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Saga Full Circle album cover
3.48 | 138 ratings | 12 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Remember When (Chapter 9) (5:20)
2. The One (4:21)
3. Follow Me (5:07)
4. Uncle Albert's Eyes (Chapter 13) (5:22)
5. Home (5:06)
6. Don't Say Goodbye (5:33)
7. Time Bomb (4:05)
8. Not This Way (Chapter 10) (5:04)
9. Night To Remember (5:44)
10. Goodbye (3:59)

Total Time: 49:43

Line-up / Musicians

- Michael Sadler / lead vocals, keyboards
- Ian Crichton / lead & acoustic guitars
- Jim Gilmour / keyboards, vocals
- Jim Crichton / bass, keyboards, acoustic guitar, production & mixing
- Steve Negus / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Penny Crichton

CD True North Records ‎- TND 217 (1999, Canada)
CD Steamhammer ‎- SPV 085-21462 CD (1999, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SAGA Full Circle ratings distribution

(138 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

SAGA Full Circle reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
3 stars I have always followed the career of SAGA and have always carried a soft spot for these guys over the years. "Full Circle" marks another great album form these Canadian lads offering creative songs, powerful delivery and that special unique charm, characteristic of SAGA. I actually find this album very reminiscent of the atmospheres and moods captured of "Generation 13". Musically SAGA draw some parallels to RUSH and MARILLION while never losing their own characteristics and personalities. For those who love classic SAGA will need to hunt this album down as it contains many great melodies and tunes. One of my all time favourite SAGA tracks "Time Bomb" is on this album blending just the right mix of prog rock and symphonic rock. The final 10 mins of this album is simply breathtaking with perhaps SAGA's most emotional conclusion yet... final track "Goodbye" is just simply stunning with Michael Sadler's emotive rendition. Sound reproduction is quite spectacular as well with great wide speaker fulfillment and separation. "Full Circle" is a real charmer and for this music lover a great album. Welcome back SAGA!
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars SAGA has always proved themselves as a solid band in terms of music composition and performance. When this album was released, I was engaged with friends who regularly broadcast classic rock and progressive rock music at local FM radio station and "Night To Remember" from "Full Circle" album was one of regular play lists. One thing for sure that SAGA has made is the music characteristics that are unique to them only. It's very obvious that their music blends the guitar and keyboard sounds which have unique characteristics with vocal style. So whenever a new song is played even without knowing the band, people would know that this is the music of Saga because it's very unique. This "Full Circle" album is by no exception.

The album kicks off with "Remember When" (Chapter 9) (5:20) in an upbeat tempo rock style with good guitar solo. It flows nicely to another good track "The One" (4:21). On third track "Follow Me" (5:07) the music turns into mellow style with acoustic guitar and keyboard serve as rhythm section. Learning from these three opening tracks, it's obvious that the composition is good. Even though from the first three tracks there are nothing that really "melodic" but the band has successfully wrapped the music through good arrangements. The fourth track "Uncle Albert's Eyes (Chapter 13)" (5:22) has a better melody especially through keyboard work as well as vocal. "Night To Remember" (5:44) is probably the best track from this album. It starts with soft guitar riffs followed with rhythm section - a combination of guitar riffs and keyboard - followed nicely with good vocal line. The tempo is not as upbeat as "Humble Stance" but it's okay. The music riffs in the middle of the track is really good. The guitar and keyboard solo are also stunning.

Overall, "Full Circle" is another good album by Saga. There is nothing as really an outstanding track (s) coming out from this album. I do not find any catchy melodies or memorable music interludes but still this is a good album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by progrules
3 stars Somehow I could never get a grip on the three releases around the millenium change by my beloved Saga. Starting with this Full Circle followed by House of Cards and ending with Marathon I will try to express my feeling about these three that sound a bit flat and common to me.

The opener Remember When is a good example of my statement. I simply don't know what to think of this one. It's ok, but it doesn't grab me in any way. Next track The One makes more impact on me but I can't really embrace this one either. Follow Me is more of a funny track in typical Saga fashion but also here I'm not quite grabbed by the throat I have to say. And in fact the entire album works on me like this.

