"As with a lot of Saga fans, I have been listening to the band since the day I heard "Careful Where You Step" on CHEZ 106 out of Ottawa in 1980. Those two albums, "Silent Knight" and the one that followed "Worlds Apart" in 1981 were absolutely fantastic and kick started my love of progressive rock. I spun these two albums (on LP at that time) until the needle worn them into audio fuzz.
The albums that followed and ever since have not captured my attention at all. Sure they all "sound" like Saga, but the energy and production just seemed to not be there. I started getting into them again a few years ago but everything I heard was mediocre at best.
Then along comes "The Human Condition"... and I can say that my opinion of this band has been completely renewed. The production, vocals, and musicianship capture the essence of those early albums easily... as if they just picked up where they left off in 1981.
The sound is still Saga, but more of a progressive pop direction, similar to songs from Worlds Apart. Guitar work is more prominent (good!), and the complex soloing and jamming is all there and VERY good. They actually wander into some jazz scales in some sections which makes me wonder if that is the lead singers influence. I like it! The lead singer has a fantastic voice. I would prefer that the harmonies were not mostly 4ths and 5ths.... but thats just me.
On a whole I am very excited about this new direction the band is taking. Anyone disillusioned by post-Worlds Apart Saga should listen to this!!"
Very good sound, and a great new vocalist
Jay E. Brown | Columbus, OH | 07/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The only shortcoming is that there are only 9 songs on this collection. I don't know how a person would only be suffice in looking for one song to stick out; we are talking about Saga here. There still are a few gems on this one. Some heavier Dream Theaterish songs appear, and that is a new twist that does work with the new vocalist. I actually found the drumming to be better than any recent releases by Saga, and that was contrary to other reports that I read. I do have a few favorites on this CD, but it is the whole project that really sounds so good. Maybe your mood will dictate if this is for you at the time, but a relaxing drive with this disc is really enhanced. Keyboards are good, but I would enjoyed one of the solo songs that is many times done; still not worth knocking it down to a 4 star. I would lightly lean towards a 5 star, and that is with the respect of what this band did accomplish in a short time. Very good for prog fans in general. Saga fans may wince, but it did not bother me one bit. I feel they are a little better without Sadler now. Initially I would have given this a 4 star, but several more listens shows that this one really grows on you. That is something to look for! "Now is now", "step inside", and "crown of thorns" are really amazing works; all very different in sound and production."
A new singer, a new direction?
Sandman | Canada | 07/11/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well with the new singer coming in replacing the much loved Michael Sadler, not to many Saga fans thought the band would sound the same and they were right. This band has indeed changed it's sound. It's still a prog offering, buts it's sound is updated and a little more mainstream. The sound quality is excellent and the tunes are solid. The new singer is very talented and has without a doubt put his stamp on the Saga sound.
For all the die hards out there, don't go down the "it'll never be the same" route with this band as the new guy and the rock solid tunes show that Saga is still a band to be reckoned with. This release is very fresh sounding in many ways and yet manages to hold on to the parts of the old band (for lack of a better term) that really bring this new outfit together.
If you ask me, this is one of Saga's better releases lately and deserves at least a spin or two in your cd player before you past judgement.
Give it a chance, it's pretty damn good."
UMBA | France | 08/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think i have the complete Saga work. This one spent some time on the shelf as i feared the band will not survive Michael Sadler's departure.
This is not the Saga i used to know...but this is a brilliant heavy FM prog album, more straightforward, powerful, with a good production (what has so often missed Saga, -i dream of a Saga album produced by Bruce Fairbairn!)
Some songs are strangely sounding like Toto's or Queensryche's....
5 stars! the story goes on!"
Saga - New and Improved!
C. Laine | 02/17/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of Saga since I first saw "Don't Be late" on MTV and went on an immediate Saga spending spree. The Human Condition (like some other reviewers have said here) is a complete departure from the classic Saga sound that have dominated their releases this past decade.
Fans of progressive rock will embrace the new Saga with open arms (and ears!) as I have. These guys are how old? They're rockin' like a 20 something band - I was blown away after the 1st track and was hooked after 2 spins. I loved Sadler's vocals and will always go back to the "original" Saga when in the mood, but the new Saga leaves me wanting more...much more."