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Steve Hackett - Voyage Of The Acolyte CD (album) cover

VOYAGE OF THE ACOLYTE

Steve Hackett

 

Eclectic Prog

4.21 | 896 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gog/Magog
5 stars So Where do we start? Where do we begin? An epic of monstrous proportions, teeming with ideas and ravenous beauty.

From shards of noise and effects in "A Tower Struck Down" to the downright pastoral beauty of "Hands of the Preistess", "The Hermit" et al. Coming in from the front then "Ace of Wands" .boom no easy opening, easing you in here straight in with drums and Steve's immaculate guitaring©. Moments of beauty do intersperse with the frantic nature of this song, which seems to be a theme running through the whole album, and it's always good to here different instruments being used on a "Rock" album. Bells, whistles all pervade the opening track, and just when you think the track is about to end, in comes that weird whistle again, and bang we're off again. Part I of Hands of the Preistess follows and is a beautiful instrumental of which Steve Hackett has become renowned, heavily featuring his brother John on Woodwind instruments it evokes visions of a summer's Sunday laying in a field of straw with you favourite girl/boy (delete as appropriate). The track is beautifully reprised after the aforementioned .Tower. Dum da da da. Again uncompromising straight from the off another typical Hackett instrumental you think, great but nothing out of the ordinary, then Steve starts playing with our minds great swathes of mellotron interspersed with unearthly sounds, more whistling, then .. Animal noises, someone coughing and chanting (seig heil? Steve Hackett?) into a very downbeat ending.

Now I love "The Hermit" how it can be described as nothing special is beyond me. Steve takes lead vocals and no he's not a great singer, but somehow the fragile, quivering vocal performance really suits this song and is beautiful beyond belief, it can still make the hairs of the back of my neck stand on end after god knows how many years of listening to it, the track finishes off with more of John Hackett's woodwind and this works to round off this great track.

Phil Collins turns up to sing "Star of Sirius" and you can't help but think how good this would sound on a Genesis album, no wonder Steve buggered off if they were turning down songs as good as this from appearing on their albums. The Lovers is another soft and gentle acoustic guitar instrumental and fits beautifully between Sirius and Heirophant.

Ah yes, "Shadow of the Heirophant", practically instrumental apart from the first couple of minutes which feature Sally Oldfield on vocals, which don't seem to be to everyone's taste (sounding semi-operatic) but really they do fit the song perfectly. But it's definitely the instrumental "2nd Part" that grabs you with this track, I also think the bridge between the two parts is brilliantly done, building from that a lone triangle (or whatever) in the distance is all you can hear and slowly, slowly instruments come in, the volume rises, always the same theme (repetitive? Boring? Of course not), it is a slow brooding build up but by the end you're exhausted, you're bathed in sweat, you're on the edge of tears, let this monster just enfold you in it's rapture.

For God's sake 5 stars doesn't tell half the story.

Gog/Magog | 5/5 |

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