It leads to an uninspired review I fear. Most Saga albums (and they made many as we know) have a certain impact on me, whether it's a positive (mostly) or negative (rarely) one. But Full Circle leaves me unmoved really. I mean, it's not even bad or poor but it's a bit palish and flat like I said. Still good music, so typical three stars.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Saga at it best for sure in the '90's, everybody can see that in this record from 1999 named Full circle. A good and expected return of this famous canadian band, after the almost mediocre Pain and pleasure. This album brings everything who is best in Saga's music. Well writen tracks, great interplays between guitar and keys, great vocal parts, all is well done here. Every musician shines and is clear that is a great album by many listners. Full circle is among the best Saga albums, the atmosphere of the early recordings is here on all pieces. Some pieces that I enjoy very much are:Remember When, Uncle Albert's Eyes (one of the best pieces Saga ever composed, at least in the '90's), Don't Say Goodbye, Time Bomb and the smooth and very subtile Not This Way. So a great album with a lot to offer, that prog music combined so well with pop elements that make them famous in the early '80's are present here. 4 stars for sure, recommended.
Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Let's go back to the start?

After leaving behind their roots in 1982 with the release of their first non-Chapters album with Heads Or Tails, Saga have finally returned to finish the? saga? some 17 years later! This may come as a shock to many, but after a very bumpy couple of decades the band has taken their classic sound on this album and revamped it. The cover image of the band's old mascot shedding it's skin to reveal a much more sleek and sturdy warrior could not be more true ? and the band will also use this mascot on the cover of all of their Chapters albums from here on in. But trust me, the old Saga sound combined with a more modern production and tone is actually something that they could have gotten away with right off the bat.

Ironically, the band sounds a lot more 'unique' in this era then they did in the past ? bringing them into a second classic era, a second wind that not many bands get in their career. Not to be a pain, but have a look at the ratings on Saga's albums and you'll notice that they spike around the early 80s and the late 90s, early 00s. Pretty cool - And deservingly so, since they've finally figured out how to kick some major ass.

Full Circle is not the kind of album that will sit well with you the first time you hear it. Since it's a much more midpaced and yet somehow heavier record than a lot of earlier Saga, fans of the band may feel a little left out by the new sound. No worries, give it a second chance and it will instantly catch on with you. This version of Saga is a machine, a band who knows how to deal out a solid output without many (if any) glaring weak points. Take for instance the blistering opener, Remember When which reprises Don't Be Late (Chapter 2) from their third album, Silent Knight. This upbeat rocker makes the best of the band's style and adds splashes of synths to give texture to the overall composition, Sadler and Crighton leading the charge as always. Things pick up even more with The One, Crighton's crunching riff punching a hole in the back of your skull if you're not ready for it.

Then we get to the good stuff, Saga has always been best known in the progressive community for their ''Chapters'' songs, and here's the first ones in some 17 years for the boys. Uncle Albert's Eyes (Chapter 13) is one of the most emotional songs ever put to tape by the band, the midpaced, eerie song finally explodes into motion and goes from good to f***ing 11 when a dueling keyboard/guitar solo that is faster than most anything Saga has ever played before kicks into gear. Not This Way (Chapter 10) is a good and worthwhile ballad that's nothing to write home about, especially not after Chapter 13, but it still makes a nice, emotional addition anyways, especially in context of the album itself.

The rest of the album is full of other standouts as well. Home is a rather uplifting song highlighted by Sadler's vocals while Time Bomb is brought to life by more of those crunching riffs from Crighton. Don't Say Goodbye is a whimsical sounding song thanks to the backing vocals at the chorus, complimented by the sad Goodbye that finally ends the album. A Night To Remember is the last chunky song on the album, another heavy and eerie song that's not at all typical of Saga, but still amazing none the less. Perhaps the only song that doesn't work on the album is the third track, Follow Me, which starts out promisingly enough with a subtle riff that sounds like something that could have been off of Rush's Snake & Arrows album but then goes into a slower section. Sadler does some nice parts, but it's the children's chorus during the song that is really erking. Somehow it just doesn't fit on the album, especially on the heavies thing that Saga has done up to this point! Following up something like The One with something that sounds like it could be drifting out of a kindergarten at lunch time? a little bit too harsh of contrast.

