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Saga - 20/20 CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.28 | 108 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars For the previous album released in 2009, "The Human Condition", Michael Sadler had retired as vocalist and that album was the only album in their discography that had a different vocalist. The band ended up sounding a bit heavier for that album, and it worked okay, but there was still some room to grow. Well, that line-up never got that chance, because by the time their next album "20/20" came out in 2012, Sadler had come out of retirement and the well-known line-up had returned. So did this mean that the band would pick up where they left off or would they choose to go with the heavier sound? Well, the answer is basically "no" to both.

Even though Brian Doerner would play the drums on this album, he left the band at the first part of the same year. But as far as this album was concerned, it was the same line up that had been there before Sadler's short retirement. The sound on this album lightens up compared to "The Human Condition", however, instead of a complete return to their previous style, they changed things up a bit. For one thing, the band started using multi-layered vocalizations, mostly by layering Sadler's vocals, which gave portions of the album a more "lush" feeling. The band also decided to pare back the progressive sound, but not quite to the extent that it was in the 80's for the most part.

The album starts off well enough with what is probably the best track on the album "Six Feet Under". It climbs from a somewhat lush beginning to a nice solid track, somewhat unique from previous sounds from the band, but its obvious right away that Sadler is back. It's a great starter and enough to get the old fans excited again especially with some killer guitar passages. "Anywhere You Want to Go" steps back a bit from that heavier sound and allows the keyboards to breathe a little bit, but is a tad less interesting. From there, the album continues to step down as the songs become more pop-oriented, less progressive and less interesting. The multi-layered vocal sections start to get to sounding to much the same and the melodies tend to get less interesting. It's not until way into the 2nd half of the album that you get a decent and emotional track with "Lost for Words" which has almost operatic vocals from Sadler in his best performance on the album. The instrumentals through the album are also okay, but are often not given enough time to develop into much. The last track is the longest on the album at over 6 minutes, and you would expect something pretty amazing, but you don't really get it.

So, everyone had high hopes with the return of Sadler, but ended up being a bit disappointed in the end. By the time you add up the quality of the music and everything, the album ends up not being any better or worse than "The Human Condition" even though they are quite different in sound from each other. "20/20" ends up just being another average sounding album and Saga had definitely done better than this, but at least it wasn't a complete failure.

TCat | 3/5 |


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