SAGA – Symmetry
Canadian pomp/prog rockers Saga returned to the studio following their 2020 tour and recorded these twelve acoustic renditions of some of the band’s classic cuts and most treasured tunes, and the resulting album, which is entitled "Symmetry", is quite the interesting affair in many respects.
The sparkling, crisp-sounding new versions have in many ways been completely remodeled and re-envisioned so that they are noticeably different to their original counterparts, which means that these playful and spirited tracks contain nuances and textures that were never previously there. It comes across as almost serene and folk-inspired at times, but the songs lack neither energy nor drive and are as confident and focused as anything you would expect from Saga. The way in which the outfit has interpreted its own back catalogue is admirable in that these veterans have managed to construct a cohesive and originals-sounding piece of work with bags of flavor and some incredibly good and noteworthy arrangements. Implementing fiddle and cello has obviously resulted in "Symmetry" sounding quite different to anything the skilled ensemble has done previously, but is that not the whole point of this release?
Rich in atmosphere and containing multiple layers, this one is a worthwhile listen and something that fans and admirers of the group will most likely deem a satisfying output. "Symmetry" is not a lockdown triumph and there are no huge climaxes to be found on the disc as such. However, there is drama and passion in spades here and the highlights include the moving "Images – Chapter 1", the diverse and intriguing "Wind Him Up", the catchy yet musically quirky "The Right Side of the Other Hall", and the epic "Tired World – Chapter 6".