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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

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Trotsky
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars You'll have heard it all before ... that this is the "lost Genesis" album, the best solo album that any member of Genesis (or any major prog group, for that matter) ever recorded, a wonderous secret known to a select few ... well, I'm not one to disagree. Yes, it doesn't feature either the vocals of Peter Gabriel or the keyboards of Tony Banks, but Voyage Of The Acolyte does bear many of the hallmarks of the classic Genesis sound and certainly belongs in the collection of any self-respecting prog fan.

Along with the Genesis rhythm section of Michael Rutherford and Phil Collins, kid brother John (on flute and Arp synths) and keyboardist John Adcock, Steve crafts a fine album that isn't quite up to the standards of the Genesis albums that preceeded it, but is still pretty darn special.

One way of telling that is a classic album is the absolute lack of filler material ... every song has its moments. The biting Ace Of Wands is a delightful instrumental with punchy fusion guitar, some pastoral twelve string, another winning one with bells and mellotron. Hands Of The Priestess, Part I has a beautiful flute and acoustic guitar melody. A Tower Struck Down is anominous hard rocking prog tune with some great bubbling synth work from John Hackett and a crescendo that has crowds baying for blood. Hands Of The Priestess, Part II is a brief mournful instrumental, and the vibe is carried on by The Hermit, a haunting acoustic piece that Steve actually sings (well, he sort of talks his way through it actually, but it suits the piece).

One of the best pieces on the album is Star Of Sirius on which Phil Collins handles lead (and inadvertently presages the Genesis sound on the guitar-led songs that are on A Trick Of The Tail and Wind And Wuthering). Most of the song is gloriously pastoral and even when the whole band joins in, it's never really rocks. I love it and as Steve himself commented on Star of Sirius in 1992 ... "I suppose looking back on it the song was rather twee - not the sort of thing I would record today but ... I think of it as the best song on that album."

The Lovers is another of those brief guitar/mellotron instrumentals that serves as a fine precursor to the awesome Shadow Of The Hierophant, a monster prog piece featuring the ethereal vocals of Sally Oldfield. If you're looking for great solos and blistering interplay don't come here though ... Shadow Of The Hierophant is all about sweeping soundscapes and gentle acoustic guitar passages.

30 years on, there's a mesmerizing quality about this excellent album that goes beyond the sheer instrumental creativity and virtuosity that draws me to most other classic prog albums. ... 85% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 4/5 |

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