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

VOYAGE OF THE ACOLYTE

Steve Hackett

 

Eclectic Prog

4.21 | 895 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Australian
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Steve Hackett's "Voyage of the Acolyte" is a shinning example of the mixture of band and orchestral instruments into one album. This is probably why Steve Hackett is classified as a symphonic artist. Also the inclusion of synthesizers gives it that final symphonic touch which tops off the album's sound. The album its self is a tremendous success in my eyes, it is an advancement on any Genesis album as it features, in my opinion a more interesting atmosphere. Whether it be the unique sound or just the greater focus on classic guitar I just can't say, but it's just an improvement.

The album contrasts greatly in sound and mood, take the opener "Ace of Wands" and the following track "Hands of the Priestess pt.1." "Ace of Wands" is a louder, more violent song while Hands of the Priestess pt.1." is a beautiful mixture of classical guitar, flute and mellotron with some percussion here and there. These contrasts pop-up throughout the entire album and become very obvious after a while. Steve Hackett's guitar styles on this album range from intricate classic fingering to experimental guitar synthesizers, very interesting guitar work.

The album opens with the fast-paced "Ace of Wands" which features a couple of themes which appear throughout the entire album, played on instruments ranging from guitar to harmonica in a mellower mood. The song its self is excellent and features some very powerful progressive elements including synthesizers, changes in meter and mixture of instruments.

The next song "Hands of the Priestess, Part 1" is a somewhat mellower song with a really great flute melody played by Steve Hackett's brother. The song is more down to earth than "Ace of Wands" but still features little snippets of oddity. The song is a buffer for the upcoming chaos.

"A Tower Struck Down" is a louder, more aggressive piece than its predecessors and it incorporates the use of odd synthesizer effects. The synthesizers and general sounds in the piece are quite monotonous, but this is a minor factor and will eventually be forgotten. The song also breaks the calm of "Hands of the Priestess, Part 1", and it's really does its part well.

"Hands of the Priestess, Part 2" is quite a short song and it echoes the first part of the song. At the beginning of the peice a new tune is introduced which is repeated later in the album. There is also another tune repeated on a harmonica which sounds very. hazy and good. It is a good revival after "A Tower Struck Down."

Next is "The Hermit", which features great acoustic guitar work from Hackett and also great string backing which adds to the mood of the song. The song excels at conjuring the image of a weather-worn hermit who is more that what meets the eye.

Then comes, the masterpiece of the album, "Star Of Sirius believe me this is one amazing song. The contrast of loud and soft parts, as well as the very melodic guitar work and woodwinds (cor angelis I think) is amazing. A few of the tunes are repeated during the climax of the song and blend with the total feel of the song like clockwork. Amazing stuff.

Up next is the short "intermission" song "The Lovers" which is basically just a winding, mellow acoustic solo from Hackett with minimal backing. It acts as a buffer before the climax.

Last is the fantastic "Shadow of the Hierophant" which is another highlight. The piece features the lovely voice of Sally Oldfield who really brings something anyone else could not. The song is very epic and there is a particular tune which is repeated numerous times throughout the song. "Shadow of the Hierophant" is a great way to end a truly unforgettable album.

1. Ace Of Wands (5/5) 2. Hands of the Priestess Part I (5/5) 3. A Tower Struck Down (3.5/5) 4. Hands of the Priestess Part II (4/5) 5. The Hermit (5/5) 6. Star of Sirius (5/5) 7. The Lovers (3.5/5) 8. Shadow of the Hierophant (5/5) Total = 36 divided by 8 = 4.5 = 5 stars!!

Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

"Voyage of the Acolyte" is in my opinion better than any Genesis album, but really what has that got to do with anything? Anyway "Voyage of the Acolyte" really is an amazing album in all regards and it does what Genesis albums could not. I'd recommend this album to everyone, its great.

Australian | 5/5 |

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