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

VOYAGE OF THE ACOLYTE

Steve Hackett

 

Eclectic Prog

4.21 | 899 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars First solo album from Steve and the only one released while still a member of Genesis. His reason for making this album (and later leaving Genesis) was he felt that not enough of his ideas were being used by the band. Some call this a 'lost Genesis album' and while I see where they are coming from I don't really agree. Some of the music here does sound like Genesis, while some of it is (gulp!) even better than Genesis! Both Collins and Rutherford appear on the album as well as other people, some more well known than others.

The first half of this album is almost flawless. Generally I find a lot of the music too acoustic- y for my tastes. The use of synths here is more interesting than most of what Tony Banks was doing at the same time. The two best songs here, "Ace Of Wands" and "A Tower Struck Down," are excellent tracks and, realistically, there is probably only 2 or 3 Genesis songs better than these two. That's how good they are. In fact, I would say that the last 2 minutes of "Ace Of Wands" is better than anything Genesis ever did. There, I said it.

Opening the album with a drum fill and a guitar run, "Ace Of Wands" wastes no time getting to business. This track features some of Hackett's best guitar work on the album. Love the flute-like synth playing mixed with bells...awesome sound. I just love how it abruptly changes after 3 minutes to a face-paced section with acoustic guitar strumming and later some of Steve's trademark finger-tapping style. The two-part "Hands Of The Priestess" which segues between the other songs on side one features acoustic guitar, flute, Mellotron, backwards sounds as well as some mournful electric guitar. Good as segues but nothing special on their own.

"A Tower Struck Down" is probably the single best song here and a lot darker and sinister sounding than almost anything Genesis did. Great interplay between the instruments. Love the sequencer pattern that appears after 2 minutes, very hypnotic. For a few seconds it gets interupted by random noises and then gets drowned out by a crowd yelling "Steve Hackett!" although it sounds like "Sieg Heil!" instead. Synth-generated thunderstorm sounds and then gorgeous Mellotron strings, followed by repeated minimal guitar. Fantastic song.

"The Hermit" features Steve's own pedestrian vocals. Mostly acoustic guitar with some strings and some flute. Sort of a letdown after what came before but still a decent song. Phil Collins does lead vocals on "Star Of Sirius." Starts off with acoustic guitar and Phil's multi-tracked vocals being joined by Mellotron. Nice synth melodies during the first half of this song. Oddly enough, this song does not sound very Genesis-y. Some vibraphone leads to the main upbeat portion of the track featuring acoustic guitar strumming and 'nah, nah, nah, nah' vocals.

In the middle it gets dark sounding before some flute brings the sunshine back in. More synth melodies and vibraphone before the upbeat section returns. Probably Collins' best drumming on the album. "The Lovers" is a less than 2 minute instrumental that sounds like the first half is being played backwards during the second half. The almost 12 minute epic "Shadow Of The Hierophant" features Sally Oldfield (Mike's sister) on lead vocals. Very symphonic prog sounding. I'm not the biggest fan of Sally's voice but at least she can sing better than her brother (ha!). This is the longest song and it tends to lose my attention. Some cool finger-tapping from Steve; hard to believe this is from 1975 not 1985. The last part that builds up is the best part of the track.

Hackett made a lot of great songs on his own but his albums were never very consistent. Voyage is probaly the most consistent of them all (although admittedly I haven't heard anything post-80s from him). This was recorded after Gabriel left Genesis and shows that, sooner or later, Genesis were going to end up a trio eventually anyway. This is worth it just for those two great tracks (you know which ones). I'll give this a 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |

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