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Steve Hackett - Genesis Revisited II CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.86 | 468 ratings

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5 stars Steve can revisit GENESIS as many times as he wants and I will always buy the album

After a wait that seemed eternal, I received my copy of Genesis Revisited II, and even when not as original and fresh as the first one (Seems like Steve wants to preserve the original wizardry with some interesting additions), the quality remains intact and as usual master Hackett offers fantastic new versions of old classics.

The album starts with The Chamber of 32 Doors from the weird The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, I must admit it's not one of my favorite tracks but Nad Sylvan in the vocals does a surprisingly good job, even when her sounds closer to Collins than to Gabriel. As usual Steve adds an incredibly beautiful (even when short) acoustic guitar intro that enhances the mystery of the track. I'm afraid to say it, but I like this version a bit more than the original, and this is something very hard to achieve when performing a Gabriel era GENESIS track.

Horizons brings no surprise because Steve has played this classic song in every concert since the impressive Tokyo Tapes, but the good thing is that no matter how many times I heard it, Horizons remains as beautiful and rewarding as the first occasion I heard it. Evidently one of Steve's favorite children and only he is capable to make it sound always fresh and interesting.

Now, one of my biggest worries was Supper's Ready, because of what it means for most GENESIS fans and also being that it's very hard to find a vocalist with the versatility of Peter Gabriel capable of creating dialogues with himself sounding as several different persons, so Steve did the best possible thing recruiting 5 singers with different characteristics for the seven parts and the result is brilliant:

i.- Lover's Leap was a surprise, I expected to listen the voice of Akerfeldt in harder sections, but he sings the romantic opening and does it incredibly well, he never tries to sound as Peter but still breaks my heart, just brilliant.

ii.- The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man allows us to listen Simon Collins trying to walk on dad's shoes and does it well, even when I would have preferred a vocalist closer to Gabriel, we can't deny that Collins is part of the bands history and sounds very well.

iii.- Conrad Keely is in charge of Ikhnaton and Itsacon and Their Band of Merry Men, I have to admit that this is the first time I heard him, and even when I don't like the initial approach, as the song advances Conrad makes it his song, another great work.

iv.- Michael Akerfeldt returns with How Dare I Be So Beautiful? And again does a great job with a soft melodic section that prepares the listener for what is about to come.

v.- One of my greatest doubts was Willow's Farm, being that the weirdness and humor had to be kept, and Steve takes the lead, this was an unexpected option but proved to be the best, Steve captures the spirit of the song with his own peculiar style.

vi.- Apocalypse in 9/8 (Co-Starring the Delicious Talents of Gabble Ratchet) was another challenge but this time both musical and vocally being that very few singers can imprint the necessary drama, but nothing can be achieved without a keyboardist as skilled as Tony Banks. So without expecting too much started to listen and liked what I heard, after a delicious flute section by John Hackett, Simon Collins does a decent (even when not outstanding) performance, but the band is just brilliant specially Roger King who makes some subtle but interesting changes in the keys'Impressive.

vii.- Francis Dunnery takes the risk of re-creating the emotional As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet) ,, and even when I never expected display of emotions as in the case of Peter Gabriel, he was not the best choice, being that the voice is correct, but the 'There's an Angel in the sun' section, is really weak.

I haven't talked too much about the music, because it's very close to the original asnd Steve always makes brilliant additions that give a new approach.

I always thought that The Lamia is one of the most poetic songs in Genesis career, so when I heard the name of Nick Kershaw knew from the start that he was the perfect choice, and was pleased with the result, one of the best moments in the album

Dancing with the Moonlit Knight is another classic and never expected that Francis Dunnery could remotely re-create the 'a capella' section, but after a beautiful guitar intro by Steve, Francis surpassed the expectations I had, maybe a bit nasal but strong and accurate. The double guitar duet between Hackett and Rothery is brilliant and Roger king plays with the Mellotron in that unique way I thought only Banks could make. Another highlight.

Fly On A Windshield is a track that Steve has played lately and always with Gary O'Toole in the drums and vocals, so it was no surprise for me, again impeccable, and perfectly coordinated with Broadway Melody of 1974 being that it's the same formation.

