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Saga - Marathon CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.28 | 117 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars The final chapter in the original Saga

2003's Marathon was the third in a trio of interconnected Saga albums that begun with Full Circle in 1999 and continued with House Of Cards in 2001. These three albums all harked back to the band's earliest days and all featured (an updated version of) the paradigmatic insect on the sleeve. The latter is here portrayed as a kind of modern-day comic book superhero which suits the band's image perfectly. These three albums also featured chapters 9 through 16 of "the chapters" song cycle (that was originally started with the band's debut album in 1978 and continued on the next three albums to then be laid to rest for nearly 20 years before it was resurrected on the Full Circle album). Like the previous House Of Cards, Marathon is a very typical Saga album. All of the band's trademarks are here: the distinctive vocals of Michael Sadler, the characteristic "pompous" guitar and keyboard sound, the usual clean production, the archetypal catchy melodies, the reoccuring cheesy lyrics, the habitual progressive touches, the aforementioned emblematic insect on the sleeve, further "chapters", and so on. Marathon is another good Saga album, but after House Of Cards it does sound like more of the same. It is not like they sound uninspired here, not at all. It is just that this album adds very little of value to what they already gave us on the previous album. These are both good albums, but this "marathon" of good albums was bound to start sounding formulaic and samey at some point. Thankfully, the band would continue to make good and even great albums until the present day.

Every Saga fan probably needed to hear the 16th and final chapter in the Saga that begun all the way back in 1978. Interestingly the final chapter is named after one of the band's most well-known classic albums - Worlds Apart. The song is a worthy album closer as well as a worthy closing song of the long song cycle, but like the album as a whole, it sounds a bit like more of the same. In 2005 a live album was released featuring all 16 chapters (old and new) in their numerical order.

Marathon is a good, but formulaic Saga album. Fans of albums like House Of Cards, Heads Or Tales and Worlds Apart will most certainly enjoy it (as I do), but I doubt that it will take anybody by storm. Still, this album is better than most things Saga did in the 80's and 90's.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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