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Saga biography
SAGA... one of the most famous Canadian Hard Progresssive with excellent albums including all elements which made the band's reputation: a taste for symphonism and melodies and real talent for efficient riffs.

From 1978 to 1980, SAGA produced a number of quintessentially "progressive" rock albums. These first albums emerged neo-progressive style bands like IQ, PENDRAGON and PALLAS. In the early's 80's they further perfected their style and seemed a bit as viable as their Canadian compatriots RUSH. Until 1989, suddenly SAGA re-emerged with arguably their strongest album to date: "The Beginner's Guide To Throwing Shapes". They went totally haywire in 1995, releasing "Generation 13" to be a real concept album.

Throughout the years, they created their own particular and unique brand of music. Well, they're still around and they are still making great music but unfortunately radio stations no longer play intelligent, riveting, songs anymore. So, if you're into groups like KANSAS, ASIA, RUSH, STYX, or YES, a new dimension of music awaits you... SAGA!

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Buy SAGA Music

Silent KnightSilent Knight
Imports 1994
Audio CD$5.43
$4.66 (used)
Live in HamburgLive in Hamburg
Earmusic 2016
Audio CD$10.20
$29.97 (used)
Very Best ofVery Best of
Polygram Int'l 2003
Audio CD$5.86
$5.19 (used)
Audio CD$6.16
$5.50 (used)
Worlds ApartWorlds Apart
Sony 1990
Audio CD$98.86
$9.90 (used)
Images at TwilightImages at Twilight
Imports 2001
Audio CD$5.18
$5.18 (used)
The Human ConditionThe Human Condition
Inside Out Music 2012
Audio CD$14.05
$2.71 (used)
In TransitIn Transit
Audio CD$5.54
$2.99 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
F.E. (Dutch/Mr. Kee): The Saga Begins GANGSTA RAP CD Norteno G-Funk Sac-Sin OOP USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1h 27m
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Original Soundtrack) Alexandre Desplat (CD) (2009) USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1h 44m
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8h 5m
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USD $370.00 Buy It Now
8h 28m
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Roots: The Saga Of An American Family, New Music USD $18.16 Buy It Now 13h 5m
MAARTEN KOOY Organ Works Of Pachelbel Walther & Buxtehude SAGA 1971 USD $9.96 Buy It Now 13h 13m
Louis Armstrong Saga by Louis Armstrong (CD, Dec-1995, Sony Music) USD $1.99 Buy It Now 13h 36m
14h 11m
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SAGA - Behaviour - Scarce 1985 UK 11-track vinyl LP USD $28.06 Buy It Now 15h 19m
its soft rock & allsorts IT'S KATCH 22 1968 SAGA 1A/1B LP scarce USD $12.46 [0 bids]
15h 53m
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16h 4m
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FURTWANGLER, KULENKAMPFF -Sibelius Saga, Symphonic poem, Violin concerto 1943 USD $29.99 Buy It Now 16h 15m
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SEALED The Sacred Music of PALESTRINA Dessoff Choirs Boepple Stereo Saga USD $9.50 Buy It Now 16h 36m
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The Twilight Saga: Eclipse - Original Soundtrack The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Audi USD $17.07 Buy It Now 16h 59m
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17h 5m
Saga B,lica [Digipak] * by Cenotaph. USD $15.94 Buy It Now 17h 35m
SONGS OF MOTHER IRELAND Various Artists SAGA SOC-1017 Vinyl LP 33 Album VG+ 1966 USD $12.50 [0 bids]
18h 4m
Music from the Star Wars Saga - John Williams - CD, Silva Screen, 2004 USD $5.99 Buy It Now 18h 38m
Re-Up Gang the Saga Continues Clipse CD USD $35.72 Buy It Now 18h 44m
MOZART Oboe Concerto - VICTOR SWILLENS, Oboe, M. KOOY /Orch. -LP 1971 SAGA *MINT USD $12.47 Buy It Now 18h 48m
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Hugh Bean - Magic of the Violin - UK LP 1966 Saga EROS 8009 USD $3.10 [0 bids]
19h 24m
SAGA Generation 13 2015 remastered 19-track digipak CD NEW/SEALED USD $9.96 Buy It Now 20h 14m
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22h 5m
Saga,Chapters Live, USD $41.51 Buy It Now 22h 21m
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USD $1.50 Buy It Now
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Sealed SAGA - HOUSE OF CARDS - CD Original German Import 2001 Steamhammer USD $11.99 Buy It Now 22h 43m
Saga "Same" (1978) LP : Prog / WL Promo! / Near Mint USD $6.50 [6 bids]
1 day
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1 day
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Silent Knight - Saga (German Import CD, 1994, Polydor GmbH) USD $8.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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SAGA discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

