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Saga: Trust

Canadian prog rockers Saga have been around for nearly 30 years, and Trust is their brand new album that sees them both perfecting their established sound and adding in new elements. The result is an album rich in melody and dynamic in production. Michael Sadler's vocals are incredible; the man seems to get better and better, while Jim Gilmour absolutely steals the show on keyboards and backing vocals. It's been a long time since he pulled out so many varied sounds out of his keyboard, opting for expressive atmospherics and some of his finest lead work in years.

Joining the band is new drummer Brian Doerner, who does a great job on the melodically driven "Back to the Shadows", which touches on AOR, pop, rock, and even the band's earlier prog releases, with excellently performed multi-vocal harmonies, both guitar and synth solos, and millions of keyboard-generated melodies overdubbed by three of the five members. The piano playing on "I'm OK" is agile and finds Saga going back to their earlier symphonic roots, highlighting Sadler's brilliant vocals. The guitar work on this song recalls Neal Schon on the first Journey album, utilising lots of tapping harmonics that are surrounded by sweet synth tones.

There is so much diversity here. The intense sound effects on "That's As Far As I'll Go"; the blues licks on "Time to Play"; the ballady acoustic number "My Friend" (complete with woodwind players); or the retro-prog heard on "On the Other Side" all contain elements that would normally never be combined on prog albums. But it's the Saga guys' years of experience and ear for melody and arrangement that blends everything together, where heavy, rumbling bass lines are juxtaposed with AOR-tinged vocals, acoustic interludes, and staggering interplay between guitars and keyboards. Aside from these easy-listening yet quite complex numbers, the band also rocks out on the catchy "It's Your Life", marked by a huge chorus that will make for a great live song. "Footsteps in the Hall" is the band's shining moment, as they play at least half a dozen synth melodies interacting with each other, extracting all kinds of sounds and tones, and soloing magically into the stratosphere, yet doing it all without overplaying.

Feel free to add Trust to Saga's consistent back catalog. It's a gem. Also note that the limited edition of the album comes with a DVD of the making of the album.

Track Listing

  1. That's As Far As I'll Go
  2. Back to the Shadows
  3. I'm OK
  4. Time to Play
  5. My Friend
  6. Trust
  7. It's Your Life
  8. Footsteps in the Hall
  9. Ice in the Rain
  10. You Were Right
  11. On the Other Side

Added: April 19th 2006
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Saga website
Hits: 5399
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Saga: Trust
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-04-19 16:19:18
My Score:

If the opening keyboard and guitar riffs of "That's As Far As I'll Go" are any indication, Canadian prog-rockers Saga are back with a vengeance on their latest album Trust, their first studio effort for InsideOut Music. Fans of Saga's early 80's material will love the return to more symphonic, keyboard heavy arrangements here, and combined with Ian Crichton's muscular guitar work, Michael Sadler's always amazing vocal delivery, and the talents of new drummer Brian Doerner, Trust is easily one of the strongest Saga albums in years.

Jim Gilmour recently wowed prog rock fans with his solo album Great Escape, and his keyboard artistry continues to dominate here on Trust. With Gilmour and Sadler's arsenal of synths coupled up with Crichton's nimble guitar runs on "Back to the Shadows", you get a heavy but quirky little progressive hard rock gem, while "I'm OK" sees layers of vocals from Sadler and the band, along with majestic piano, again recalling the bands earlier output. Other hot tracks include the acoustic based melancholy of "My Friend", the all-out catchy symphonic prog of the title track, the bubbling and complex "It's Your Life" (complete with hot guitar work and a catchy hook), and the arena rock one-two punch of "Ice in the Rain" and "You Were Right".

Ultimately, there's not a weak track here, and if you have always loved Saga's mix of prog, AOR, and metallic hard rock, this will be a very enjoyable album for you. There's the trademark Saga hooks all over the place, as well as the tricky instrumental interplay we have all come to love about the bands music. Plus, Michael Sadler once again shows that he only gets better with age. Very impressive stuff once again from one of the classiest bands around.

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