Still, the album is remarkable overall, and a very strong release for the band. People have compared this era of Saga to the Canadian equivalent of Neo-Progressive and I'd say they're not far off. If you fancy yourself as interested in that kind of sound, or you're a fan of the early Saga catalog then this is definitely recommended to you. Overall, this is an excellent addition to any progressive music collection and deserves 4 stars accordingly. Not a lot of bands can pull of going full circle, but Saga certainly did.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars New chapters in the original Saga

Finally, Saga came full circle and returned to their roots with the very appropriately titled Full Circle album in 1999. This album is indeed a fitting follow-up to Saga's very early albums and the musical content found here is in many respects an updated version of the kind of music they made back in the late 70's and early 80's. It was not only musically, but also visually that Saga returned to their roots here. The cover art harks back to the fantasy-tinged sleeve pictures of the band's three first albums and even the mysterious insect that was found on the 1978 debut album makes its initial reappearance here after more than 20 years in its "cocoon". Despite the fact that most Saga albums don't even feature this character on the sleeve, it is hard to think about Saga now without thinking of this insect "mascot" of theirs. It has become almost as much part of the band's image as Eddie has for Iron Maiden.

Another thing from the old days that Saga resurrected on this album was the "chapters" idea. For those of you that might not remember, Saga's first four albums all included songs that were subtitled 'Chapter #'. After eight chapters spread over these four original albums, the gimmick was abandoned. Here, after nearly 20 years, chapters 9, 10 and 13 were introduced on this album which proves that they already at this point intended to make at least another two (the 11th and 12th chapter) on their next album(s). As it turned out we would eventually be treated with a further eight chapters over the course of several albums in the new millennium and in 2005 a live album was released featuring all 16 chapters (old and new) in their numerical order.

Full Circle was in many ways a new beginning for Saga and the start of their most consistent period ever. The first 20 years or so of their career as a recording band was a "shaky" period with the quality of their output varying widely between excellent and poor and also varying sometimes in style. The previous album, The Pain & The Pleasure was, for example, a very weak one. With the present album they were sending out the following message: "please forgive us for those weak albums we made and remember the good ones!". Full Circle is by no means as good as, or as progressive as, the conceptual masterpiece Generation 13, but it was the first in a long series of good Saga albums that continues to the present day (I'm writing this in 2011).

In conclusion, Full Circle was a very welcome return to what the band was all about in their early days. Recommended!

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I was interested in Saga's early albums, and still believe ,that they were one of bands, who build the basis to neo-prog. After they changed their direction and I just forgot about them for years.

So, return back to form? Yeas and no at the same time. Yes - they are playing similar music they started with. No - that music is uninspired. Shortly, they know how to play, but don't have to much to say.

All other comments are just nuances. Voice is recogniseable, music competent, they even use some heavy guitars in few places. So, everything sounds quite nice. But after you will finish to listen this album, you will never remember too much. Competent music, good sound, nothing is wrong. But - professionalism without soul.

Generaly higher than average album for Saga fans, but far from their early works. All in all 3,5.

Review by FragileKings
3 stars Full Circle. Indeed. You don't need to understand the significance of the title or artwork to appreciate this album, but the background history is important. Saga emerged in the late seventies with a style of music that fused the coming synthesizer-driven pop sound with hard rock guitars and a flair for progressive instrumental sections. Add to that songs of science fiction and intrigue and you have what made the first four albums Saga classics.

As the band found success in the early eighties, they struggled to keep their unique style all the while keeping up with the changing face of popular music and being guided by a management whose choices and advice were not always in the band's best interest. Key members left and somehow Saga struggled on. When the classic line-up re-grouped in the nineties it seemed all was well in the world again. But the nineties were uneven. They released an album that received much praise, did a soundtrack album that even the band disliked, did a concept narrative that is quite a fine piece of work, and followed that up with one of their least popular albums. What did they learn from all this? That it was time to go back to the beginning. Come around full circle. Start again making music like they used to.

