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Saga - Marathon CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.28 | 117 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I am of the opinion that Michael Sadler is one of the premier vocalists in progressive rock in the vein of Jon Anderson and John Wetton as much of an acquired taste is he. However, from 1993's "The Security Of illusion" all the way up to 2001's "House Of Cards", Michael Sadler developed an irritating vocal delivery that was drawn out and breathy which made it extremely difficult for this listener to get through those Saga albums from that time period. Call it the "Bono-syndrome" or whatever. Saga was slowly losing me as a fan and creeping me out at the same time.

Enter the album "Marathon" in 2003 and it's as though Sadler sowed his wild oats with that past experiment. Michael Sadler sounds assertive and in charge of the vocal duties here. Gone is the drawn out and irritating breathy vocals. His vocal style harkens back to "World's Apart/Heads Or Tales", although a tad more aggressive. Ian Crichton on guitar is at the top of his game and Steve Negus has never been more impressive on the drum kit. This is an album that is not quite immediate as others, but over repeated listens is quite rewarding. The big highlight is the 2nd track "How Are You?" and track #7 "Return To Forever" where Saga show off their chops(not unlike the jam in Humble Stance of yesteryears).

This whole "Marathon" album is solid and a great new chapter in Saga history. It would appeal to listeners curious of Progressive Metal without many of its cliches. A great hybrid of symphonic, eclectic/quirky melodies(slight Gentle Giant-isms) and hard progressive rock in a Steve Morse/Dream Theater style. Bands like Queensryche and Rush should take note of what Saga is doing here. Saga earns the title of progressive rock in the 2000s, whereas the 'ryche and Rush might make a modern prog.rock album if we quit calling them progressive rock.

Recommended for Saga fans that had lost touch with them around the "Behaviour/Wildest Dreams" albums. Keyboards-a-plenty too! No hits. Just SAGA!

Gooner | 4/5 |


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