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

VOYAGE OF THE ACOLYTE

Steve Hackett

 

Eclectic Prog

4.21 | 906 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Zitro
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 3 Stars

Note: I modified my rating system. I "grade" individual tracks as well now, located inside parenthesis.

It is always interesting to hear solo albums to see the musicians' musical expressions that would be limited when that artist is in a band and is not the leader. Here, it seems like Genesis has influenced him all over the album, unless Steve Hackett was a main composer in the band (I honestly don't know). The symphonic nature of Genesis is clearly heard here as well, especially when you notice that Rutherford (bass) and Phil Collins (vocals, Drums) are present. Also, Steve's trademark guitar sound is everywhere. Unlike many, I find this album very inconsistent in quality: Star of Sirius being unlistenable while Shadow of the Hierophant and the hands of the priestress interludes are beautiful. The rest of the songs are decent but quite disappointing considering it's supposed to be Steve Hackett's best album.

(C) Ace of Wands: A cheesy and frenzied solo introduces the song which is very dynamic and proggy. The song changes rhythms numerous times, though too much for my enjoyment. The result is a promising, yet slightly choppy piece with great parts and bad ones as well. However, I don't think anyone could call this dull.

(A-) Hands of the Priestess: this interlude; with its acoustic guitars, haunting electric guitar riffs, mellotron, beautiful flute melodies; melts me.

(D-) A Tower Struck Down: A somewhat aggressive and repetitive piece with bizarre guitars and synths. Unfortunately, it makes me wish that there was a melody present in the song. The last minute is musically pointless, and the whole song doesn't do anything for me.

(A-) Hands of the Priestess II: While the tone and style is similar to part 1, the song is not a regurgitation of the first part. It begins with a charming flute that is later accompained by a beautiful theme played on an electric guitar.

(C-) The Hermit: A nice acoustic ballad, but nothing special. Any ballad from Genesis in this period is superior to this one. The relaxing outro is pretty good though.

(F) Star of Sirius: The first two minutes are charming enough, but that doesn't stop me from giving an F to this song. The reason is simple: one of the most horrible choruses I've heard in my life, prog or not. I cannot believe that it is Phil Collins who is singing here because if that's him, he must have been having a major flu (his vocal performance is horribly subpar). Not only is the singing weak, but the ridiculous melody and vocal harmonies make my parents ask me to please put my headphones whenever the chorus comes up. Skippable song for sure.

(C) The Lovers: A nice interlude between the horrible song and the masterpiece.

(A+) Shadow of the Hierophant: You can't have an album as inconsistent as this one in terms of quality. After an unlistenable song with choruses that could be used for harsh interrogative tactics, here comes one of the highlights from the whole progressive rock movement of the 70s. It begins with a glorious and bombastic mellotron/guitar punch that is played a few times throughout the song, alternating with folk melodies sang by a talented woman. After that ends, the song leaves room for an impressive electric guitar solo that I consider one of his best guitar performances in his entire career. It is not technically impressive (excluding the lighting fast tapping that introduces it) but it is rich in melody and emotion. Just when I feel goosebumps all over my body, the best is yet to come: a crescendo that would make post rock bands like "Godspeed you Black Emperor" shake their heads in shame as this guitar player made one of my favourite crescendos in the whole music world. I won't spoil much, but I could say that it has one of the best Collins performances, a synthesis of guitar riffs,delicious mellotron, and other instrumentation. A perfect ending!

Shadow of the Hierophant is worth the album itself, but you won't find more of this quality except for the priestess interludes. The album is so inconsistent in quality that it severely mars my enjoyment whenever I spin this disc. Proceed with caution.

Highlights: Shadow of the Hierophant, Hands of the Priestress pt1+2

Let Downs: A Tower Struck Down, Star of Sirius.

My Grade : C

Zitro | 3/5 |

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