collection , then as budget and availability allows, once more thanks Spin-It used LP section), I find myself using most of the same descriptions for their music. Neo before Neo, modern prog, heavy symphonic leaning, etc ...

So this time, I'll start with a quick summary - this is a very good Saga album. If you're a fan, and you don't have it yet, get it. Apart from a few that are rated under 3 here at PA, Saga has the consistency in putting out quality material that their fans can count on, and in return, makes it clear why this band has been able to build a 30 plus year career in music.

This album has a heavier tone to it, with Ian Crichton's guitar moving more to the fore than others. On the mid-point of Keep it Reel, we even have him giving Eddie Van Halen a reminder primer of what Eddie used to be able to do. And also a good example that supports many a Saga fan's claim to the man being underrated as a musician. Indeed, this album has but two through & through ballads - If I Were You, and Outside Looking In. The rest are typical Saga prog rockers. In a way, the group was putting out heavier music during the new millenium than their countrymen Rush. Was Saga simply reflecting the aspects of its' sound that had become so standard in much of today's Neo & Crossover prog music ? In a way, I wonder if they might garner more respect & attention if they were a new band just starting out with this release ...

Live at Five harks back to Heads Or Tales with the main guitar riff sounding more like some modern metal bands, before Ian Crichton & Jim Gilmour return to glory days' memories of their magical interplay.

Now , as I try to wrap up this rather meandering review, I suggest, I recommend this album to all Saga fans from their glory period. I also believe that fans of Pendragon's Pure, of the later IQ releases and other Neo bands like Arena, would be well advised to search this album, along with other releases and see just how these old fogeys match and sometimes beat the "rookies" at a game that Saga played first. Not the greatest album, but one very satisfying. I'd give it a 3.5, but I can't round it up. So a 3 with a wee bit of guilt for the lowball.

Report this review (#216056)
Posted Friday, May 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars They're back

Network is (mostly) "just another Saga album", but while in the 80's and 90's a new Saga album could be hit or miss, in the 00's, however, "just another Saga album" always meant another good Saga album. The previous three albums had seen Saga returning to the sound of their early days and on the previous album they completed the 16-part "chapters" song cycle that was started already back in 1978. What to do next? Could they maintain the momentum they had been building up since Full Circle? Would they finally do something different for a change? Well, as I implied already above, they opted for an album in pretty much the same style and quality as the previous three with some slight alterations.

Some Pink Floyd-ish Radio/ TV dialogues open the first song of what seem to be a loosely conceptual album (about television?). Maybe fans of Queensr˙che would enjoy this album more than most other Saga albums? It is a very far cry from the conceptual masterpiece Generation 13, but Network does seem to be slightly heavier, darker and harder-edged compared to the three previous albums - a direction Saga would continue and develop further on powerful albums like 10.000 Days and The Human Condition. Despite these slight changes in sound, the same typical, catchy melodies and often cheesy lyrics that we have come to expect from Saga make up the bulk of this album. Apart from the slightly longer opening and closing numbers, all the songs here are between three and a half and five minutes. There is not much space for instrumental workouts and the songs are rather conventional in structure. Only On The Air stands out as above the rest.

This album is on par with their previous one and a worthy album in its own right. It was another entry in the long series of good albums Saga did in the new millennium, but not the best of these.

Report this review (#496076)
Posted Wednesday, August 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars I used to give this one onely 4 stars, because I didn't think it was a masterpiece. But now I do.

The thing with this album, is that the power is back. For the last 3 albums, Saga returned to their symphonic sound, but they cut back on power. Since Wildest Dreams, Saga got more powerful. I don't know if it's the production, or maybe Steve Negus wasn't powerful enough anymore, but since Network, Saga rocks harder.

What you get is a mix of Heads or Tales/Worlds Apart-era progsongs with the power of Security of Illusion. Heavy riffing, great keyboard-melodies and leads. Heavy drumming and above all: great vocals.

The first and last song on the album bring back memories of Framed, Pitchman and Humble Stance. Long songs with powerful dynamics, and great soloiing.

When Marathon came out, I lost hope. But with Network (and Trust and 10.000 Days) my hope is restored. People who dismiss this album, should better stay clear of Saga as a band, because if you don't like this, you probably won't like the band at all.

Turn the volume up for this one!

Report this review (#541256)
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2011 | Review Permalink

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