SAGA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.65 | 175 ratings
3.14 | 174 ratings
Images At Twilight
3.64 | 182 ratings
Silent Knight
3.64 | 209 ratings
Worlds Apart
3.54 | 155 ratings
Heads Or Tales
3.11 | 114 ratings
2.32 | 84 ratings
Wildest Dreams
3.05 | 79 ratings
The Beginners Guide To Throwing Shapes
3.57 | 101 ratings
The Security Of Illusion
2.09 | 76 ratings
Steel Umbrellas
3.92 | 126 ratings
Generation 13
2.26 | 67 ratings
The Pleasure & The Pain
3.45 | 106 ratings
Full Circle
3.53 | 110 ratings
House Of Cards
3.29 | 90 ratings
3.48 | 87 ratings
3.80 | 148 ratings
3.61 | 101 ratings
10.000 Days
3.52 | 88 ratings
The Human Condition
3.30 | 79 ratings
3.29 | 64 ratings

SAGA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.69 | 79 ratings
In Transit
4.07 | 32 ratings
3.77 | 32 ratings
The Chapters Live
3.47 | 22 ratings
Worlds Apart Revisited (CD)
2.67 | 21 ratings
Contact Live in Munich
3.09 | 15 ratings
Heads Or Tales Live
5.00 | 4 ratings
Spin It Again! Live in Munich
4.08 | 4 ratings
Live in Hamburg

SAGA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.54 | 13 ratings
3.98 | 11 ratings
All Areas: Live in Bonn 2002
4.44 | 24 ratings
Worlds Apart Revisited
3.56 | 12 ratings
Contact - Live In Munich (DVD)
4.25 | 4 ratings
Spin it again! - Live in Munich

SAGA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
3.00 | 2 ratings
Time's Up
3.05 | 12 ratings
The Works
2.00 | 1 ratings
Wind Him Up: Best
4.29 | 12 ratings
All The Best 1978 - 1993
1.77 | 9 ratings
The Very Best Of Saga
3.21 | 10 ratings
Defining Moments (Volume 1)
3.00 | 4 ratings
Saga Softworks
1.00 | 1 ratings
Wildest Dreams
0.00 | 0 ratings
Wildest Dreams
2.67 | 6 ratings
How Do I Look
2.60 | 5 ratings
Remember When
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Collection
3.92 | 3 ratings
Best Of Saga. Now & Then - The Collection: 1978 - Infinity

SAGA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
How Long?
2.00 | 1 ratings
Slow Motion
3.00 | 1 ratings
On the Loose
3.00 | 1 ratings
Time's Up
3.00 | 1 ratings
Wind Him Up
3.00 | 1 ratings
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Flyer
2.00 | 1 ratings
Scratching the Surface (remixed version)
2.00 | 1 ratings
Scratchin' the Surface
2.00 | 1 ratings
Take a Chance
2.00 | 1 ratings
What Do I Know?
2.00 | 1 ratings
Only Time Will Tell
2.00 | 1 ratings
3.00 | 1 ratings
Gotta Love It
2.00 | 1 ratings
(You Were) Never Alone
3.50 | 2 ratings
On the Loose
3.15 | 18 ratings
Phase One
3.50 | 6 ratings
3.40 | 5 ratings
Money Talks
4.36 | 13 ratings
It's Your Life

SAGA Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Best Of Saga. Now & Then - The Collection: 1978 - Infinity by SAGA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
3.92 | 3 ratings

Best Of Saga. Now & Then - The Collection: 1978 - Infinity
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars This is a rather good compilation, spanning the entire career of Saga, taking one track from each album (omitting The Works and Phase One).

By doing this a lot of hitsingles are not present (Heads or Tales, Worlds Apart and Behaviour spawned several hitsingles). Instead of this hit-single-formula, this collection tend to choose the more intricate and progressive tracks. That's why songs like Giant, Heaven Can Wait, On the Air and Book of Lies are included.