An important element of the first four albums was the Chapters series: eight songs released two to an album and in random order that together created a jigsaw puzzle of a story about an alien race and Albert Einstein's brain. The first three album covers featured this alien race and we see here now that the aliens are back, this one emerging from its old skin all fresh and new, a symbol of the band's take on itself. And yes, with "Full Circle" a new series of Chapters begins. In that way, Saga had come full circle. How about the music, though?

The first couple of tunes don't really indicate that they have returned to their classic form. "Remember When (Chapter 9)" references some of their older song lyrics but that special progressive pop/rock music doesn't turn up on this track, even though the classic Saga sound does. "The One" is a solid but simple hard rock song with a great riff. A good stadium fist-pumper for sure, but it's not a classic prog song in any sense. "Follow Me" takes the pace down a bit an there's a chorus of children. If nothing else, the band is showing that they are not going to stick to any one formula for this album.

The band truly come full circle (i.e. return to their classic approach) by "Uncle Albert's Eyes (Chapter 13)" for which they stretch out a little more and give us one of their guitar / keyboard duels. This is looking promising. But will they keep it up?

From here on in, the album really shows us a variety of colours. The more proggy type sections appear on "Don't Say Goodbye", "Not This Way (Chapter 10)" and "A Night to Remember", meaning that the music is allowed to get ahead of the song at times. Saga's songs actually follow a standard pop format but it's where they work their instrumental sections that the band put themselves ahead of any standard pop rock act. However, true to their classic form, they still fit in some more typical pop and rock pieces like the acoustic-led "Home", a very powerful piece with pleasant acoustic guitar, and another hard rock number with "Time Bomb", featuring another great heavy riff.

The final track "Goodbye" uses only keyboards for atmosphere and Ian Crichton's wailing volume-control guitar notes over which Michael Sadler lays out the lyrics. It's a haunting piece, almost eerie when the vocals start, but also passionate. A surprise ending for this album, if you will.

I've had this album in my collection for nearly two years or so and I've always thought it was an enjoyable piece of work. Listening to it with a prog rating in mind, I was tempted at first to give two stars simply because I felt the prog quotient wasn't high enough. I have rated other albums I really like with two stars when I felt there was not much on there to represent prog. This is after all a site for progressive music and not Rate Your Music or Amazon. Hey, I give it four stars as a rock album! So, yeah, two stars at first but then as I listened carefully trough the other day I really felt it was too good to just get two stars. Though nothing like a prog classic, this album has variety, some well-exercised creativity, and some terrific musicianship, most notably Mr. Crichton's guitar playing which is always a pleasure to hear. And the Chapters series is back, and prog loves a good sci-fi story.

From my point of view, Saga wouldn't get around to doing a really good (crossover) progressive rock album until "Trust", but "Full Circle" is still worth listening to as a pop/rock album with progressive tendencies. Certainly a good album for newbies to hear. Welcome back, Saga.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Back to the foundation? Sort of. Bombing out with the painful "The Pleasure And The Pain" they come back to their roots in some ways. The Chapters are back. The Chapters are songs that appeared on the first 4 albums and here they finally emerge again along with their old mascot, the bug. The ban ... (read more)

Report this review (#2936732) | Posted by Sidscrat | Friday, June 30, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Far away from masterpiece, even from "excellent addition", Saga's "Full Circle" is a inconsistent mixture of harder and softer songs, mostly in 4-5 minutes range. If You are new to Saga, and like the insectoid creature on front cover, be cautious, neither music nor lyric has nothing to do with ... (read more)

Report this review (#82077) | Posted by cedo | Tuesday, June 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Full Circle" is truely a great resurrection to strength after the disappointment "Pleasure & The Pain" (the perfect title would be "The Pain")! This album is symphonic prog at it's best and got some of the best songs I ever heard from this band. For example there are "The One" with it's heavy ... (read more)

Report this review (#17471) | Posted by | Monday, March 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars No doubt, a great return studio album. Starting with "Remember When" recreating the classic sound of the band and bringing back to the continuing saga after an 8 years interruption since the last chapter in Worlds Apart, and this song, in my opinion, is one of the masterpieces of the band. You ... (read more)

Report this review (#17473) | Posted by porcupine_boy | Wednesday, December 22, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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