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Steve Hackett Beyond the Shrouded Horizon album cover
3.85 | 458 ratings | 25 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Loch Lomond (6:49)
2. The Phoenix Flown (2:08)
3. Wanderlust (0:44)
4. Til These Eyes (2:41)
5. Prairie Angel (2:59)
6. A Place Called Freedom (5:57)
7. Between the Sunset and the Coconut Palms (3:18)
8. Waking to Life (4:50)
9. Two Faces of Cairo (5:13)
10. Looking for Fantasy (4:33)
11. Summer's Breath (1:12)
12. Catwalk (5:44)
13. Turn This Island Earth (11:51)

Total Time 57:59

Bonus tracks on double CD/double LP editions:
1. Four Winds: North (1:34)
2. Four Winds: South (2:05)
3. Four Winds: East (3:34)
4. Four Winds: West (3:04)
5. Pieds en l'air (2:25)
6. She Said Maybe (4:21)
7. Enter the Night (3:59)
8. Eruption: Tommy (3:37) *
9. Reconditioned Nightmare (4:06)

Total Time 28:45

* only on CD, not on LP

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Hackett / acoustic & electric guitars, vocals, harmonica, co-producer

- Amanda Lehmann / vocals (1,6,8 & 2.7), guitar (5,6)
- Roger King / keyboards & programming, co-producer
- Benedict Fenner / keyboards & programming (2.3)
- Rob Townsend / saxophone & whistle & bass clarinet (1,4-6,8)
- John Hackett / flute (9), vocals (7)
- Richard Stewart / cello (4,7,9,10 & 2.5)
- Christine Townsend / violin & viola (2.5)
- Nick Beggs / bass, Chapman Stick, ukulele
- Dick Driver / double bass (4,7,10,13 & 2.5)
- Chris Squire / bass (10,12,13 & 2.1,2.7)
- Gary O'Toole / drums (1,2,5,8,9 & 2.7), vocals (1,6 & 2.7)
- Simon Phillips / drums (12,13 & 2.1)

Releases information

Artwork: Harry Pearce

2xLP Inside Out Music ‎- IOMLP 348 (2011, Germany) Includes all tracks from double CD SE except 2.8

CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 348 (2011, Germany)
2xCD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMSECD 348 (2011, Germany) Special edition w/ bonus CD

Thanks to progshine for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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STEVE HACKETT Beyond the Shrouded Horizon ratings distribution

(458 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

STEVE HACKETT Beyond the Shrouded Horizon reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lazland
4 stars A new release by Steve Hackett is always an important event. By far the most prolific, and I think, most consistent of the former Genesis members, the fact that he can still release visionary and relevant music in 2011, and on his 24th solo release, is testament to his talent. In a recent review of Anthony Phillips' debut solo album, I remarked upon Armando Gallo's comment that hearing that album made him wish that Phillips had never left Genesis.

Well, as much as I admire and adore Phillips' output, listening to this, the vast majority of Hackett albums, and his immense contribution to Genesis themselves, all I can say is thank God Hackett did join the band and provide us with such an immense body of work.

Much of this album was written whilst on holiday in Egypt, with Hackett joined by his wife Jo and keyboardist Roger King, both of whom it is abundantly clear have made a huge contribution to the feel and shape of this album. I really enjoyed the predecessor album, but this, I think, is a more accessible work, and has the feel of a band effort throughout, not withstanding the array of artists that Hackett gets to join him, including, on three tracks, the great Chris Squire.

There is barely a weak moment on this album. It opens with Loch Lomond, which, after a rather heavy start, moves into more of a "traditional" Hackett track. It features some exceptional acoustic guitar work, alongside nice vocal harmonies. The denouement reverts to a classic rock feel, with Hackett showing off his electric prowess, mixed with some lush keyboards by King.

The Phoenix Flown is the first of the "Egyptian" songs, and is lush, wholesome, evocative, and far too short. This mild criticism could also be applied to Wanderlust, a lovely acoustic guitar solo.

Til These Eyes is a gentle ballad, very pleasant with more very rich acoustic guitars given a lush texture by keys. The additional orchestration provides a somewhat melancholic feel.