By doing so, this is compilation to appeal to new fans. Every aspect of the band is highlighted; the pop/aor side of the band, the neoprog side of the band and the heavy prog-side of the band.

This is absolutely a recommended album for anyone who wants to discover this band. People who already have all the studio-albums will find nothing new and should instead focus on the numerous live-releases of the band.

 Time's Up by SAGA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1986
3.00 | 2 ratings

Time's Up
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Kingsnake

3 stars This is the first ever compilation album of Saga.

It was released in 1986 and marks the end of the first period of the band. This album focuses more on the singles the band put out, and adds two longer progtracks (Too Much to Loose and Help Me Out).

It's a nice compilation, but it offers nothing new. The albumcover is fun and fits the band perfectly. But the best compilation is The Works, wich offers non-album tracks and is longer in duration and focuses on more than just the hitsingles.

I can only recommend it to Saga-fans because of the album cover and to complete the discography, and if (by chance) anyone should find this record on vinyl (for cheap) it's absolutely worth the buy, because it's the only Saga-compilation put out on vinyl.

 Live in Hamburg by SAGA album cover Live, 2016
4.08 | 4 ratings

Live in Hamburg
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars In the course of 2015 and 2016, Saga and Earmusic were planning to re-release all their albums from 1989 up till now. Remastered and with bonustracks. These bonustracks were all livetracks from this concert at Hamburg.

The re-release-wave suddenly halted in march this year and was apparently abandoned. But to keep fans satisfied, the livetracks of the Hamburg concert (recorded in 2015) got this proper release.

The band is on fire, and drummer Mike Thorn really keeps the pace going. The band sounds young and refreshing, hitting song after song without unnecessary silence and banter between the songs. Michael Sadler hasn't lost a single bit of his vocal power and hits all the notes without a problem. Ian is (as ever) all over the place, but that's a Saga-trademark.

We get some real treats here: for the first time a lot of songs get an official live-release. Goodbye Once Upon a Time, Someone Should, Hot to Cold, Time to Go and Wildest Dreams were never before released (officially) on a live record. The new song On My Way and I'll Be also found their way into the set.

The rest of the songs are tried and true, and it's good to see that band doesn't play the acoustic set anymore. Those days are long gone. The closest thing to a ballad is Scratching the Surface (starting on piano) but eventually builds into a progrock epic going for at least 9 minutes (very nice).

The only really wrong thing is the 2,5 minutes of clapping and cheering at the end of Careful Where You Step, but hey, that's what the skip button is for.

It's good to hear Saga still rocking out.

 Silent Knight  by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.64 | 182 ratings

Silent Knight
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Saga's best cover art for their best album

After the enjoyable but a bit flat "Images At Twilight", "Silent Knight" sees the return of two of SAGA's ingredients missing from their second effort: catchy melodies and superb instrumental sections. This third studio opus also marks the arrival of classically trained keyboardist Jim Gilmour, more creative in his interventions than its predecessor Greg Chadd. For his first appearance in the band, he already participates at the composition of half of the record.

Like the cover art, "Silent Knight" is maybe SAGA's most futuristic offering. The music represents a transition between the 70's and 80's decades: efficient pop/rock, with progressive touches and more and more new-wave elements. The disco beats are definitely gone this time.

"Don't Be Late" is a classic from the Canadians. A great song with a mastered progression and powerful keyboard and guitar soli. The gorgeous instrumental section will give you goosebumps! Probably my favorite from SAGA. The fast retro-futuristic "What's It Gonna Be" alternates melancholic and punchy moments, with a beautiful instrumental finale. On the contrary, the soapy "Time to Go" makes a large use of very cheesy synthesizers. The only genuine weak track of the album. Back to life with "Compromise", a nice and catchy tune with a strong new-wave flavour.

Don't rely on the calm, spacey opening of "Too Much to Lose", this very good sci-fi / fantasy piece features heroic passages as well as a few changes. The joyful "Help Me Out" possesses a rocking melody and a cool keyboards interlude. Then comes "Someone Should" and its trippy electronic sequence. A bit uneven, this song is part of SAGA's material which certainly foreshadows the neo-prog genre. The record concludes with its second best track, "Careful Where You Step". Mesmerizing retro-futuristic overture, nice melody, great progression and a powerful epic finale. What else could you ask for?

