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Steve Hackett - Genesis Revisited CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.41 | 304 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The task of filling the sky once more with nightmagic fell to STEVE HACKETT, keeper of the flame in spirit if not in name. Long after GENESIS had ceased to be synonymous with progressive music, HACKETT and a troupe of battle-sharpened veterans dusted off the old wonders and infused them with HACKETT's keen sense of the extreme. The exercise might have been perfunctory or profane, but "Watcher of the Skies" steers clear of both, instead reinvigorating the old gems with a new sense of purpose. The result is a reunion of old friends: some look just as you remember them ("Dance on a Volcano"), a few have grown more austere with age ("For Absent Friends"), others you might not recognize at all ("Los Endos"). STEVE HACKETT clearly wasn't just being nostalgic, instead using the GENESIS legacy as a launching point for his own inventions, as if to say "and then there were four again." Anyone who felt that the post-"Abacab" output was product will find their sentiments shared here. As if to underscore the point, HACKETT's treatment of "Your Own Special Way" (featuring Paul Carrack on vocals) gives us a glimpse of what the old catalog might have looked like through the smooth lens of MIKE + THE MECHANICS or PHIL COLLINS.

Otherwise, HACKETT's visit home is a tasteful balance of reminiscence and rumination, respectful of the original source of inspiration but subversive in its treatment of some of the instrumental passages. In doing so, HACKETT allows us to hear "Firth of Fifth", "Watcher of the Skies", "Fountain of Salmacis" as though for the first time (again), our sense of wonder with the originals rekindled. Some of the ideas are a little silly, from "Waiting Room Only" (which initially sounds like Frank Zappa's "Chrome-Plated Megaphone of Destiny") to the Bonzo ending of "I Know What I Like", but the comic touches mitigate the music's intensity. Lest Genesis fans feel cheated, Hackett adds a new track based on an unused snippet from the "Selling England" sessions ("Deja Vu") and what appears to be a new track, the instrumental "Valley of the Kings." The supporting players are superb: John Wetton suggests a dusky PHIL COLLINS, BILL BRUFORD and CHESTER THOMPSON provide plenty of propulsion, COLIN BLUNSTONE turns in a reverential cameo, and JULIAN COLBECK's approximation of TONY BANKS is right on the money.

I have to admit that, initially, I was put off by the idea of anyone (even HACKETT) tampering with the classics, but those who've been watching Steve over the years know that he has far too much integrity to invoke the old gods without good reason.

daveconn | 4/5 |


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