SAGE – In Vain

SAGE - In Vain


Release Date: November 3, 2005

User Review
5.5/10 (1 vote)

Sage is a female-fronted band that hails from Chicago and has already released one five song EP under the title Lightning Strikes. Tracey Sage, who is the voice of the band, along with guitar virtuoso Mike Walsh are the “heart” of this four piece band.

The music of Sage is a little bit difficult to describe when using the typical music classifications. The members of the band have succeeded in bringing all of their personal influences into Sage’s sound to render a special and distinct character. Of course, there are tendencies towards bands like Metallica when it comes to the rhythm section, and A Perfect Circle regarding the song structures.

The release of In Vain was self-financed and produced. The mixing would be a little bit better if only the guitars were brought “to the front,” especially during the solos. On the other hand, Tracey’s voice is so beautiful that the above complaint can be easily overlooked. Indeed, her voice is powerful and perfectly combined with the emotional performance that sometimes brings to mind the German goddess Doro. Others have compared Tracey to Amy Lee of Evanescence, but this is kind of wrong since Amy has a more mellow voice that stays in a distance from the Heavy Metal sound.

The man behind the six string is Mike Walsh who is already known for being a guitar tutor. He has released several instrumental CDs, writes a column in the famous site, and teaches at the largest guitar workshop called National Guitar Workshop. The other two members, Rob Thompson (bass) and Eric Ganci (drums) that complete this solid lineup, provide a compact rhythm section throughout the 5 tracks of this EP.

“Manifest Destiny” is the title of the opening track. Tracey is on the spotlight with clean and powerful vocals that hold a truly catchy melody. The guitars remind of Metallica with heavy distortion and solid riffs. The baton is passed to the mid-tempo “Graves” that includes a clean guitar intro. Here, the band’s composing potential is revealed with impressive instrumentation that keeps up to Tracey’s beautiful voice. Things are getting heavier when “Backbone” kicks in next. The straightforward fast guitar rhythm has a Power Metal character that leads to the sophisticated solo, which is rather mistreated by the “weak” production when dealing with the guitars.

Some Eastern melodies can be found in the next track, entitled “Out of Body.” Once again, Tracey’s voice travels the listener out of body with a performance that reminds of the sweet Anneke van Giersbergen of The Gathering. The fair production treatment to the guitar fills and leads adds greatly to the overall high grade of this track. This impressive release is topped off with the mid-tempo song called “In Vain.” The progressive character of this track is just an affirmation of Sage’s high performance skills, and guarantees that the purchase of this EP will not be “in vain” at all.

The best news coming from the Sage’s camp would definitely be the release of a full-length album, because 5 tracks are just not enough. So, next time the MetalExpressRadio DJ is online, be sure to send a request for a Sage song and you won’t be disappointed at all!


  • Dr. Dimitris Kontogeorgakos

    Dimitris was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has a diploma in Physics, a Masters in Medical Physics and a doctorate dimploma in Nuclear Medicine (this is the reason for his Dr. title). He was given his first Heavy Metal tape at the age of 12 which was a compilation entitled Scandinavian Metal Attack. The music immediately drew his attention and there he was listening to the first Iron Maiden album, trying to memorize the names of the band members. That was it! After some years, he stopped recording tapes and started buying vinyl records, spending every penny in the local record shop. The first live concert he attended was Rage co-headlining with Running Wild.

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