With "Silent Knight", SAGA proves again there was surprisingly creativity and refreshing ideas in progressive world in 1980. Not as complex or sophisticated as the symphonic prog bands of the 70's, the music of the Canadians is a perfect balance between catchy melodies, radio-friendly pop, hard rock guitars, new-wave synthesizers and glorious instrumental sections. This rich and colorful opus was quite unique at the time and probably still is. Once again, the compositions must have been a major influence for the neo-prog genre.

SAGA's best album, the one to start with if you don't know the band. Highly recommended for fans of TOTO or STYX!

 Images At Twilight by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.14 | 174 ratings

Images At Twilight
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

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...

 Saga by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.65 | 175 ratings

Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The saga begins...

During the late seventies, while progressive rock was declining due to the punk revolution, North America was becoming a prolific hive of refreshing horizons for prog, especially Canada with RUSH and SAGA. Often considered as a major influence on 80's neo-prog, the music of Crichton and co. was on par with the animal on the cover art back then: rather difficult to categorize. Judge by ourself: a mixture of punchy FM pop/rock and disco/new-wave, with catchy melodies, spacey synthesizers and powerful instrumental sections. The balance between the guitars and the keyboards (mainly the Moog for this debut) is perfect. Although the songs have overall a normal duration, they feature many changes and surprises. Not really complex, but more direct and efficient.

Influenced by SUPERTRAMP, SAGA's style can sometimes be compared to TOTO's for their lively synthesizers and rich guitar accompaniments. However, the Canadians incorporate more progressive elements and make a larger use of the new available electronic technologies. Like their four first studio releases, this self-titled opus contains two special songs, named 'chapters'.

From the very first seconds, you know you're in for something atypical. "How Long?" opens with a disco/new-wave synthesizer sequence and a beat ' la HUMAN LEAGUE! The track itself alternates rocking and softer passages. Quite dated, but fun and finally enjoyable. A bit in the vein of SUPERTRAMP, "Humble Stance" has also a cool long trippy keyboard interlude. On the contrary, the odd "Climbing The Ladder" is a little dissonant and not very coherent. Then comes "Will It Be You?", the best and most progressive composition of the record. Beginning with an enchanting introduction, these changing 7 minutes contain heavy, powerful and heroic sections. Its energy and punchiness maybe influenced PENDRAGON for their first opus "The Jewel".

The second side is pleasant but slightly less inspired. Driven by synthesizers, the nice "The Perfectionist" also foreshadows 80's neo-prog. "Give 'em The Money" resembles SUPERTRAMP again, however with harder passages and a cool trippy electronic interlude. This song has its moments but sounds overall a bit uneven. The most interesting part of the ballad "Ice Nice" is its ending section, featuring a cool keyboard little jazzy solo and a rocking finale. The progressive "Tired World" is the other 'chapter', quite epic and spacey.

Despite a few weaker moments and dated keyboards sounds, this first effort from Crichton and co. is really promising and original. Like their fellow countrymen RUSH, SAGA are part of the missing link between 70's symphonic progressive and 80's neo-prog. They certainly contributed to the emergence this sub-genre, nonetheless rather more in the style of PENDRAGON and PALLAS's debut albums than the usual GENESIS-influenced bands such as MARLLION or IQ.

At first sight, this mixture of catchy melodies, powerful sections and electronic technologies can be considered as a risky stance. However, during the late seventies, numerous new genres were hatching. Therefore, proposing a recipe never heard before was not illogical at the time.

Unique, SAGA were also different from the other North American progressive bands (RUSH, KANSAS, STYX...). Their eponymous studio album is one of their most varied and offers a wide palette of atmospheres and many changes. Even after a few listens, the surprise factor remains, you cannot expect what will come next. The instrumental sections are simply great! And surprising the listener is quite impacting...

Hard rocking, electronic, progressive, melodic, catchy, epic, atypical are one of the adjectives that could describe the music of SAGA. This 1978 self-titled is already promising, colorful and one of the band's best offerings. Highly recommended!

