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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

Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Like much of his work, the first Steve Hackett solo release had to grow on me. I was not immediately delighted with what I heard, but after some time, the album gained life and a more frequent place in my player. Having heard it multiple times, I can do nothing less than rate it higher than I initially expected I would. Fans of early Camel should appreciate this much, as the varying textures of sound are pleasing to the ear. Give this album time- it sits loftily among Hackett's best.

"Ace of Wands" "Ace of Wands" kicks off with a frantic guitar introduction that reminds me of what The Mars Volta would be doing three decades later. Insanely creative guitar work dominates this piece, but aside from the dual lead work, there are patches of tasteful synthesizer, acoustic guitar, bells, and more, all laid over a cool bass line. The sudden whistle is a really silly transition, but other than that this is a solid instrumental, full of energy. It is a great way to begin the album.

"Hands of the Priestess, Part 1" This sorrowful instrumental centers around acoustic guitar and flute, with a mournful electric guitar creeping in now and then. The Mellotron adds an extra layer.

"A Tower Struck Down" The rhythmic structure is similar in feel to the "Apocalypse in 9/8" section of "Supper's Ready" by Genesis. This piece could have fit right in with the darker moments of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway; bits of it sounds like it came right out of "The Colony of Slippermen." The last minute of the song begins with a breathtaking Mellotron that segues into the final moments, which are rather bland, but not awful..

"Hands of the Priestess, Part 2" Another beautiful track, this one is under two minutes, and features acoustic guitar, flute, and oboe, among other instruments that add to the layer of pleasing sound.

"The Hermit" Like a lonely a hermit, Steve Hackett's despairing voice is only accompanied by his twelve-string guitar. He sounds as though he's performing his lonesome song in the deep recesses of a cave, and you, a mere passerby, are hearing it from within. Sharing in his woe, and curious, you seek him out and join him on cello. Another person comes in with a flute. And so forth. The piece is simple and initially forgettable, but once you've heard it a second time, the song reaches into the alcoves of your mind and it all comes back to you. The long ending is lovely, as though the hermit has finally found friends.

"Star of Sirius" This is the crowning moment of the album, one with beautiful twelve-string guitar and synthesizer. Phil Collins does a fine job singing on this one, and the vocal harmonies are not to be missed. The warbling synthesizer over the twelve-string guitar has become a staple sound by now. The middle section sounds like it came right out of a glorious classical piece. The chorus is exciting and amusing. The vocal melody is one of the most original and pleasing melodies I have ever heard.

"The Lovers" Quiet classical guitar, reversed electric guitar, winds, and other soft instruments make up this one-and-a-half-minute instrumental piece.

"Shadow of Hierophant" The previous piece only serves as a short introduction before a massive wall of Mellotron, electric guitar, and drums come crashing through. The female voice almost makes one forget he is listening to progressive rock, but opera instead. Once again, the Mellotron weighs heavily in this piece, as does Hackett's acoustic guitar work. Halfway, he institutes a great amount of tapping on an electric guitar laden with effects. Also once again, one may hear this as a piece that Peter Gabriel-led Genesis could have concocted, so it really shows Steve Hackett's contributions in his former band, It showcases him more, though, which is perhaps why similar songs were not included in Genesis records. It's a brilliant work, all said.

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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