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Saga - Marathon CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.28 | 117 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars There aren't too many prog bands from Canada, certainly not with the history behind them like Saga who released their debut album some twenty-five years ago. Three of the current line-up played on that album, with lead keyboard player Jim Gilmour joining in 1981. While it is his links in with guitarist Ian Crichton and bassist/keys Jim Crichton that provide the musical heart of the band it is also singer/keyboard player Michael Sadler that gives the band their most distinctive sound. There are not many rock bands that utilise as many keyboard players as these guys, but strangely the focus is on providing good strong rock with melodic hooks as opposed to an out and out keyboard blast.

They can probably also lay claim to producing the longest ever concept album, in that 'chapters' are still appearing as they did on the first album, although of course they are never in sequence. This album sees the appearance of chapters 14, 12 and 16. The opening title cut is a blast from start to finish, and it is only the tongue in cheek lyrics that let it down (pronouncing "Marathon" to rhyme with "Avalon"). They may drift a little on the slower numbers but on songs such as "Hands Up" it sounds as if the Eighties have never been away as they mix pomp and prog in a way that is undoubtedly their very own.

They may appeal to keyboard oriented for melodic rockers, or possibly too AOR for progheads but for those who can work their way past the labels and just enjoy the music there is plenty of strong stuff here to be heard.

Originally appeared in Feedback #73, Jun 03

kev rowland | 3/5 |


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