My all-time favorite Genesis song has always been The Musical Box, so any other vocalist except Peter Gabriel would had been a disappointment, but in this case Nad Sylvan was the worst option from the musicians available, extremely nasal and too close to Phil Collins, luckily Steve made those broken musical box sounds at the beginning that lowered the expectations of a faithful version.

The instrumentation is perfect, but the climax of the song ('Touch me, touch me') is simply un-bearable. The music is great; the voice is less than satisfactory, would had loved to listen this song with Michael Akerfeldt.

The best song of Disk one is by far the underrated Can-Utility and the Coastliners with an impeccable Steven Wilson who sings it as if it was the first time, never trying to be anybody else but him, his work is perfect and amazingly supported by Nick Beggs in the bass and Roger King making one of his best performances, never heard a best version of this track apart from the original.

Each time I listen Please Don't Touch I can't believe how GENESIS preferred the decent WOT GORILLA? Instead of this masterpiece, and this is one of the best versions I ever heard with an inspired Steve and a solid O'Toole in the percussion, the perfect closer for an outstanding Disk one.

Disk two begins with Blood On The Rooftops this time with an extra-long and delightful acoustic intro with Gary O'Toole confirming he has always done the best version of this song, his soulful singing is even better than the original, some people claim that the acoustic intro doesn't make sense with the tune, I just don't care, any long acoustic intro by Steve Hackett is always welcomed'Great opening.

I've never been a fan of Neal Morse, and after listening his exaggerated performance of The Return of the Giant Hogweed my impression is confirmed, the guy is not a team man, he wants to be a star and GENESIS music is for a band not for lone rangers. What I do like is the combined guitars of Hackett and Roine Stolt.

Until today I had no idea who Jakko Jakszykis, but after listening his beautiful rendition of Entangled, I will be paying more attention to his name, the guys manages to blend his voice with the marvelous Mellotron to offer us one of the highlights of the album.

Always thought that Wind & Wuthering is the best Collins era release by far, and Eleventh Earl of Mar the best track of this record, well, Hackett's version is almost as good as the original, mainly because Nad Sylvan offers a memorable performance, if I criticized him in The Musical Box I have to praise him in this song because he reminds me of the best Phil Collins I have heard (with some interesting improvisations), amazing cover with a perfect performance by all the band.

The only time I heard a woman singing a GENESIS song was when Heather Findlay gave a lovely performance of Afterglow, now is the turn for the queen of vibrato Amanda Lehmann to try with the warm Ripples and she never disappoints, her approach is aggressive, powerful, totally different to Phil Collins and she hit the nail in the head with an impressive rendition.

It's obvious for me that Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers ' and ... In That Quiet Earth have to be listened together being that this is the only way they make sense, the calmed mystery of the first one is the perfect intro for the apotheosis of the second track, and Steve recreated the magic perfectly with an inspired Roger King who keeps growing, and a solid Gary O'Toole who is always the glue that keeps the band together.

No tribute or cover album is complete without John Wetton, this time he was recruited to sing the dramatic Afterglow and he delighted the fans with one of his best performances ever, if he was good Genesis Revisited I, he is brilliant in Genesis Revisited II, to be honest, I'm not interested in listening another vocalist singing Afterglow, since now this song belongs to good old John since now and forever.

The last three songs are from Steve Hackett's personal discography A Tower Struck Down Camino Royale and Shadow of the Hierophant, the three are outstanding (Specially the third one with Amanda Lehmann), but I won't comment them extensively because Steve can do whatever he wants with them and will never disappoint anybody, being that we are used to the versatility he displays with his own material.

Normally I have very striong problems with the ratings, but in this case it's almost an impossible task, so lets go step by step.

If it wasn't for The Musical Box , I wouldn't hesitate and give the maximum rating possible, so I was tempted to rate Genesis Revisited II with only four stars, but after evaluating Nad Sylvan's amazing cover of Eleventh Earl of Mar and the huge amount of brilliant material provided by Steve and this group of fantastic musicians, I will stay with the 5 stars, that should be 4.5 if the system allowed it.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |


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