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Steve Hackett - Beyond The Shrouded Horizon CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.86 | 399 ratings

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4 stars Oh man .... He has done it again! This album blew me away at first spin for a couple of reasons. First, I am amazed with how productive he has been since 1975 until now producing 22 (twenty two) studio albums plus some live albums and DVDs. This is great, really. In fact he has produced 21 albums after he quitted Genesis while the band he left had not produced that many albums. Second, talking about quality, I think Hackett has been very consistent with his music style so far as compared to Genesis who tried to make poppy albums. I have not seen any effort that Hackett made to make pop music, he has been so consistent with his progressive music style. Look at this album; you will find this one is consistent with his styles since debut album in 1975, also the legendary 'Spectral Morning' as well as 'Dark Town' in 1999. Third, I like enjoying this album as I have always been failed with my effort to stop the music in the middle of the album. Whenever I play this album, I always spin in its entirety from start to end. The music has a solid structural integrity and it's so cohesive like story telling from start to end.

He has been consistent with his music style

Let' have a look the music in this album. It starts off wonderfully with "Loch Lomond" (6:49) where it reminds me to the Spectral Morning album in terms of nuances and textures even though the song is totally fresh - there is no such elements that copy the previous tracks from previous albums. This is not something like "Everyday" that opens Spectral Morning album nicely, it's much mellow than Everyday. Wonderful! It also reminds me to one of his songs 'The Steppes' of Defector album in 1980. The guitar fills still represent his style really well. What surprising is when the vocals enter comprising male and female vocals, it's really nice. Even thogh Hackett's vocal quality is not that good but he manages to blend nicely with the music. The guitar solo is also stunning. The second track 'The Phoenix Flown' (2:08) sounds like continuing the opening track by showing off Hackettian guitar style with some howling segments as well. Even though it's a short instrumental track but it's so instrumental to the album as a whole because it satisfies Hackett guitar style freaks. It's really great!

'Wanderlust' (0:44) is basically a guitar fills outfit that reminds us to 'Horizon' and it flows nicely to 'Til These Eyes' (2:41) which ha opening guitar fills that remind me to Kansas' 'Dust In The Wind'. Again, I enjoy this mellow track especially with Hackett guitar fills and vocal, backed with nice string section. I am sure most of you would love this track as the melody is really nice and it's very Hackett!

You must love 'Prairie Angel' (2:59) as it starts beautifully with howling guitar work by Hackett. It flows in mellow fashion with slow tempo and when it enters the interlude there is a rocking part with his unique guitar riffs followed with music that moves faster, faster and faster - combining the work of guitar and keyboard, augmented with guitar fills that is unique style of Hackett as an opening of the next track. It flows seamlessly to 'A Place Called Freedom' (5:57) with vocal line. In here Hackett explores his guitar fills as rhythm section of the vocal line. 'Between The Sunset And The Coconut Palms' (3:18) - again reminds me the Defector album, something like before 'The Toast' I believe .... It's a nice track.

'Waking To Life' (4:50) something that is really different than other tracks of Hackett even though there are components that are still his style. This one has eastern music style with female vocal. I think he is brilliant making this track as it demonstrates something unique that focuses more on traditional elements as the music flows in this track. The guitar solo is still showing his style; he plays it soft and inventive. The song has high energy especially it contains beats and grooves. It's probably will be your favorite from this album. As the tittle implies, 'Two Faces Of Cairo' (5:13) represents the nuances of Middle East music. The opening part that has atmospheric drumming work sets the tone of the music really well. What follows are the keyboard solo that replicates the style of eastern music followed brilliantly with Hackett guitar solo while the drumming style remains intact. Well, you might refer to Led Zeppelin's Kashmir on the kind of eastern style the rhythm section (predominantly played by keyboard) of this track. This track is really killing me man!

'Looking For Fantasy' (4:33) starts off with keyboard work followed with Hackett vocal line and acoustic guitar fills. 'She's only looking for fantasy ...' followed with wonderful guitar fills that sound really great if you play your CD at decent stereo set or using a headset. 'Summer's Breath' (1:12) is a nice acoustic guitar outfit that bridges to the next 'Catwalk' (5:44) that sounds blues rock to me - and it's really an excellent track as far as my taste. Again his guitar solo rules!

I think the mascot of this album is the concluding track 'Turn This Island Earth' (11:51) that has opening part in the same nuance like Dark Town album with its atmospheric, haunted style combining sound effects from keyboard and a wonderful acoustic guitar work. The song moves in crescendo and it's really moving on with rockin's part especially in the interlude. The guitar and drums sound really nice backed with inventive string arrangements at the back. The music turns mellow at approx minute 7:50 - it's really a very nice segment and it flows mellow with nice melody augmented with atmospheric music comprising keyboard and string section at the background. It's hard for not loving this track, really!

With all the positive words that I use throughout this writing, I am confident to say that this is really an excellent addition to any prog music collection with 4+ rating. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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