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Steve Hackett - Surrender of Silence CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett

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4 stars Steve keeps closing the gap between his both approaches to prog, that's to say, between his 'classical' leanings and his more specifically rock oriented output. In his previous album, he had already melded the contributions of his band with the sounds of orchestra & soloists, but keeping things strictly acoustic. Now, he is taking the next step by adding electric flow and density to the music. Even so, the resultant sound is not defined by the typical band-with-added-orchestra approach, but rather an inextricable fusion of both instrumental forces, with voices contributing specific textures (showing a huge variety of color and presence in the mix). The axeman in Steve is present altogether, for the most part as an 'orchestral' soloist, very concerned with the general tonal balance. Yet, there are moments of pure rock electric magic, like Held In The Shadows and Scorched Earth (which's not a VdGG cover).
Report this review (#2593956)
Posted Sunday, September 12, 2021 | Review Permalink
4 stars Steve Hackett is one of the busiest artists in the prog world. Since 1975 and also after his departure from Genesis he released an album nearly every year. And with these albums he never ceased to surprise me. In his latest release 'Surrender of Silence' he combines more than ever before classical inspiration (especially from the neoclassicism period and Prokofiev) with rock and world music to a surprising melange of varied styles. The variety is also expressed in the instrumentation which ranges from classical orchestra over rock band to more exotic instruments like tar and dutar. The result is an album which is probably the most varied of his works so far. Two years ago I called 'At the Edge of Light' his best album since 'Spectral Mornings', but I stand corrected. This one is his best since 'Spectral Mornings'.
Report this review (#2633718)
Posted Saturday, November 13, 2021 | Review Permalink
5 stars For me, Steve Hackett is a wonderful musician and a prolific composer with a huge body of work that continues to grow apace. Surrender Of Silence was his second release of 2021, with Under A Mediterranean Sky, another fine release, coming out early in the year having been written in the pandemic period 2020. I never got around to rating Surrender of Silence but loved the album straight away and it ended up with more than double the number of full album listens than any other 2021 release. I found the more I listened the more I loved it and that has continued into 2022. I feel I must record my appreciation for what is surely an under-rated 2021 album. I find all tracks on the album to be highly enjoyable and it is one of the few albums that I continue to listen to from beginning to end. While all the tracks are good, it is worth mentioning Relaxation Music For Sharks which I disliked the first time until I realised what it was trying to depict and what an extraordinary piece of music it is. I also particularly love the melody and its associated story in Natalia. Wingbeats is a great foot tapper. Shanghai To Samarkand opens with an exquisite Chinese melody and develops cleverly through various phases. The other track worthy of mention is Day Of The Dead for the way it develops. Some eight months after I first started listening to the album, I am still returning to it on a regular basis with no sign of growing tired of it. Worthy of a five-star rating, this album is now in my top 30 albums of all time and is my highest rated Steve Hackett album.
Report this review (#2739795)
Posted Thursday, April 28, 2022 | Review Permalink
Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
5 stars After the peaceful acoustic release "Under a Mediterranean Sky", Steve Hackett is back on his electric formula mode. He is with long-time musicians, Roger King on keys, and orchestral arrangements, and Rob Townsend on sax. The drum parts are split up between 3 drummers. Jonas Reingold is on most of the tracks on bass.

The first track is instrumental and sounds like a movie score for an action hero film. The song "Natalia" is Russian music with some well-known passages done in collaboration with his wife. Steve is singing with some opera singing and orchestral arrangements. Again you can hear an action movie in the instrumental section. Then it has some tasty and authentic violin playing. "Relaxation Music For Sharks" has some intriguing special effect intro before the drums of Nick D'Virgilio kick-off to bring the song to a faster pace. Steve is getting loose on his guitar playing. Not too relaxing, but it's for sharks!

"Wingbeats" has some African beats and singing that is not too far from what Peter Gabriel made with his band. There are some tribal drums but adding the guitar, it's done in a Hackett style. "The Devil's Cathedral" has a horror atmosphere with the dark organ playing of Roger King all this embellished with some orchestral arrangements. "Held in the Shadows is a love song dedicated to Steve's wife. It's romantic but with a kick of Rock! I enjoy the heavy parts that are in contrast to the beginning.

"Shanghai To Samarkand" put us now in the oriental part of the world where classical music meets world music, the music doing most of the talking here. When the Kansas drummer arrives, we are in a more familiar Hackett style before going back to the world music beat. "Fox Tango" Steve is getting loose again with his Gibson guitar which reminds me in some specific passages of Brian May.

"Day of the Dead" is another horror-inspired movie now a Mexican one. "Scorched Earth" is a warning song to save the earth from destruction. It's a beautiful song that has a clear and intentional lighter mood. I enjoyed the orchestral arrangements here. It ends with a short and peaceful song with some lovely guitar parts of Steve showing his love for classical music.

As much as I still rave for Steve Hackett's first albums, He has improved a lot in his songwriting style surpassing the Genesis influence with some fusion music that brings more variety and textures to his music.

Report this review (#2783568)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2022 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars I think this is Steve's 28th studio album, which is probably more than the combined output of those he left in Genesis, but although I saw him play earlier this year none of this material was featured as he was touring his highly popular Genesis Revisited shows. So, when it comes to prog he has two back catalogues that are very different, while he is still releasing new and wonderful music even though he is now in his seventies. Over the last 40+ years he has released music from many different styles, being one of the few prog musicians to go the whole hog and write and record classical music, and he can play solo acoustic classical performances as well as standing in front of an electric band, and in many ways this album is a coming together of his past while also looking in new directions.

He provides nylon, steel string & 12-string guitars, oud, charango, sitar, harmonica, and vocals, and is joined by one of his touring line-ups with Roger King (keyboards, programming & orchestral arrangements), Rob Townsend (saxophone, clarinet), Jonas Reingold (bass), Nad Sylvan (vocals) and Craig Blundell (drums) while he has also brought in additional musicians which includes two more drummers in Phil Ehart (Kansas) and Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard etc). Musically he is moving through tribal, New Age, classical and prog, but surely the whole album should be deemed as progressive as he is truly pushing boundaries and mixing and blending styles together to create something which is vital and hugely impressive.

Many old progheads, like me, will have a strong fondness for his early solo albums as they were released when we were teenagers and had a massive impact on us. However, unlike many of his contemporaries from back then he has continued to tour and record incessantly, and his current output is to the same high standard as it has always been. When asked my favourite period of Genesis, I always give the same answer, Hackett (as opposed to the normal Gabriel or Collins) and there is no doubt that he has continued to develop and deliver even since leaving that entity. Listen to his music with an open mind and discover that Hackett is still pushing himself and his followers yet even though he keeps moving this is always identifiable and part of his canon as opposed to being removed. One never knows what to expect from his albums, except they will always be sheer class, and this is no exception.

Report this review (#2842222)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2022 | Review Permalink

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