Prairie Angel is a real highlight, and is a brilliant instrumental evoking the Wild West in all of its glory. Extremely imaginative, this is a track with no lyrics which speaks loud and clear to you, and a special mention should go to Amanda Lehmann for her superb guitar work accompanying the master himself. It moves along at a cracking pace, and the track then segues into A Place Called Freedom, which continues the American West theme, this time lyrically. Gary O'Toole sings superbly, and the whole track easily brings to mind the spirit of the Native American world view and the surrounding geography.

Between The Summer & The Coconut Palms is a thoughtful track, which is, surprisingly to me, given the nature of the music, inspired by a Peter Sellers sketch.

Waking To Life features Lehmann again, this time taking lead vocal duties. She sings very well, and this is a nice love song, with layers of rich Middle Eastern sounds to bring to mind romance filled evenings on an Egyptian beach.

Two Faces Of Cairo was written at the foot of The Sphinx, and it shows. Gary O'Toole provides a memorable drumming performance, invoking the modern day tomb raiders existing alongside the richer past of the country. King's swirling Egyptian keys provide the lead instrumentation.

Looking For Fantasy is the first track to feature Chris Squire, and features some nice orchestration. It is pleasant without being remarkable.

Summer's Breath is another track to feature Hackett's mastery of the acoustic guitar. It moves, though, into what can only be described as a very heavy blues number. Catwalk is as heavy as Hackett has got for many a year, and the rhythm section of Squire and the great Simon Phillips on drums sets the tone throughout. A marvellous track, very much at odds with much of the pace of what preceded it, but not any the worst for that.

The album closes with its longest track, Turn This Island Earth. Clocking in at almost twelve minutes long, this is a science fiction inspired track, and, again, the mastery of King on keys especially manages to portray its futuristic theme. Squire and Philips again shine, and you really do, by now, begin to wish that the long promised Squackett collaboration becomes available soon. This is a real group effort, but, of course, led by some extremely complex Hackett guitar work. It is truly progressive, containing a multitude of time signature and mood changes, a percussive Greensleeves, orchestral work, and is truly awesome, and at times creates a massive wall of sound and also true menace, interspersed by true symphonic beauty. A great way to finish the album (I did not buy the bonus CD version), this is proof positive, if any were needed, that Hackett's creative drive and zeal remains as strong as ever.

I should also mention the fact that the Amazon download comes with a sumptuous digital booklet, featuring some marvellous photography.

Strangely, I haven't gotten around to reviewing Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth, the predecessor album. That, to me, is a solid three star album. This one is better. This is a very strong collection of tunes, well written and exceptionally well performed, with some fantastic highlights. Hackett shows he is a master of all things stringed, he sings very well, he writes very well with his wife and King (Steve Howe also contributed to the writing of two tracks), and the whole work feels like a collaborative effort between a host of talented musicians.

Four stars for this, and it comes very highly recommended to all of you who enjoy true mastery not just of the guitar, but of the true progressive genre as a whole.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Oh man .... He has done it again! This album blew me away at first spin for a couple of reasons. First, I am amazed with how productive he has been since 1975 until now producing 22 (twenty two) studio albums plus some live albums and DVDs. This is great, really. In fact he has produced 21 albums after he quitted Genesis while the band he left had not produced that many albums. Second, talking about quality, I think Hackett has been very consistent with his music style so far as compared to Genesis who tried to make poppy albums. I have not seen any effort that Hackett made to make pop music, he has been so consistent with his progressive music style. Look at this album; you will find this one is consistent with his styles since debut album in 1975, also the legendary 'Spectral Morning' as well as 'Dark Town' in 1999. Third, I like enjoying this album as I have always been failed with my effort to stop the music in the middle of the album. Whenever I play this album, I always spin in its entirety from start to end. The music has a solid structural integrity and it's so cohesive like story telling from start to end.

