Saga - 20/20 review


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Band: Saga
Album: 20/20
Release date: July 2012

01. Six Feet Under
02. Anywhere You Wanna Go
03. Ellery
04. Spin It Again
05. Another Day Out Of Sight
06. One Of These Days
07. Ball And Chain
08. Lost For Words
09. Show And Tell
10. Till The Well Runs Dry

Saga's most recent album, entitled 20/20 marks the return of iconic vocalist Michael Sadler to "his" band. The musical direction is the same of previous albums dating from 1999 onwards. Ever since Full Circle, excluding the great The Human Condition, the band has maintained a constant musical direction that is very close to the sound of this album. The Human Condition itself is way heavier and progressive, personally I consider it the heaviest album ever made by this iconic band and it's definitely different from the albums that were released since 1999 with Sadler, it was a new breeze in the band's discography. With 20/20 the group returned to a more artistic and melodic sound that has been traditional in recent albums with Michael Sadler.

Although the album rating is rather low, don't get me wrong, I don't consider this album a bad one, I just consider it weaker than previous albums dating from 1999 that marked a change in the band's musical direction after a more radio-friendly musical style that started in 1985 with Behaviour. 20/20 is definitely a break-up with the progressive sound and heaviness that the band was able to play with Rob Moratti in the 2009 album release. It's different than Saga's previous album, and it doesn't bring good news. The new album is worse in quality than I expected; generally it contains some good moments with songs like "Six Feet Under", "Spin It Again" or "Ball And Chain". In terms of production, this album presents a good sound engineering with no critical mistakes. Technically it contains great moments, mainly Ian Crichton's magical guitar playing, putting definitely this performance as one of the best of his career with some outstanding riffs and sick guitar solos, if you don't believe me just listen to "Six Feet Under", "Spin It Again" or "Another Day Out Of Sight". The drum section also does a great job, giving a great notion of rhythm and melody. The magical keyboards make an exquisite pair with Sadler's voice and Jim Crichton's bass puts this album together with great progressive moments in "Spin It Again" or "Anywhere You Wanna Go". Finally Michael Sadler's voice is in top shape, delivering some amazing vocal performances. His perfect performances are no surprise: I read once on a website that vocally he might be compared with Freddie Mercury and Robert Plant. The analogy, despite being quite fancy and refined, with the passing of the years that I have been listening Saga, I tend more and more to agree with that statement. He's such an iconic singer! I listened to this album over and over again, but still I don't find it a classic, actually, I think it will never be a Saga classic. Although I give big praise to the technical side of the album, in terms of song content it's not "my cup of tea". Despite containing good moments the album ends up boring me because it doesn't present anything new compared to their more recent years with Michael Sadler. Lyrically, the band presents a competent job in general, mainly with "Till The Well Runs Dry", "Spin It Again" or "Six Feet Under".

I truly feel that it won't be a classic, though it has its moments. My low rating is given due to expectation: I expected a progressive, heavy and somehow different album than this. I don't feel Saga lost their talent, I just feel this wasn't a job well done. They are one of my favorites and are definitely one of the most competent and credible musical minds of the last 30 years. Over the years I have learned to respect their work, and acknowledging their position in the progressive world, I don't feel they are underrated I just feel they are different and more sophisticated musically. Their discography is so rich and fulfilling, 20/20 isn't perfect but it is not crap either, it can be added to any progressive rock fan's collection. Sooner or later they will present us with a very good album, although I don't feel 20/20 is that album. They have not lost their edge, despite knowing they have not made for many years epics such as Silent Knight, Worlds Apart or Generation 13, I know they will be back with some "over the top" record to enrich their discography. They are one of the few bands that have been improving their technique, trying to present something new with every album.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 5
Production: 8

Written by AndMetalForAll | 27.11.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


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17.03.2013 - 00:10


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