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


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

4.23 | 1275 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars "Voyage of the Acolyte" is the pinnacle of Steve Hackett's genius in many fans' eyes, and rightfully so as it boasts some of his most celebrated material. Any Hackett fan is enamoured with awesome tracks such as 'Ace of Wands', 'Star Of Sirius' and 'Shadow Of The Hierophant'.

Many cite this as the missing Genesis album and it is easy to see why when you look at the lineup on the album. Steve Hackett plays electric & acoustic guitar, Mellotron, harmonium, bells, autoharp, vocal, effects, and he is joined by brother John Hackett on flute, Arp synthetizer, bells. But the real surprise treat is the addition of Mike Rutherford on bass guitar, bass pedals, Fuzz 12-String,and Phil Collins on drums, vibes, percussion, vocals. The collaboration feels more Genesis than one might imagine, and there are stirring performances from John Acock on Elka, Rhapsody, Mellotron, harmonium, piano and the beautiful tones of Sally Oldfield on vocals.

'Ace of Wands' is a very melodic instrumental with delightful keyboards and of course Hackett is brilliant on lead guitar. This one has appeared on many concert setlists for good reason; a simply stunning start to the album. 'Hands of the Priestess Part I' is next, with a mystical feel and some gorgeous Mellotron and acoustics. The flute is dreamy as are the chimes; some of the most beautiful pastoral music I have heard.

'A Tower Struck Down' is dramatic music with nice buzzing synth lines,rutherford's violent bassline, and odd meters with choral voices adding to the mystical flavour. It even has "Sieg Heil!" shouts at the end and explosions; a war of ideas, and then Mellotron swathes followed by low guitar tones. This is one of the proggiest tracks on the album. Followed by 'Hands Of The Priestess Part II' with more lovely flute and medieval sounds.

After all the instrumental work, vocals soon enter the album. 'The Hermit' has the vocals of Steve Hackett echoed and phased in the studio, with a medieval lute. The flute passage is a gorgeous augmentation to end it.

'Star Of Sirius' gives Phil Collins a chance to show he can sing. It is a peaceful song and has multi harmonies to disguise Collin's real voice; perhaps Hackett was worried about this. The music is keyboards and acoustics at first, then it builds into some nice melodies and definitely sounds like Genesis.

'The Lovers' is a short transition with acoustic tranquillity, similar to 'Horizons' in some ways, except it feature backwards keyboards. 'Shadow Of The Hierophant' features the golden crystalline tones of Sally Oldfield, always a delight. It is the longest track at 11:44, and perhaps the masterpiece of the album. Oldfield's vocals lend a Celtic quality to the music as always, such an accomplished vocalist, and the flute and chimes are mesmirising.

One of the greatest Hackett albums ever, "Voyage of the Acolyte" is a delight from beginning to end, proggy and with virtuoso musicianship throughout. The songs and themes are based on Tarot, that never interested me, but I am very interested in the musicianship. Hackett proves he is going to make a solo career one day with this debut. He not only proves he will make it but he shows the other members of Genesis how it is done with that inimitable prog edge.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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