He has been consistent with his music style

Let' have a look the music in this album. It starts off wonderfully with "Loch Lomond" (6:49) where it reminds me to the Spectral Morning album in terms of nuances and textures even though the song is totally fresh - there is no such elements that copy the previous tracks from previous albums. This is not something like "Everyday" that opens Spectral Morning album nicely, it's much mellow than Everyday. Wonderful! It also reminds me to one of his songs 'The Steppes' of Defector album in 1980. The guitar fills still represent his style really well. What surprising is when the vocals enter comprising male and female vocals, it's really nice. Even thogh Hackett's vocal quality is not that good but he manages to blend nicely with the music. The guitar solo is also stunning. The second track 'The Phoenix Flown' (2:08) sounds like continuing the opening track by showing off Hackettian guitar style with some howling segments as well. Even though it's a short instrumental track but it's so instrumental to the album as a whole because it satisfies Hackett guitar style freaks. It's really great!

'Wanderlust' (0:44) is basically a guitar fills outfit that reminds us to 'Horizon' and it flows nicely to 'Til These Eyes' (2:41) which ha opening guitar fills that remind me to Kansas' 'Dust In The Wind'. Again, I enjoy this mellow track especially with Hackett guitar fills and vocal, backed with nice string section. I am sure most of you would love this track as the melody is really nice and it's very Hackett!

You must love 'Prairie Angel' (2:59) as it starts beautifully with howling guitar work by Hackett. It flows in mellow fashion with slow tempo and when it enters the interlude there is a rocking part with his unique guitar riffs followed with music that moves faster, faster and faster - combining the work of guitar and keyboard, augmented with guitar fills that is unique style of Hackett as an opening of the next track. It flows seamlessly to 'A Place Called Freedom' (5:57) with vocal line. In here Hackett explores his guitar fills as rhythm section of the vocal line. 'Between The Sunset And The Coconut Palms' (3:18) - again reminds me the Defector album, something like before 'The Toast' I believe .... It's a nice track.

'Waking To Life' (4:50) something that is really different than other tracks of Hackett even though there are components that are still his style. This one has eastern music style with female vocal. I think he is brilliant making this track as it demonstrates something unique that focuses more on traditional elements as the music flows in this track. The guitar solo is still showing his style; he plays it soft and inventive. The song has high energy especially it contains beats and grooves. It's probably will be your favorite from this album. As the tittle implies, 'Two Faces Of Cairo' (5:13) represents the nuances of Middle East music. The opening part that has atmospheric drumming work sets the tone of the music really well. What follows are the keyboard solo that replicates the style of eastern music followed brilliantly with Hackett guitar solo while the drumming style remains intact. Well, you might refer to Led Zeppelin's Kashmir on the kind of eastern style the rhythm section (predominantly played by keyboard) of this track. This track is really killing me man!

'Looking For Fantasy' (4:33) starts off with keyboard work followed with Hackett vocal line and acoustic guitar fills. 'She's only looking for fantasy ...' followed with wonderful guitar fills that sound really great if you play your CD at decent stereo set or using a headset. 'Summer's Breath' (1:12) is a nice acoustic guitar outfit that bridges to the next 'Catwalk' (5:44) that sounds blues rock to me - and it's really an excellent track as far as my taste. Again his guitar solo rules!

I think the mascot of this album is the concluding track 'Turn This Island Earth' (11:51) that has opening part in the same nuance like Dark Town album with its atmospheric, haunted style combining sound effects from keyboard and a wonderful acoustic guitar work. The song moves in crescendo and it's really moving on with rockin's part especially in the interlude. The guitar and drums sound really nice backed with inventive string arrangements at the back. The music turns mellow at approx minute 7:50 - it's really a very nice segment and it flows mellow with nice melody augmented with atmospheric music comprising keyboard and string section at the background. It's hard for not loving this track, really!

With all the positive words that I use throughout this writing, I am confident to say that this is really an excellent addition to any prog music collection with 4+ rating. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars Steve Hackett provides 13 multi-layered songs here, so all in all this is as diversified as we should expect from such a prolific musician. Nothing to consume in passing or greedily, this is hardly possible! 'Beyond The Shrouded Horizon' needs full attention to get it. Just take the extended Turn This Island Earth which evolves like a modern symphony in rock - Hackett's creative highlight ... well, at least when it comes to this album. A wonderful workout placed at the farthest end, which makes clear that this album is not the end of the flagpole, I'm sure.

