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Steve Hackett - Guitar Noir CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.27 | 227 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Steve Hackett enters the 1990s with an album that mixes all the styles he's worked with thus far into a cohesive work overall, but that doesn't spell greatness. Guitar Noir is a pretty solid album, albeit wrought with a few pieces that are just a smidgen below par. Despite that, it yielded some of Hackett's strongest instrumental material as well as a live classic in Vampyre With a Healthy Appetite.

The album has a nice mix of acoustic and electric pieces, instrumentals and vocal laden tracks, and they're not too clustered or too far apart from each other. There is a nice spread of each throughout and there's a cohesive feel overall. Pieces like the opener Sierra Quemada are classic Hackett instrumental material with Hackett laying out melody after melody and solo after solo with a solid backing array of musicians.

In the Heart of the City explores grim textures and solemn acoustic music with ethereal vocals from Hackett (this is the album where he began to find his feet vocally). One of my favorite pieces on this album is the classical piece Walking Away from Rainbows, which is a very moving passage of classical guitar and keyboard (from Julian Colbeck) and explores feelings not expressed since that of Bay of Kings (if even that, in my opinion).

And finally, rollicking vocal pieces like Vampyre with a Healthy Appetite explore many different avenues, this one in particular shows Hackett experimenting with voice modulaters (to give his voice a much deeper sound). This song would also show what Hackett would go for in a way on To Watch the Storms.

Guitar Noir may not be Hackett's best album, but it yields some highly creative and fun pieces as well as songs that woulld continue to show up in his live acts for years to come. Not a bad album at all.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |


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