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SARIS

Neo-Prog • Germany


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Saris biography
German act SARIS was founded back in 1981 by Derk Akkerman (guitars), with Johannes Stuecker (vocals), Udo Kellermann (bass, vocals), Wolfgang Schneidereit (keyboards) and Wolfgang Voight (drums) taking up the other slots in the band. In 1982 and -83 they toured extensively in their native Germany, as well as recording the single Out of Your Night.

For various reasons this line-up didn't last though; and Saris went on the backburner for a few years. In 1992 a new line-up was in place though; as Martin Gellhaus (vocals), Udo Raitzig (bass), Stefan kremer (keyboards) and Helge Bungert (drums, vocals) joined Akkermann for the recording of an album, released as Dead End Street in 1993. A subsequent tour followed; and at the end of this Raitzig and Bungert left, first and foremost because extensive touring was too tiring for them.

It took several years before replacements were found, but in 1998 Lutz Guenther (bass) and Achim Schmidt (drums, keyboards) joined Saris; and for the next year recording sessions took place; with highly promising results allo band members were exceedingly pleased with. Sadly, personal issues saw to it that the band split in 2000.

In 2006 Akkerman, Schmidt and Guenther decided to give the band another go; and with the addition of Anja Guenther (vocals) and Thomas Hackmann (vocals) new recordings were planned; and in 2009 a finished album saw the light of day - Curse of Time.

The album gets favourable reviews, and their mix of vintage Neo-Progressive rock and progressive metal is generally deemed likeable.

But on May 23rd 2009 disaster strikes, when Achim Schmidt suddenly dies after suffering pulmonary embolism. His contribution to Saris' latest album had been essential; and the fate of the band following this is uncertain.

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SARIS discography


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

2.84 | 16 ratings
Dead End Street
1993
3.60 | 33 ratings
Curse of Time
2009
3.65 | 25 ratings
Until We Have Faces
2014
3.48 | 21 ratings
Ghosts of Yesterday
2017
3.14 | 13 ratings
Beyond the Rainbow
2020

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

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

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

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

SARIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Beyond the Rainbow by SARIS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.14 | 13 ratings

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Beyond the Rainbow
Saris Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars German band Saris have had more than a few challenges over the years since their initial inception in 1981, but guitarist/keyboard player Derk Akkerman has been there throughout, and their last three albums have all featured the same line-up. They have two lead singers in Anja GŁnther and Henrik Wager although Henrik does by far the majority, plus there are another seven backing singers, yet somehow the vocals do not feel over the top. This is neo-prog, with guitars often to the fore but also with driving keyboards, which makes one think firmly of the Nineties yet with a modern approach and production. The arrangements are key, as while there are times when it feels quite orchestral, it is never overblown.

It is inviting and compelling, at times quite dated yet also feeling modern, and the result is an album which is accessible, often fairly gentle with mild vocals. For it to move to another level it would need to have more of an edge, as this all feels just a little too mellow and safe and never really thrusting with the bite one likes to get from the genre, although of course this could be quite different in the live environment. A solid release, which fans of neo-prog could do well to look out for.

 Ghosts of Yesterday by SARIS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.48 | 21 ratings

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Ghosts of Yesterday
Saris Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars German band SARIS has a history that goes back to 1981 and a somewhat complicated history with quite a few different line-ups along the way. The current incarnation of the band solidified sometime after 2010 I believe. "Ghosts of Yesterday" is the second album this version of the band have crafted and their fourth album overall, and was released in 2017 through local publisher Duck Dive Music.

Saris' blend of hard rock and various aspects of progressive rock on "Ghosts of Yesterday '' is a very engaging one at it's best and a pleasantly engaging one otherwise. The first half of this album in particular strikes me as a strong example of relatively easy going hard neo progressive rock. While this is not an album I think will find favor among those who enjoy the more challenging aspects of progressive rock, I would suspect that those with an interest that spans hard rock and AOR style rock as well as neo progressive rock should find this album to be an interesting one to lend an ear to.

 Beyond the Rainbow by SARIS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.14 | 13 ratings

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Beyond the Rainbow
Saris Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars German band SARIS has a history that goes back to 1981, and have numerous line-up alterations in their almost 40 year long history as a band, especially for the first 30 or so years. For the past decade or so the band have remained firm though, and this has also been the most productive span of the band's history. "Beyond the Rainbow" is their third album with the current line-up, and the band's fifth studio production overall, and was released through German label Progressive Promotion Records in 2020.