Charming folksy impressions with acoustic guitar are representing the majority, however often alternating with (heavy) rocking parts like it is with the opener Loch Lomond - he starts his special journey beyond the shrouded horizon on the shores of Scotland's biggest lake, bagpipes come up in between ... remarkably enough he acts like a quick-change artist here due to multiple varied moods, this track is simply growing the more you listen as a consequence.

Prairie Angel and A Place Called Freedom are arranged like a couple which sounds like Hackett is paying tribute to Andy Latimer, in between though he's surprising because it turms into a straightforward rocking thing. Another pair consisting of Waking To Life and Two Faces Of Cairo is presenting a significant ethno/world orientation the other way round, where Catwalk simply comes as a blues cracker. Furthermore you'll detect rudiments of orchestral sentiment respectively classical components due to implemented strings all over.

It would burst all limits to bring up the complete various impressions which are implemented on 'Beyond The Shrouded Horizon'. Those highly considered musicians, which accompanied him on tour with the result of the excellent 'Live Rails', are on his side here again. Stylistically not that kind of music I'm focussed on, which I would expect to knock my socks off, (I came to this via promo offer) - I find it utterly prolific all in all - even considering some rock/pop excursions such an album deserves high appraisals.

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars From the shores of Loch Lomond to the Rings Of Saturn, eh?

Steve Hackett seemed to have lost interest in progressive rock for a while, doing some lackluster pop oriented stuff, then some nice classical oriented stuff, but when he came back around to doing regular prog he has really put his heart back into it.

It's a very upbeat album which is a nice contrast to say, Darktown, which was his first move back into serious prog rock. He showcases and refines many styles he's visited before. It's heavy on the instrumentals and lets the music mostly tell the tale. When Steve does sing, you can really appreciate how well he's developed over the years. There's also a welcome female vocal presence, Amanda Lehmann, who makes Steve's tribute to love's discovery, Waking To Life, really shine. There's a great set of musicians including Yes man Chris Squire on five tracks, if you count the bonus disc.

Speaking of which, the bonus disc is no mere appendage. Some more instrumentals and for some strange reason, The North Wind, blew its way in front of the epicesque ender of the main album, This Island Earth. I rather like it that way I must say. More Instrumental winds will blow and one track with no Steve on it at all. She Said Maybe, may be the best track included with the bonus set. Next, an old Hackett instrumental gets vocalized in the middle of the Night, Focus erupts in Tommy fashion, and then the Nightmare gets Reconditioned.

And to think this album missed out on the distinction of being number 1500 in my collection by one slot. I went for an autographed double deluxe addition from overseas so go figure. The sicker on the cover says "The new studio album from Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee and former Genesis / GTR guitarist STEVE HACKETT." Sigh.

Anyway, spring for the deluxe edition, unless you don't like SH, then you can save yourself some trouble and just avoid it altogether. The extra tracks are worth having, the book/booklet has some nice artwork with brief comments by Steve for each track including those on the bonus disc. My only complaint is that his fat silver pen autograph on the cover looks like n . Ha_duw. I mean, Steve, really, were just cracking up at the sticker as you signed the things? Solid four stars, keep up the good work!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Still a songwriter of great diversity of styles--all on display in this album, as Steve is want to do on all his studio albums--and still as gutsy/quirky a songwriter, I find Beyond the Shrouded Horizon, overall, perhaps the most accessible prog studio album Steve has done in about 30 years. (Save for the Sketches of Satie album, IMHO, you have to go back to the Voyage of the Acolyte/Spectral Mornings/Please Don't Touch/Defector/Cured period to find as appealing and accessible a studio album as this one. All of the live ones). Bravo, Steve! Thanks! P.S. LOVE the cover of Solution's saxophonist, Tommy Barlage's song "Divergence"--made famous by Focus's inclusion of it on Moving Waves' epic "Eruption" as part 6, "Tommy"--and by Jan Akkerman's inclusion of it on virtually all his solo live albums. Very cool! Would love to hear Steve and Jan Akkerman play/do an album or song together.
Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Two years after Out Of The Tunnels Mouth Steve Hackett returns with another solid effort Beyond The Shrouded Horizon. It immediately gets a thumbs up from me simply for having real drums instead of the programmed variety.

