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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


10,000 Days

Review by Gary Hill

This CD should please long time fans of Saga. There’s not really a lot of surprises here, the disc feels like classic music from the band, but when it’s this good, who cares? Really there are no clunkers to be found on the disc and the vast majority sits well past the “very good” range. This is a hard rocking piece of catchy prog like only Saga can produce. If you’ve ever liked this band, you really need to pick this one up. You won’t be disappointed.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 6 at
Track by Track Review
A jazzy keyboard line leads the festivities off here. As this grows with other waves of keyboards it becomes a little chaotic and strange. They drop it back into a hard rocking jam that’s classic Saga for the song proper. They move between the verse and chorus sections with this feeling like it could have come from any of the vintage Saga disc. As it drops down for the sedate keyboard segment it’s also a trademark slice of the band’s sound. This gives way to an instrumental break that is at first rather jazzy, but then shifts into more vintage rock sounds. They work through a number of variations and reiterations on this approach as they move forward. A soaring guitar solo is one of my favorite segments here. Another tasty keyboard segment, albeit rather understated, serves to end the piece.
Book of Lies
Sounds like a pick dragged across a guitar bridge is the first thing we hear on this one. Then it powers out into a hard rocking jam that serves for the verse. At the end of that section of vocals they turn it into a swirling (more proggy jam). This then gives way to the chorus and the pattern of alternating verse and chorus (with bridge) takes over from there. The odd tones that lead things off take it mid-track and then they shift it out into a killer (rather Satriani-like) jam. The guitar soloing on this is especially tasty, as is the overall arrangement. They eventually make their way back to the song proper from there, rounding things out nicely.
The wandering sort of jam that leads this off reminds me a bit of some of the angular lines that Steve Howe produces. It drops into a catchier jam that’s very recognizable as Saga. This is actually one of the most effective songs. It just sort of grabs you. That’s actually quite an accomplishment because nothing on the disc is weak. “Sideways” just manages to go the extra distance and stand out above and beyond the rest. The instrumental section that comes out in the middle of this feels a bit like Yes at times, too. They return to the song proper before moving it out into a keyboard solo that has definite Rick Wakeman tendencies.
Can't You See Me Now?
A harder rocking, more straightforward sound starts things here. While this number is (in terms of the central song structure) a bit lacking compared to the other music presented here, the instrumental segment more than makes up for it. The swirling lines that call to mind Pentwater and King Crimson quite a bit are exceptional. Challenging and very cool, it might be the best passage of the whole disc. If any song needed a lift, this would be it. The main structure (although it gets quite evocative in the reiteration after the instrumental segment) comes across as a bit pedestrian compared to the rest of the music here.
This instrumental leads off with keyboards. Then they stomp out into a fast paced, off-kilter jam that reminds me a bit of Liquid Tension Experiment. This moves through a number of twists and turns in a killer jam that makes it one of the best pieces on show here. It turns to a Celtic rocker later and then drops to a prog ballad meets fusion approach. We get a number of shifts and changes from there and also some major instrumental pyrotechnics here and there. It just keeps reinventing itself and moves from one mood and motif to another with ease. This might well be my favorite number on the disc.
More Than I Deserve
This piece is more of a prog rock ballad, perhaps a bit in the vein of Alan Parsons at times. It moves more out into Satriani-like territory later. The Parsons textures come back later in a powered up approach. This is an effective and potent piece of music, but not necessarily a standout.
Sound Advice
Here we get vintage Saga in the form of a modern tune that feels like it could have come from the classic era of the band. This is a strong (albeit perhaps a bit predictable) piece. The instrumental jam later in the track is stellar.
10,000 Days
Keyboards lead this off, and then they move it out into a more guitar driven ballad. This is pretty and gets quite strong when they work it out into the more powerful chorus. This is one of the numbers that just keeps building and rising from the main song structures that create its backbone. While I wouldn’t consider it to be a highlight of the disc, it’s far from a clunker, too. The cool prog instrumental break is a nice touch, though. The pretty keyboard melody that ends it is strong, too.
It Never Ends
How's that for an ironic title for the final track on a CD? This rocker, (with its swirling keys meet hard rocking guitar intro) really feels like it could have come from the band’s Worlds Apart disc. This gets some more Satriani-like treatments and some dramatic, musical theater like moments that call to mind Styx a bit. It’s classic Saga and a great way to end the disc.
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