Saga in top form
E. Minkovitch | Montreal, Quebec | 06/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album walks a fine line between progressive metal and neo-prog that Saga is best known for. Have no fear though, this is Saga in very fine form and at the top of their technical if not creative powers, every song being at least good or better, although the sound is not traditional Saga from the '80s or from breakthrough albums like Full Circle or House Of Cards. It is heavier, the production is way different, with metal-style guitar dominating the mix on some tracks; the snare for some reason very hard and very much up front; Sadler's voice sounding different, more distant and less dramatic. Overall sound is less processed and more live. Songwriting is of very good quality, quite complex and progressive on most tracks, with a cornucopia of instrumental parts - enough to satisfy the most demanding Saga fan - although it seems not to be as ispired as on other albums: all songs are solid if safe Saga material and none really outstanding. There is less emphasis on the tight keys/drums/guitar interplay, but we are still treated to a couple of keyboard solos and mind-boggling speed passages. Once again, Ian Crighton shows what a monster guitar player he is - his mastery of every fretboard technique is more complete than ever. The package is gorgeous and the booklet interesting and informative, and 5.1 mix is there for the true audiophile, although I admit that it is perfectly useless to me, but for the same price, why not? A definite gem in any Saga collection, although not in the first five Saga albums I would buy. I would recomment getting Trust before Network, it is one of the top Saga albums of all time."