It's a diverse collection and Hackett is certainly not a man afraid to mix different genres and styles as he does here. From solo acoustic guitar - Summer's Breath, Eastern and African Influences - Waking To Life and Two Faces Of Cairo, blues - Catwalk, Ballads - Looking For Fantasy and of course prog. Loch Lomond, which open's proceedings is powerful stuff - think The Steppes off Defector until it mellows out. The Phoenix Flown follows it and is a fine instrumental with some searing guitar work. Turn This Island Earth is a mini epic shifting from a moody intro into more upbeat territory. It's marred a little by some treated vocals which fortunately are made up for by some captivating instrumental work. Vocals have never been Hackett's strong point. Acceptable certainly but it could make all the difference if he got a singer in to help out more often. This he does on Waking To Life where Amanda Lehmann takes lead vocals giving a very authentic Indian style.

Any complaints with Beyond The Shrouded Horizon are minor however and it's an album worth repeated explorations for it to fully reveal its charms. Hackett seems to be on a bit of a roll at the moment and the only ex member of Genesis doing anything that I'm interested in these days including Peter Gabriel. Well worth checking out. A very good solid 3 stars.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars It's reassuring to hear an old pro like Steve Hackett still going strong, long after the far brighter commercial star of his former bandmates in GENESIS sank below the horizon. In fact, he's playing today like a man half his age, with all the ease and confidence suggested in his portraits throughout the CD booklet.

The best news in this limited edition two-disc set is the higher ratio of instrumental tracks, always a healthy sign for a strong guitarist with a weak singing voice. The new album is more or less equally divided between high decibel thrashes (including a soundalike LED ZEPPELIN break in the song "Prairie Angel") and the incomparable delicacy of Hackett's acoustic classical guitar.

Those quieter moments offer a welcome measure of aesthetic relief from the pile-driver fills of drummer Gary O'Toole heard elsewhere on the album. Responsibility for the somewhat impersonal, inorganic sound of these sessions belongs to co-producer Roger King, who also recorded, mixed, and mastered the CD. But at least Hackett's insecure vocals, a major liability on earlier albums (see "Guitar Noir", among others), have finally been rescued by modern recording technology, for the first time in my (admittedly incomplete) experience actually sounding almost like a skilled singer.

And his guitar playing is, thankfully, stronger than ever, with more than one distinctive, typically thrilling solo: in "The Phoenix Flown" (the title is perhaps a reflection of Hackett's reawakened Prog Rock instincts); in "Two Faces of Cairo"; during the extended coda of the otherwise unremarkable pop stylings of "A Place Called Freedom" truth, just about everywhere on the album.

Oddly enough, it's the longest song here, the climactic "Turn This Island Earth", which fails to hold together as a piece of writing. In theory the twelve-minute track is exactly the sort of minor epic most Prog fans would normally salivate over, but the realization sounds more like a self-conscious medley of ill-fitting ideas, strung together with little momentum or structure, and with barely a hint of resolution (it just...sort of ends).

Far better is the "Four Winds" quartet opening the bonus disc: ten minutes of strictly instrumental splendor highlighting the best of Hackett's guitar wizardry. A guest appearance by CHRIS SQUIRE on several songs is another boon to old school Progheads; you can best hear his meaty bass guitar in the heavy blues of "Catwalk". And the inclusion of the classic Focus melody "Tommy", excerpted from the side-long "Eruption" suite on the Dutch band's 1972 album "Moving Waves", offers a welcome touchstone to a shared musical heritage.

All of which underlines a talent all too rare in aging Prog Rockers: the ability to look backward while moving steadily forward. After his 24th (!) solo album, maybe it's time to stop referring to Steve Hackett as the ex-Genesis guitarist.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After a long and successful career, with a vast amount of releases and tours, Steve Hackett gave us once again a great album in this 2011. He seems not to cease ever, he is always cooking something new and most of the times, he creates good songs and albums. Though it is always positive to look for new bands and support recent artists, we cannot help but still listening and enjoying the older ones, provided they are worth it. Steve Hackett, for god's sake, of course is worth it.

