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Saga: Sagacity

Sagacity marks the 22nd studio release in Canadian progressive rock act Saga's long, illustrious career that now spans 36 years. With founding vocalist Michael Sadler back in the fold since 2012's 20/20, the band once again shows no signs of slowing down, as Sagacity once again delivers their brand of hook laden, powerful prog-rock.

Catchy melodies, soaring keyboards, and crunchy, virtuoso guitar work have always been the trademark of the Saga sound, and that consistent approach is heard throughout the 12 songs on Sagacity. Opener "Let It Slide" is instantly memorable, Sadler's charming vocal sitting atop some sizzling riffs from Ian Crichton and Jim Gilmour's array of keyboard textures. "Vital Signs" rocks quite hard, while "It Doesn't Matter (Who You Are)" takes a mellower stance with Gilmour on vocals, but contains a scorching Crichton guitar solo. "Go With the Flow" is another hard rocker with a symphonic flair, as Crichton's energetic electric guitar riffs and gentle acoustic picking weave around Gilmour's dramatic keyboard orchestrations. It's one of the best tunes on the CD, and sure to be a hit with longtime fans. The band adds some heavy industrial metal elements on the wild "Wake Up", and again bring out the headbanging attack throughout "Don't Forget to Breathe", Crichton's guitar riffs front and center. Symphonic prog returns on the engaging, keyboard driven "The Further You Go", complete with a lovely vocal from Sadler, and the singer also shines on the melodic "On My Way", a real catchy piece that could show Asia a thing or two about how to create a hook laden pop song but still retain enough proggy tendencies to keep genre fans happy. "No Two Sides" is classic Saga, with bubbling synths and crisp riffs supporting Sadler's quirky vocal lines, and "I'll Be" perhaps pushes the prog-rock buttons more than any other on the CD, as deft acoustic guitar patterns and lovely keyboards soak up the dreamy vocals from Sadler, the whole band swirling all sorts of engaging goodness before Crichton busts in with some crunch-o-rama and blistering lead guitar solos.

The 2CD set comes with a bonus disc with 9 live songs from the SWR1 Rockarena festival in 2013. Including are stellar versions of classic tunes "Careful Where You Step", "On the Loose", "Wind Him Up", "Don't Be Late", "Humble Stance", "You're Not Alone"...yep, mandatory Safari classics every one, and played to perfection. This is a lethal live band, and if you haven't heard any of their excellent and numerous live albums, this little taste will absolutely thrill you.

It's almost astounding just how consistent Saga has been throughout their career. Sagacity is another in a fine line of melodic progressive rock albums from the band, one that also ups the heaviness factor quite a bit thanks to some supreme guitar work courtesy of Ian Crichton, easily one of the most underrated players in rock. There seems to be no slowing this Canadian force down, and that's quite alright with me.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
Let It Slide
Vital Signs
It Doesn't Matter (Who You Are)
Go With The Flow
Press 9
Wake Up
Don't Forget To Breathe
The Further You Go
On My Way
No Two Sides
I'll Be

Careful Where You Sleep
Mouse In A Maze
You're Not Alone
The Cross
Scratching The Surface
Humble Stance
On The Loose
Wind Him Up
Don't Be Late

Added: August 1st 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2679
Language: english

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