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Saga - House Of Cards CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.54 | 157 ratings

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4 stars Saga Discography to this point: (My ratings)

The Foundational First Four - 1978-1981: Saga, Images At Twilight, Silent Knight, World's Apart

The Falling Flat Four - 1982-1991: Heads Or Tales, Behaviour, Wildest Dreams, The Beginners Guide to Throwing Shapes

The Up And Down 5 - Security Of Illusion UP, Steel Umbrellas DOWN, Generation 13 WAY UP, Pleasure & The Pain DOWN, Full Circle UP (Sort Of)

Saga has been through a wild ride over the years and can confuse people on what genre of music they play. Many say they are not prog, some say sort of prog but very few ever say definite prog. They killed all doubt with the release of the amazing rock opera concept "Generation 13" but they went back to mediocre after that. After a slight come back with "Full Circle" and a return to using their old bug mascot and the Chapters it was refreshing to see that they came out next with this good entry. This album really does what the last should have: Come Full Circle back to form. They are closing in on the end of the classic lineup as they would be losing Steve Negus (drums) after the next album, "Marathon" which was like "Full Circle" in that it has a few good songs but isn't tremendous.

The Chapters are songs that appeared on the first 4 albums and they emerged again along with their old mascot, the bug on the last album. The band revealed these over a 28-year period in a mixed-up order, creating a conceptual puzzle. In its final form, The Chapters tells a science fiction story concerning the preservation of Albert Einstein's brain, aliens who are concerned with humanity's self-destruction, and the resurrection of the dead through technology. We have chapters 11 & 15 on this album. Being that I started listening to them early on, this story on the chapters was not ever revealed until after they were done presenting the songs so if you are looking for the meaning I recommend their live album titled none other than "The Chapters."

"House Of Cards" is an album that harkens to the days of old in the structure and originality of the songs. There are strong hooks throughout the record and many songs are very good. My biggest pick is "Ashes To Ashes (Chapter 11)". The melody and guitar work is amazing and Jim Gilmour's keys are a great asset. "Money Talks" and "House Of Cards" are good as well. "We'll Meet Again" sounds a lot like songs from their early years. "That's How We Like IT" is another great solid song. "So Good So Far" has Sadler singing like he did on "Gen 13". The production quality is fantastic which is one thing they have improved on from their beginnings. You hear everything well and the arrangements and sound are tight. Ian Crichton who is one of the most criminally underrated guitarist of all time is in form on this album. It is sad that players like him are passed over with "Ian who?". Watching him play live is a treat as he makes it look so easy. He rips riffs and crunches mass numbers of notes in no time at all. While many guitarists use the tapping method to rip fast runs, Ian doesn't need to.

Conversely Jim Gilmour is right up there with the best keyboardists and to this day he is good. Saga will always be a band that deserves to be recognized but never will be. The R&R Hall Of Shame (Which is what it should be called) takes in some of the most derelict one hit wonders and ignores bands that are amazing like Kansas and others who have put in the time and work and have actual musical talent. It took eons to get yes and Rush inducted. Well Saga will not get there in my lifetime or theirs for that matter.

But I digress??. This album is a great come back to form album that is not great in all places but great where it counts. This is their best in years (minus Gen 13).

Sidscrat | 4/5 |


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