Title - 'Sagacity' (Eagle Records)
Artist - SAGA
The Canadian prog rockers SAGA (Michael Sadler - vocals; Ian Crichton - lead guitar; Jim Crichton - bass, keyboards; Jim Gilmour - keyboards, vocals, clarinet, Mike Thorne - drums, vocals) have just-released a new 2-CD album that manages to keep their known sound, but expands into other modern musical arenas also. Progressional evolution, as they say. Indeed, Sadler himself has said about this album that it “marks a return to many of the signature elements that put Saga on the map at the onset of the band’s career, whilst maintaining a firm grip on the here and now.”
Just so you know before going into this musical masterpiece the word Sagacity is an English expression which stands for wisdom and cleverness! I know, who knew! But, as the band has always incorporated those to factors into their music from day one, well, the band’s philosophy entwines rather nicely with such a word, does it not.
This 2-CD collection contains not only 12 brand new album tracks, but the second disc harbors nine live recordings of their major hits. Recorded live at the SWR1 Rockarena Festival in 2013, thus far it had all remained unreleased - but not now! The first disc of this double album kicks-off with the building energy of ‘Let It Slide,’ a track that encompasses all that is great about SAGA and the way they construct their songs. Complete with massive guitar solos galore that leads us into ’Vital Signs,’ a track that fairly ebbs along more than it pulsates.
Next up is album filler ‘It Doesn’t Matter (Who You Are)’ which is backed by the much better (initial) acoustic guitar flavor of ‘Go With The Flow.’ The fun humor-fused ‘Press 9’ is next and is followed by the frenetic ‘Wake Up’ and then both ‘Don’t Forget To Breathe’ and ‘The Further You Go.’ The epic, free flowing ‘On My Way’ brings their synth and guitar sound to the fore, and also allows for new drummer Mike Thorne to shine too. That is then backed by the 80’s sounding prog of ‘No Two Sides,’ before the first disc is brought to a close with both ‘Luck’ and then the longest track on the new album, ‘I’ll Be.’
The second live disc has a track-listing of: ‘Careful Where You Step,’ ‘Mouse In A Maze,’ ‘You're Not Alone,’ ‘The Cross,’ ‘Scratching The Surface,’ ‘Humble Stance,’ ‘On The Loose,’ ‘Wind Him U’ and then ‘Don't Be Late.’
Coinciding with this album release, SAGA will tour all over Europe on a double headliner tour with Magnum!
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk