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Saga - The Security Of Illusion CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.51 | 132 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars This album was sadly not what I had expected. It gets a fair bit of praise on this site and is said to be one of the two good albums the band did in the nineties. I really got into Saga earlier this year (2013) and I currently own 10 Saga CDs with another in the mail. So far each album (the first four, Generation 13, Full Circle to Marathon, Trust) have had some songs that I really liked, even Marathon which is my least favourite of the lot. I read the book of Saga's bio and was very interested in hearing "The Security of Illusion". But I was disappointed and surprised that I was.

The opening instrumental is little more than entertainment music and people laughing. "Mind Over Matter" comes in with heavy guitar and quickly sets its pace as a rocker. My thoughts are that this could almost be Dream Theater without the progressive tendencies or a band inspired by late 80's Whitesnake. It's a good hard rock song and as Saga often include commercial-sounding music on their albums, I am not worried yet.

"Once is Never Enough" shows the classic Saga sound appearing in a 1993 context. Jim Gilmour's keyboards do their thing alongside Ian Crichton's fancy fretwork. The modern sound doesn't sound quite so modern though as I find myself thinking that this song could have been done a few years earlier and been up-to-date at that time.

I am quite turned off by "Alone Again Tonight", an adult contemporary ballad that would be better suited on another band's album. The first time I heard it, I listened in hopes of finding something magical. The second time I heard it I felt compelled to skip it as either the song or the coffee I had just drunk was making my stomach literally feel uncomfortable. I kept my finger off the skip button though and concluded that Michael Saddler is one heck of a good singer. This song could have spent a week or two on the adult contemporary charts. But it's really not what I want to listen to.

We're back to a hard rock number with "I'll Leave it in Your Hands" and by now I am imagining how Joe Lynn Turner or David Coverdale would sound singing this because it sounds like Whitesnake's late 80's commercial numbers or a band called Sunstorm that did an album with Joe Lynn Turner on vocals. This is like Swedish hair metal.

The title track gives a bit of hope that Saga will make a return and it's not a bad song. If at least one more Saga-like song had shown up between this one and "Once is Never Enough" I might have had hopes for this album.

But no. "Stand Up" is another synth-backed hard rock song and by now I am starting to see how Saga could be confused with an 80's hair band outfit that had a hit or two and faded out.

"Days Like These" is who singing? One of the brothers? It's not too bad but again another stadium rock number with a loud chorus. The instrumental "Voila!" at least gives Jim Gilmour a chance to do something because he's been mostly filling in the background until now. On the car stereo this sounds alright but in the earbuds it sounds too loudly overproduced. It's like this was supposed to be a rock out album and even the piano and synthesizer instrumental has to be loud.

"No Man's Land" is introduced by a tribal-like stadium rock drum pattern (Are ya ready for some football?!!!) but the steady 4/4 drumming that is on almost every song it seems comes in. I almost thought this might be an enjoyable song after the first listen but after the second time I changed my mind. The song concludes with more of the opening tracks sounds and music.

I'm not sure what happened here. It sounds to me more like Mike and the brothers decided to try to do a hard rock album and were joined last minute by Gilmour and Negus who just filled in drum and synth tracks. It reminds me of "Seventh Star" by Black Sabbath (featuring Tony Iommi) which was supposed to be Iommi's solo project but was called Black Sabbath in order to sell more copies or the Cinema album that got changed to a Yes album because near the end there were four former Yes members in the band. This is not the exciting reunion album I had expected. This is late 80's Swedish hair metal like Europe or like TNT (wherever they were from).

I'd love to give this album 3 stars and say it's still a good album, though not one of their best. However, this is only 3 stars as a hard rock hair band album. I might have loved this in 1987 or 88 but not now and not knowing that it is Saga. As for any sign of progressive rock, it's nearly null. With a heavy heart, I give two stars. Thankfully, "Generation 13", which I got a couple of days before this, totally wowed me.

FragileKings | 2/5 |


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