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

VOYAGE OF THE ACOLYTE

Steve Hackett

 

Eclectic Prog

4.21 | 906 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

infandous
4 stars This will sound strange perhaps coming from someone who loves Genesis with Hackett, but this sound a bit too much like Genesis for me to think of it as a Hackett solo album. Well, a lot of it does anyway. I guess this isn't terribly surprising, since he was still in Genesis and all Mike and Phil both play on it (and according to the liner notes of the remaster, Gabriel told Hackett he should do a solo album).

In any case, the first track, Ace of Wands doesn't really sound that much like Genesis (I know, already contradicting myself :-) , except perhaps the fast beginning section reminding me vaguely of the beginning of Dance On A Volcano. I can't help but be reminded of Genesis with the gentle acoustics and flute of the next number. Very pastoral and quite beautiful. A Tower Struck Down recalls Lambs more powerful moments, while still retaining that unique Hackett approach that would flower to near perfection on his next 3 solo albums.

The Hermit is a good song, with Hackett's first (I presume) tentative attempt at vocals. I think they are fine, but not particularly noteworthy. Much like his singing still is today. No offense to Steve, but I think it works better when he lets other singers take the lead. With Star Of Sirius, the Genesis connection is quite strong thanks to Collins' vocals, which work perfectly on this fantastic piece of music. A very pastoral and Entangled type of sound. This is followed by a quite upbeat and lively outro. The Lovers is a lovely (sorry), brief acoustic interlude that leads perfectly into the final track, Shadow of the Hierophant. Personally, I love Sally Oldfield's vocals on this track, and in any event they are only there for a short time. But her voice fits perfectly for the part she sings. The song has some nice transitions, and I especially like the part where Hackett does his two hand tapping with lots of delay and reverb all by himself as a transition into the single bell (I think that is what it is) playing the melody that then is taken up by the rest of the band and slowly fades up to the monumental, if somewhat repetitive outro. A great ending to a very good album. My only issue is that buying the remaster, I got excited seeing it had as bonus track what I assumed to be a 17 minute live version of Shadow of the Hierophant. Well, it is 17 minutes, but it's just an "extended playout" version of the original. Which in this case means the ending, which I like in spite of it's repetitive nature, gets extended by an additional 6 minutes! Had there been anything new in those 6 mintues, I wouldn't mind, but as it is it just makes the song TOO long. The other bonus track is a decent, if not really any different than the original, live version of Ace. But I won't factor these bonus tracks into my rating. Just know if you get this remaster, they are not really worth hearing more than once (unlike the some of the bonuses on the next 3 albums).

While I do like this album, I don't think it is nearly as good as Spectral Mornings, an where I think Hackett finally hits on his "sound" as a solo artist, and created his best album in my view. Still I like this a bit more than the next one, and probably even a bit more than Defector (though The Steppes is better than anything on here I feel). So I think 4 stars is an accurate rating, as this really is an excellent addition to any prog music collection, but doesn't really reach masterpiece status for me. If you are an early Genesis fan, this is a must have. And, of course, if you like any other Hackett albums you will want this as well.

infandous | 4/5 |

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