Review

SAGA Silent Knight

Album · 1980 · Metal Related
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Modrigue
Saga's best cover art for their best album

After the enjoyable but a bit flat "Images At Twilight", "Silent Knight" sees the return of two of SAGA's ingredients missing from their second effort: catchy melodies and superb instrumental sections. This third studio opus also marks the arrival of classically trained keyboardist Jim Gilmour, more creative in his interventions than its predecessor Greg Chadd. For his first appearance in the band, he already participates at the composition of half of the record.

Like the cover art, "Silent Knight" is maybe SAGA's most futuristic offering. The music represents a transition between the 70's and 80's decades: efficient pop/rock, with progressive touches and more and more new-wave elements. The disco beats are definitely gone this time.

"Don't Be Late" is a classic from the Canadians. A great song with a mastered progression and powerful keyboard and guitar soli. The gorgeous instrumental section will give you goosebumps! Probably my favorite from SAGA. The fast retro-futuristic "What's It Gonna Be" alternates melancholic and punchy moments, with a beautiful instrumental finale. On the contrary, the soapy "Time to Go" makes a large use of very cheesy synthesizers. The only genuine weak track of the album. Back to life with "Compromise", a nice and catchy tune with a strong new-wave flavour.

Don't rely on the calm, spacey opening of "Too Much to Lose", this very good sci-fi / fantasy piece features heroic passages as well as a few changes. The joyful "Help Me Out" possesses a rocking melody and a cool keyboards interlude. Then comes "Someone Should" and its trippy electronic sequence. A bit uneven, this song is part of SAGA's material which certainly foreshadows the neo-prog genre. The record concludes with its second best track, "Careful Where You Step". Mesmerizing retro-futuristic overture, nice melody, great progression and a powerful epic finale. What else could you ask for?

With "Silent Knight", SAGA proves again there was surprisingly creativity and refreshing ideas in progressive world in 1980. Not as complex or sophisticated as the symphonic prog bands of the 70's, the music of the Canadians is a perfect balance between catchy melodies, radio-friendly pop, hard rock guitars, new-wave synthesizers and glorious instrumental sections. This rich and colorful opus was quite unique at the time and probably still is. Once again, the compositions must have been a major influence for the neo-prog genre.

SAGA's best album, the one to start with if you don't know the band. Highly recommended for fans of TOTO or STYX!
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