This time he offers an album entitled "Beyond the Shrouded Horizon", which consists on thirteen compositions that make a total time of one hour of music. It kicks off with "Loch Lomond" which starts with a dark atmosphere which little by little is lighting it down. Then after a minute we may say the song actually starts; Hackett's guitar is beginning to cook something, while the others instruments help him creating a structure; now another minute later it dramatically slows down, acoustic guitars and delicate vocals (front and back) appear, creating that charming sound that Hackett's music use to share. This is a wonderful opener track, almost seven minutes that will lead to shorter compositions.

"The Phoenix Flown" has a positive and hopeful sound. The guitar solo is gentle, not bombastic at all, and it accompanies drums, bass and synth, creating a short but wonderful instrumental track. "Wanderlust" is the shortest composition, and it offers only Steve Hackett with his acoustic guitar, nothing more. It leads to "Til These Eyes" whose mood is also peaceful and hopeful; here the vocals return and creates that charming yet fantastic sound. This track has orchestral arrangements which I am not sure if were done by keyboards, or an orchestral actually, anyway, it produces a beautiful sound.

"Prairie Angels" continues with that pastoral and charming sound, there are moments (brief ones) where the music may be touching the new age boundaries. This is an instrumental track with Steve's crying guitar and Rob Townsend's winds at first, but just before reaching the second minute, it drastically changes creating a much rockier sound, reminding me of some 70s rock and roll acts. A strange, but good change in this short track. It kindly finishes and links us to "A Place Called Freedom", whose lyrics and musical structure might be the catchiest of the album. The sound is very Hackett, I know you get me here. A joyful track.

"Between the Sunset and the Coconut Palms" has a delicate sound, front and backing male vocals while the acoustic guitar plays, there is also a charming atmosphere softly created by keyboards. The last instrumental minute is sweet, actually the best part of the track. The next song is "Waking to Life" starts with guitar for some ten seconds and later drums appear in a catchy rhythm, while a sitar also sounds and the sweet voice of Amanda Lehmann complements it. Later the instrumental passage takes us absolutely to Indian territories, creating a wonderful background, while percussion and female voice appear once again. This is a great and different track. With "Two Faces of Cairo" the previous emotional and energetic sound vanishes. This track starts with a desolated atmosphere whose background is being built up little by little, primarily by percussion and bass. At a minute and a half the mid-eastern (Egyptian, indeed) flavor appears. There are some guitar riffs and passages where it clearly takes the leadership, but when it quits, the keyboards replace it. This is another highlight of the album, an extraordinary instrumental song. In "Looking for Fantasy" vocals return with their soft and calm sound. So the song itself is like that, soft, charming, relaxing.

"Summer's Breath" is another short track with acoustic guitar and a soft environment of kids playing, ocean waves, birds. It leads to "Catwalk" which really contrasts with the previous tracks, because this has a rockier and even bluesy sound. Both, its instrumental and its vocal passages are cool, though I have to admit this is not my favorite track of the album. Anyway, I like the changes and that the album did not follow a particular style in its entirety.

The last track is a 12-minute composition entitled "Turn This Island Earth", whose first two minutes are slow and atmospheric. Later vocals appear with some effects (I am not really fan of it) and the other instruments (and their respective musicians, of course) begin to built up the structure and offer those different moods, rhythms and passages. What I like of this track is its vertiginous changes in tempo and style that gives as a result an interesting modern progressive rock composition, no matter the roots and experience of the musicians. There is a two-second hiatus at minute seven, then the second part of the song begins with a pastoral and charming sound; later it produces more and more changes, it could even work for a film scene. In the end, it is a very good composition that let us know once again Hackett's compositional skills.

The album is really good, however, it is not one of their best, not even close, but it deserves 3.5 (rounded to 4) stars nevertheless.

Enjoy it!

