Big Hairy Monster!
(All Album Reviews by Big Hairy Monster!)
This is a recording that really seems to divide the Saga camp. The pop fans of the group think it is the worst thing the band ever did, while the prog fans of the band think it is the best. I am in the latter camp...and while I only own three other Saga recordings (Heads Or Tails and World's Apart, and a double cassette greatest hits), I think this is the best of the bunch. Not only is it a well conceived and well recorded album, it is also concept piece. In my opinion, this is the best concept album of the '90s.
The story is a little convoluted, but it's basic themes revolve around the alienation between generations. I won't discuss the plot, as I don't want to impose my conceptions of the lyrics on any new listeners...I will say that "Sam" is one of the more interesting characters to emerge on a concept prog recording.
Suffice it to say, the story is as engaging as the music. The music contained on this disk is classic Saga; however, they have opened their tonal palette considerably. There are spots where they approach the territories of Rush, Queensrˇche, Queen, Dream Theater, and Nine Inch Nails. The perfomance is superb, and with one listen you can tell a lot of thought was put into this recording.
I'm sure there are many of us that get very hooked on certain concept recordings. I was so addicted to this CD when it first came out...so addicted that the length of time it spent in my player was probably only equaled by Misplaced Childhood, The Wall, and more recently Snow.
And while it is not as proggy as many of the unpronounceable bands on PE, it is a classic slab of 90s concept art. It also seems to me to be an album that lays much of the groundwork for what we are now hearing from bands like Porky Tree and Vast.
So pick up a copy today, and say hello to Sam!