SAGA


"Trust" (Insideout Records; 2006)

Reviewed by Edwin Van Hoof

Canadian melodic proggies Saga strike again! Being a carrier of the flame for the genre for many years, the band, centered around the charismatic Michael Sadler and the Crichton brothers, delivers their 17th studio album in a career that spans 30 years. Though Saga have always stayed true to their unique sound, the quintet has managed to drift all over the musical landscape, capturing influences and moods from around the globe and from every genre possible -- from the melodic AOR era with (the underrated) “Wildest Dreams” all the way to the metallic soundscapes on “Steel Umbrellas." Lately, however, Saga has revived the sound of their first highly acclaimed and highly successful records.

“Trust” offers the massive keyboard sound, in combination with the blistering, razor-sharp guitar playing of virtuoso Ian Crichton, over the innovative and agile playing of the band’s rhythm section (with new drummer Brian Doerner) and still captures the imagination of many fans world wide. Without doubt, these ingredients and Sadler's warm and powerful voice, are the trademark of Saga. A sound truly unique! 

And still, the Canucks throw in some twists and surprises like the folk tones in “On the Other Side.” The keyboard-pumped opener “That’s As Far As I’ll Go” breaks the ice with its raging keyboards and lightning fast (if brief) guitar solo. The choirs are massive and the lyrics in line with the band’s neo classical background. “Back To The Shadows” and “I’m OK” again consist of the hoped for Saga ingredients, especially the multi-layered vocals and choirs which are finger licking delicious on these tracks. “Time To Play” is slightly more hectic and has a futuristic undertone with rap-like vocals. “My Friend” (complete with wood-wind players!) is an intimate moment with an acoustic intro and colorful warm singing of Sadler. It is reminiscent to the band's fragile masterpiece “No Regrets” which it equals in warmth and emotion to unload some sheer prog power in the following title track.

“It’s Your Life” bears the “Silent Knight” mark with its powerful, bombastic keyboards and ‘bitchy’ guitar riffing. Crichton’s unique staccato playing is fast, furious and crystal clear. Unheard elsewhere! “Footsteps In The Hall” and “Ice In The Rain” offer some more sheer power prog, bursting into “You Were Right” which is more furious and built around a strong riff and ear tingling refrain. 

The previously mentioned “On The Other Side” is a treat for spoiled Saga addicts. The Irish sounding folk intro and melancholic undertone sweep us back to the merry-go-round days of our childhood. The interaction between organ, guitar, synth bass and vibraphone arpeggio stirs up their sound slightly, to re-embark onto solid ground with the huge melodies and choirs of classic Saga.

The course set thirty years ago leads the Canucks to “Trust.” Trust. The word used in various, varying situations from painful, frustrating or hopeful, covering our most intimate thoughts and feelings. Perhaps it is that word that Saga uses to regain the trust of their fans; I don’t know. This I do know: This again is a multi-faceted and gripping melodic powerful prog release from the Canadian masters.

“Trust” simply adds to the Saga catalog without stirring up the basics. 

The Limited Edition Digipack edition includes a bonus DVD.

Saga: Michael Sadler – vocals, keyboards, bass; Jim Gilmour – keyboards and vocals; Ian Crichton - guitars; Jim Crichton – bass & keyboards; Brian Doerner - drums.

For more information, check out http://www.sagaontour.com


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright © 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05 Nov 2017 10:28:12 -0500.