"Beyond the Rainbow" strikes me as a pleasantly engaging production, the kind of album that quite a few people will like and enjoy, but where the audience that will love and cherish this production will be more finite and in a certain niche. The niche in question here being fans of 90's era neo progressive rock in general, and those fond of bands with a harder edge and a focus on moods, atmospheres and majestic keyboard arrangements in this subset of progressive rock in particular.

 Until We Have Faces by SARIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.65 | 25 ratings

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Until We Have Faces
Saris Neo-Prog

Review by PH

4 stars It's been a bit of wait for the third studio album from SARIS. Behind the sudden demise of keyboardist/drummer Achim Schmidt and replacement for the vocalist, I had reason to wonder how the group would cope with comeback after their CD 'Curse Of Time' (2009). Eventually, German veterans bring 'Until We Have Faces', the new offering at over 61 minutes in length. It features 10 tracks spanning a variety of different styles. There are elements of classic rock and progressive wizardry, a small portion of reggae, AOR- esque segments plus gentle pop flavor. Evaluating this cleverly-constructed brand like a rock-musical can be an exaggeration, albeit you get the allusion. Conversely, there was no special casting for particular 'spectacle'. The frontman Henrik Wager does a powerful job. Female singer Anja Günther adds a beautiful extra dimension in each line she's presenting. The voice of Thomas Hackmann sounds more at the background. The permanent supervisor, Derk Akkermann, provides some thrilling guitar work combined with the hypnotic keyboard forays. To heighten the attraction, Lutz Günther plays pulsating bass, whilst Jens Beckmann is heard on strong percussion. Overall, 'Until We Have Faces' portrays Saris in the impressive form. If you are a band's staunch fan, you won't be disappointed. But if not - give it a try.
 Curse of Time by SARIS album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.60 | 33 ratings

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Curse of Time
Saris Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars German band, which had to wait for about three decades before becoming a bit known, despite formed in 1981 in Bochum.Guitarist/keyboardist Derk Akkermann was always the centerpiece of the band, which disbanded for the first time in 1983 after a single and several tours in Germany.A second line-up was gathered in early-90's, leading to the release of ''Dead end street'', basically a Hard Rock/AOR album.In 1988 Akkermann met Lutz Guenther (bass) and Achim Schmidt (drums, keyboards), but even this formation lasted for only a couple of years.Fast forward and the old bandmates decided to give their dream another chance, recruiting two singers, Thomas Hackmann and Anja Guenther.But this time the circumstances were more mature, the result was the band to launch a long-awaited self-production in 2009, the album ''Curse of time''.

Saris have definitely a retro style of playing, not actually linked to the 70's as most of the retro-styled bands, but resembling more to German Heavy/Neo acts of the 90's such as CROMWELL and CRYSTAL PALACE, adapting a sound, which includes both Hard Rock and epic elements and delivering their compositions through very artistic arrangements with lots of segments and mood changes.The tracks are quite long with emphasis on the harsh, attacking vocals, the memorable choruses, the pompous keyboards and the very sharp guitars of the leader Derk Akkermann.So, imagine a group, which makes an attempt to flirt with a Neo Prog style, take heavy doses of a Hard Rock/AOR vibe and throw in some pompous/symphonic keyboards and even a few string sections for good measure.Definitely among the most powerful bands of the style, which insists on coming up with passionate rhythmic tunes and striking melodies, not ever forgetting about more virtuosic, flashy and intricate instrumental parts.This particular style won't change even in the very long ''Mircales'', a 17-min. composition, which still retains the basic values established already by the band.However this is by far the most diverse track on the album with the length allowing plenty of changes between powerful orchestral themes, heavy guitar-fronted sections, an atmospheric lyricism and grandiose symphonic textures.

