Saris - Beyond The Rainbow

Kev Rowland

German band Saris have had more than a few challenges over the years since their initial inception in 1981, but guitarist/keyboard player Derk Akkerman has been there throughout, and their last three albums have all featured the same line-up. They have two lead singers in Anja Günther and Henrik Wager although Henrik does by far the majority, plus there are another seven backing singers, yet somehow the vocals do not feel over the top. This is neo-prog, with guitars often to the fore but also with driving keyboards, which makes one think firmly of the Nineties yet with a modern approach and production. The arrangements are key, as while there are times when it feels quite orchestral, it is never overblown.

It is inviting and compelling, at times quite dated yet also feeling modern, and the result is an album which is accessible, often fairly gentle with mild vocals. For it to move to another level it would need to have more of an edge, as this all feels just a little too mellow and safe and never really thrusting with the bite one likes to get from the genre, although of course this could be quite different in the live environment. A solid release, which fans of neo-prog could do well to look out for.

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