2004 album for the Canadian prog-band. Steamhammer.
Best Progressive Rock right now
Carlos M. Camunas | San Juan, Puerto Rico | 02/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Incredible , this new cd from this canadian band is really fantastic. I have been a fan of SAGA since 1979 with the release of their first album a new era in progressive rock music was born. Nobody I have heard in my 50 years of existence has the incredible sound of this group. And now with this new album they sound better than ever. Michael Sadler's voice is better than ever and these new compositions show the world what being creative in music really means. Guitar and keyboards are completely incredible, Ian Crichton guitar does what nobody even tries - play good creative rock music. After hearing this new album I have to say RAP music must die. Hail to real good musicians..."
The best get better
Stringfellow | NY | 11/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It saddens me to know that so many people out there have not had the blissful pleasure of hearing SAGA.This band has put together incredible music for over 20 years and still to this day reign as the best band in the world. Many bands fade after just a few years, but this band does not...they truly get better with age like a fine wine (...).I am a musician and I must say that any true guitar player or fan of music will learn and easily agree that Ian Crichton(guitar) is unmistakably the BEST guitar player this planet has ever seen. He is SO underated that it is not justifiably fair that Ian is not heard by the world, much less noticed by the world.A man(Ian) that makes the guitar cry as well as bellow in anger should never be missed. Michael Sadler sounds as good now as he always had. His vocals are tender yet straight forward. His penmanship is as always...superb. Jim Crichton caresses his bass while pounding out sounds that makes you feel his voice.Jim Gilmour embrasses the band as a whole and keeps them high above an bland sound with his keyboards. The new member (and only non original member)to the band is Christian Simpson. His rawness superbly accents the bands sound. He pounds the drums when needed and meticulously keeps the pace at all costs. This newest album by Saga...'Network' comes at you hard and fast. Their best work ever ...but, you can say that about all their past albums. This one rocks and I mean ROCKS! Hard edged, hard hitting and yet, emotional...true to Saga as a whole. this album is better than anything you will hear on the radio or anywhere for that matter., this one has it all!!!! If you do not get this album or ever hear a Saga album, you are depriving yourself of music from heaven."
SAGA KEEPING IT REEL
Jason M. Carzon | bowie, maryland United States | 02/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Canadian rockers Saga have been an honest working band who haves never really gone away and continue to release studio albums every other year or so. A band always there with new material is always in danger of repeating themselves or stepping sideways out of fear of repeating themselves, and saga themselves have done both a few times. But this, 2004's 'Network', is a pretty solid effort with a lot of memorable moments, Despite a pretty raw sounding mix. Saga were going for a more 'organic' rock sound- analogue recording- and a more 'live' vibe. The drums in particular are a little murky. However, the playing is pretty solid. Saga fans will notice the absence of underrated original drummer Steve Negus, who had left the band. His replacement, Christian Simpson, is no slouch. A 'meaty'-sounding drummer, Simpson proves to be worthy to play in Negus' stead. So if you can look past the drum mix, you'll find Saga are still consistent in the drum department.
'Network' is an energetic disc, where heavy guitars, vintage synths and Michael's Sadler's distinct powerful vocals run you over like a train. The first three tracks in particular suckerpunch you and leave you for dead. There is a heavier edge to NETWORK this time, and no 'Chapters'. Having been recording and touring since 1978, at this stage in their career Saga probably have no grand plan on ruling the world and are content to focus their energies on the areas where they are the most successful(Europe, and Germany in particular). Some may say the last three or four albums have been 'Saga-by-numbers', but with NETWORK, they at least have solid ammunition and do what they do well. They sometimes play with their past a little in loving jest(the voice of 'Sam' from their 1995 concept album 'GENERATION 13' introduces the album). For those who want a little familiarity when they buy a record by one of their old favorite bands, Saga rarely disappoint.
NETWORK seems to have a semi-conceptual thread running through some of it dealing with the news, reality TV, and our generally information starved society. The songs:
ON THE AIR: synth opens the track in a 'prog-rock' style, which goes through many changes and themes. Jim Gilmour provides some 'Lamb Lies Down On Broadway' type key patterns.
KEEP IT REEL: a crunching rocker where Ian Crichton gets to strut his guitar-strangling talents. The synth sounds like an air raid siren. Drums knock you back too.
I'M BACK: the pace doesn't let up, as this driving anthem about new beginnings and new leases on life follows. The sound is unmistakeably Saga, and one of their best on the 2000's.
IF I WERE YOU: One of the album's balads which provides contrast from the first three powerhouses. Acoustic guitar, synths and soft backing vocals bring to mind some of Saga's 90's material.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: another softer track with soulful vocals and somewhat progressive middle bit.
DON'T LOOK NOW: a Saga-by-numbers heavier cut with piano and familiar Saga lyrical matter, self motivation.
LIVE AT FIVE: chunky guitar, hovering synths, true Saga.
BACK WHERE WE STARTED: keyboardist Jim Gilmour manages to sing a song per album sometimes, and on here he also provides some nice soloing as well, something often lacking with Saga. He doesn't usually do too many synth solos. Anyone interested in Jim's playing should also pick up his proggy new solo album 'Great Escape' as well.
BELIEVE: Sadler's tortured vocals drive home this somewhat sad sounding, moody anthem in a neo-prog direction of bands like ARENA. Brings to mind maybe 'Chapter One: Images' from the second album.
DON'T MAKE A SOUND: powerful, edgy and dramatic, in the tradition of perfect Saga album closers like TIRED WORLD or GOODBYE(ONCE UPON A TIME). This one was made for the stage. Gilmour's electric piano gives way to guitar crunch, a chanting middle part, and even new guy Christian Simpson gets in on the act with a semi-solo.
If you haven't heard Saga for a while, NETWORK is a good album to come back on board with.
Definitely the best of their recent efforts
A fan from Meriden, CT | 02/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I FINALLY got a copy of Network over the weekend, and while I'll stop short of saying it's their best ever (Silent Knight, World's Apart, Heads or Tales & my personal fave Generation 13 still rule) it is an impressive effort. There's plenty of breakdown of the individual tracks in the other reviews, so I'll hold off on that. But I haven't seen anyone commenting on the Bonus DVD with the 5.1 Surround mix of the disc. Maybe no-one else has it ? Anyway, it's REALLY well done. The full surround effect is immeadiately noticeable the second it starts, and since it's a DVD, there's accompanying video to go along with it. This takes the form of a TV (the graphics on the disc's cover) displaying the lyrics of each song, along with video to accompany the instrumental breaks. A very nice touch & definitely a welcome update to static lyric sheets. I hope this trend continues, both with subsequent Saga releases as well as spreading to other bands."
One of SAGA's Best
Darryl Forest | 01/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of SAGA for over 20 yrs and I have almost everything they have produced. NETWORK is an exemplary album...it easily rivals Worlds Apart or Silent Knight. On the Air Tonite" is simply awesome..it changes from one sound to the next and one beat to the next, with great lyrics...every song on the album is strong. I.m long time fan of Steve Negus, but Christian Simpson holds his own on the drums. It is a shame that SAGA doesn't get the credit they deserve...they are simply levels above the so-called groups(Linkin Park... bleech) these days with musicianship and songwriting."