 Full Circle by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.45 | 106 ratings

Full Circle
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Heads Or Tales Live by SAGA album cover Live, 2011
3.09 | 15 ratings

Heads Or Tales Live
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by Losimba

1 stars This is the worst and most superfluous album Saga have ever published. While I really liked the original version of Heads Or Tales (4 stars), quite the opposite is true for this live version. And it all comes down to one factor: Rob Moratti. I don't want to say he's a bad singer, he might actually be really good when he sings songs he wrote himself or that were written especially for him, but he simply doesn't fit into The Flyer, Cat Walk or, worst of all, Intermission, normally my third favourite Saga song.

There are some albums that deserve only 1 star, but even this is too much for Heads Or Tales Live. Zero point zero stars. I'm Helpless.

 Sagacity by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.29 | 64 ratings

Saga Crossover Prog

Review by wilmon91

2 stars A new album by Saga is an exciting thing for me as a very big Saga fan. I don't expect something comparable to their early albums, but they always bring something of their own.

The album is never boring and has a constant entertainment value, which makes it a nice listen. But many tracks are based on a meager amount of ideas and feels underdeveloped. I would wish for more depth and daringness to have more serious intent.

The need for a "modern" appeal on the one hand, and the responsibility to give fans an album that feels like Saga , may be priorities that undermine the potential to evolve beyond what they're used to doing. There used to be songs part of the "chapters"-series, and the last chapters can be found in 2003's "Marathon". Continuing the chapters series would have been silly. But those songs had different expectations, being part of a concept, and as a consequence having a larger song structure. That said, my favourite album from the 2000's is Network (first album with out chapters). "The Human Condition" (2009) brought a new vocalist, and marked a new period for Saga, with a more compressed sound, and it worked pretty nice for that album. Now with the second album since Sadler returned on vocals , they are continuing in the mindset of doing energetic technical compact and carefree rock music. My feeling is that Saga's approach of doing something "not too serious" and "just for fun" prevents them from advancing into interesting realms of sound and expressions. There is flexibility and variation, but is always accessible and outreaching, upholding the same energy level. Of course , Saga has always had an urgent energy and directness, but in earlier days the music had a grander romantic scale, with larger sound, and today it's a more compact hard rock sound with digital synth sounds, although there is still variation. I'm searching for more of that conceptuality which the chapters brought. An intent that goes deeper than surface-deep.

Original harmonic content

Harmonies is a s neglected thing today, ignored, treated as unimportant, or non-existant. "Pop" music of today have repeating chord sequences with one unchanging mood. Emphasis is on production, and the only element allowed for variation is vocals. Classical music in contrast, naturally use a lot of chords in the composing process, through harmonization. Knowledge and awareness of harmonies is rare. But that's one of the qualities of Saga. They are harmonically oriented , being flexible and often changing key between the parts in the songs. That way you always get a certain amount of harmonic content with Saga.

Sound Compared to the previous "20/20"

The new drummer Mike Thorne joined Saga's tour for "20/20" 2012 and is featured on this album. The drum sound is better and more varied than the previous album. Less compression makes it more natural, although the hi-hat is still loud with a sharp filtrated sound, which I'm not a fan of.

"The Beginner's Guide to Throwing Shapes" (1989) was produced in a way were the sounds were "thickened" which made it more punchy. "Beginner's Guide.." is the album that I think mostly resembles Sagacity with the same effects on vocals and guitars. Guitars have a lot of other interesting sounds on this album though. I am not a fan of the "Beginner's Guide.." album. It was dryer and more compact than previous more open and natural sounding albums. The thickened sounds diminishes personal expression and feels like a way to compensate for weaknesses. Vocals in general are very often alternating between two characteristics, for were one melody is sung in a rhytm by a combined vocal parts, alternated by a solo vocal phrase. Rather than having a single vocal performance, you have small phrases often treated with vocal effects. This can be nice sometimes, but used too much it loses human expression and emotion. Thorne's drumming style seems inspired by the previous drummer, Brian Doerner. Double pedal are used in drum fills, which I really don't like, and there is almost NO use of tom-toms. And tends to be pretty stiff with only one dynamic level - full force. Steve Negus is needed.

The previous album was completely over compressed , now it's not nearly as compressed, which makes for a more enjoyable experience. The songs are in moderate to lower tempo, not as over-the-top energetic as in the previous album. And even musically it is more dynamic with soft and heavier parts.

Composition-wise and musically however, it's significantly inferior to 20/20. The songs are on the shorter side, many of them underdeveloped, based on one or two themes.