Among the very pompous and energetic releases of the year.Somewhere between Hard Pomp Rock and Neo Prog, driven by a bombastic team, which loves to play dynamic and rich music.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Until We Have Faces by SARIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.65 | 25 ratings

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Until We Have Faces
Saris Neo-Prog

Review by robbob

3 stars Well This album reminds me the work of their conationals: Everon.(but sorry these last guys are better) Is heavy prog but more AOR in the line of some classic rock bands as Magnum ,Styx ,Uriah Heep, Asia.....but with more prog touches of course...Also it took to my memory Fish On Friday but this work is heavier. Touchstone is also on my mind Well done music, good songs, solid work......but nothing special . The women vocals are quite bad...I feel like is a little amateur . From their first album I feel is a step below. Best songs are : Rain and Endless Dream(in my opinion) So I hope fore a better work next time. 3 stars(3,5 maybe)
 Curse of Time by SARIS album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.60 | 33 ratings

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Curse of Time
Saris Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Saris is one of the prog bands from Germany who gone under the radar even their career lasting for more then 30 years. There was some ups and down since the beggining and the first album saw the light in 1993 and then they disbanded in 2000. In 2009 they released their second album named Curse of time. Well, the music offered is quite good, the instrumental sections are great with some very memorable keyboards passages. The voice is only ok, nothing special but not bad. The music is something like a metalized neo prog, similar with let's say bands like dutch Knight Area, germans Invertigo or Splinter. Quite solid is combined both style neo prog with prog metal, I mean the band is with one foot in neo and with the other in prog metal, but in the end they sound very good and tight. I like a lot the instrumental sections, pieces like the title track, or the mini epic Miracles clocking around 18 min are pure delight, specially the keyboards are truly great. All in all definetly worth checking out. Sadly after this album, the drumer will passed away giving again uncertaing future for them. But the light is again on their stree and they will prepare for a new album to be released somewhere in early 2014. For me great album Curse of time and 4 stars for sure, quite unnoticed band.
 Curse of Time by SARIS album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.60 | 33 ratings

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Curse of Time
Saris Neo-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars An interesting comeback album from this German band.

Saris released an album back in 1993 and then disappeared for 16 years before Curse Of Time saw the light of day. In the meantime, a lot of water had passed under the bridges crossing Rheine.

Curse Of Time was a fun album to make and it was influenced by the likes of Kansas, Saga, Nightwish, Dream Theater and Magnum..... Derk Akkerman stated in the interview I did with Saris some time ago. And that very much sums up this album.

The music on this album is much closer to pomp prog than neo prog. Well, the music here is pomp prog. It starts with some very strong references to Magnum, Saga and Kansas. The inclusion of female vocals and some acoustic instrumentations draws strong comparisons to Nightwish. The chugging guitar riffs is very similar to Dream Theater. There are even some strong German power metal influences here and prog/power metal fans will find this album a real treat. And some Scorpions influences has been carried over from the 1993 album too.

In short, the sound is very big and full of details. The songs are pompeous and full of multiple layers. Oh yeah, Saris has really gone for broke here and created a very big statement here.

The quality is good throughout. The lack of some really killer tracks is my main gripe here. But besides of that, this album is very good and I am sure it will find favour with a lot of people in PA.

3.5 stars

 Dead End Street by SARIS album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.84 | 16 ratings

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Dead End Street
Saris Neo-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars Hmmm............. What can you write about a band where the vocalist sounds like Klaus Meine of Scorpions. Yes, that's the German heavy/hard rock band which were really big 20 years ago..... or is this Klaus Meine ? Frantic search of the Saris biography follows...... No, Klause Meine is not the vocalist here. His name is Martin Gellhaus and he is probably the one doing the interview sheet I sent him. He may not include me in this year's Christmas card list after those remarks........

This album was recorded and released in the early 1990s when Scorpions was still pretty popular. And yes, there are some similarities in the music too. But Saris has also borrowed a lot from the two Toronto bands Saga and Rush. Marillion ? Not as far as I can hear. This album is an all out art rock album which also borders to AOR and heavy rock. Most of all; this album sounds and feels like one of those commercial German rock albums from the early 1990s. The musicians is competent and Klau.......ehh, make that Martin Gellhaus vocals is very good. But perhaps not to everyone's liking. The instruments is the usual tangents, drums and strings (guitar & bass).

The quality......... Well, the songs are not that great though. I have some issues with the sound too since I am nowhere near a fan of the German rock scene from that era. But I like the bands mentioned as their references (in case you missed them in my ramblings above; that's Rush, Saga and Scorpions). The music are competent enough, but this album has no really great songs. This album is and will forever remain as one of the forgotten albums in the scene. I am not sure what I should award this, but a strong 2 stars would suffice. This album is hard to get hold off too and not an album worth shelling out great money on Ebay for. But it is a good rock album though.

2.5 stars

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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