1. Let it slide

A heavy album opener with a distorted guitar riff playing 16th notes in continous series of five notes polyrythmically, and drums playing a half-time groove. The bass groove stands out, played in very low register and goes throughout the song. It doesn't have much more than that busy guitar riff, going over the same bass note, so it's very concentrated to one thing.

2. Vital signs

Intro part with pre-programmed synth. Vocals are added, and the chorus brings in drums and guitars in a familiar chord sequence. But the main vocal melody , except for the alternating phrases by Sadler, is somewhat a failure, because it's a simple phrase sung mechanically by multiple voices octavated but lack clarity and sound more like barking. The middle section have an unexciting indian/oriental tonality. Weakest song on the album.

3. It doesn't matter (who you are)

A song in the style of "Time's Up" (World's Apart), with the same feeling and bass rhythm. The drums are a little stiff with force behind every stroke. Jim Gilmour on vocals, simplistic and rhytmically mechanic singing melody. It's not a winner with me.

* 4. Go with the flow *

Steel strung guitar in 7/8 groove with singing in a very light mood. Odd time signatures can cause an unintentional folk feeling sometimes, and this is a side effect here. But I really like the sound of that guitar. Then hell breaks loose with double pedals and distorted guitar. This is the most elaborated and well crafted song on the album, with many parts, and everything works together. There's a lot happening and it grows with more listens. I don't love it, but it's the best song on the album along with song 8.

5. Press 9

An odd ballad with a bit of a humouristic ironic vibe, without drums and only synthpads, steelstrung guitar and Gilmour singing a repeated vocal phrase. It sounds like several voices in unison. The expression becomes a bit rough and impersonal. The song changes key into an instrumental part with a nice electric guitar solo. But as a whole, it's not great..

6. Wake up

Starts with a modern digital electronic synth sound which give me bad vibes. The verse is maybe best part of the album. Drums play a groove with 16th note hi-hat, and the guitar is strumming nice chords with an 80's post-punk reminiscent sound, very cool. The vocals go very well together. Too bad the chorus wasn't very exciting, with bass and vocals in unison playing a catchy simple melody. The song doesn't develop enough for me.

7. Don't forget to breathe

Straight rock-beat in moderate tempo with a main guitar riff. This riff section is the main part, it doesn't have a chorus. Vocals (Gilmour) sings along with the riff, and alternately Michael Sadler fills in with a 50's style vocal sound with fast delay. The bridge section is in 6/4 but with straight feeling, and reminds me of the verse in "Footsteps In The Hall" (Trust), with similar chords and melody . Added to this is a guitar solo. The song seems a bit meager, as if some part would be needed to complete it.

* 8. The further you go *

Nice intro with cool guitar figure in some indian or middle eastern tonality ( "Remember when" from Full circle also use this tonality, and "As I Am" from "Beginner's Guide" ). It changes character and goes into triplet-form, quite similarly to the previous song, but with waltz-feeling initially. Gilmours sings in canon, with a peculiar expression, which I'm doubtful towards. The instrumental part is very nice with the guitar and a cool bell sound on the synth. Lots of potential but has very disparate parts. But it's the best song along with song 4.

9. On my way

Synthpad-intro . This song is a sort of feel-good arena rock anthem. The verse is nice, with simple drums on top of 8th-note driven bass. The "on my way"-chorus is so "feelgood" that it can't be taken fully serious. But it's not unserious, it's just a celebratory anthem style. I kind of like it, in a way.

10. No two sides

Good groove and nice drumming here. Sparing moody sections that seems to build up to something. The intro returns later creating anticipation, but then it ends.

11. Luck

Very cool main groove. But the verse makes me is completely bland. And it's not cool when vocals are added to the main riff . It ends shortly.

12. I'll be

Very nice intro section with acoustic guitars (three guitar parts) in triplet feeling. It's pretty separate to the rest of the song. The full band comes in suddenly with the triplet groove. Vocals are in sound much in the style of the "Beginner's Guide.." album. The song feels "strained", the drumming is stiff and forced. But there is a very nice chord evolvement leading up to the chorus, which changes into another key. That's a nice harmonic progression.

The good thing about the album is that it's never boring, it is nice to listen to, and there are many good bits and pieces. I don't give high ratings generally, so take my rating with a pinch of salt.

 Silent Knight  by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.64 | 182 ratings

Silent Knight
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to easy livin for the last updates

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