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Blues with a feeling

Beyond The Shrouded Horizon is another good release from the ever prolific Steve Hackett. This one is not as good as 2009's Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth or 2003's excellent To Watch The Storms, but it is a good example of the kind of music that Steve has been doing pretty much since 1994's Guitar Noir. This means Rock with influences from Blues, Jazz, Folk, World and Classical music. While always eclectic, it is not necessarily progressive. He occasionally manages to fuse the various elements together into something genuinely new and exciting and when he does, Hackett can create really wonderful music. This time around I think that he has been slightly less good at that than on some other of his recent releases. Don't get me wrong though, this is a good album. But within such a vast and prodigious discography, Beyond The Shrouded Horizon does not stand out for me. It's just another good Steve Hackett album. If such great albums as Guitar Noir, To Watch The Storms and Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth did not exist however, who knows how impressed I might have been by this one?

Overall, this is an enjoyable and varied Rock album. I am personally not at all fond of straightforward Blues Rock and sadly Hackett insists on doing several such numbers on this album. There are also a couple of pure Classical guitar pieces. These function very well as pleasant interludes, but they are not very exciting in their own right. Prog fans are bound to get extra interested when they see that the closing track is nearly 12 minutes long. But if someone expects anything like a lost Genesis classic, they are bound to be disappointed by this otherwise decent and moderately progressive piece.

It is impressive that Steve manages to be so productive and release a steady stream of Rock albums, Classical albums, live albums and live DVDs. But there is always the risk that even his most loyal fans will eventually grow tired of even high quality products. I love Steve's music and have enjoyed pretty much every new release of his, but I feel that if he should continue releasing new studio albums at the current rate he ought to let his sound evolve a bit (preferably away from Blues Rock and toward Prog). Anyone familiar with Hackett's back catalogue is unlikely to be taken by surprise by Beyond The Shrouded Horizon despite its many fine qualities.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I astutely opted for the deluxe 2 CD set, as I was hoping for some less polished material. A tale of two sides, Steve Hackett has put together a package that offers up two differing edges to his craft, a song oriented series of compositions (Disc 1) and the more virtuoso displays on the second disc. I must state for the record (pun!) that I am totally in love with disc 2's constellation of pieces that cover all the cardinal points, a stellar performance that is a high point in his glorified career.

So I will start backwards if I may. The obviously four-part 'Four Winds' suite is exhilarating, Steve's fluid playing a joy to witness, phosphorescent guitar leads that rage and torture, screeching and reaching for the stars, lush with power and deep in emotion. Long-time colleague Roger King and new guy Benedict Fenner shine on piano, drum legend Simon Phillips and bass legend Chris Squire conspire to infuse some magic into the proceedings but Steve really steals the show on 'South' , delving into Phil Manzanera territory, a Latin- influenced experimental rock that can only astonish and satisfy. I mean, WOW! The man still has loads of creativity on the more musical side, of that there is no doubt. Then of course, on 'West', Steve whips out his stunning acoustic nylon guitar, which conjures such lovely medieval imagery. Gaga gaga gaga! How about some orchestral symphonics to keep the mood flowing? 'Pieds en L'Air' is a Peter Warlock composition of immense presence and power. This is followed by the brilliant 'She Said Maybe', a sassy 'n sultry piece that sounds almost like Return To Forever fusion, shimmering, glimmering and breathtaking. Steve really stretches out nicely, in a style that is not really has claim to fame, proving once again his mastery over the instrument and willingness to explore beyond the norm. 'Enter the Night' sounds like an arena-prog anthem, cheering crowd in the background, very 'sustain the thought' and inspired by Peter Pan. It has a more accessible tendency, a sing-along piece that breezes nicely. To highlight his open minded ness (after the Manzanera-DiMeola hints), Steve harkens back to the day in the early 70s when he was on Peter Banks' solo album 'The Two Sides of'' , dueling with a Dutch lad called Jan Akkerman of Focus. So it's quite befitting that a rendition of the classic 'Tommy' from the stellar 'Eruption' suite of Moving Waves album, though only too brief in my opinion. It would have been grand to have him play the whole bloody thing! 'Reconditioned Nightmare' closes the disc on a reworking of a recent Hackett style, a full-fledged anthemic instrumental. Disc 2 is a ***** collection without a doubt.

The original single disc release (and disc 1 of my package) has Steve in familiar territory, proposing his typically English method of progressive rock craftsmanship, best vehiculated by the lush 'Loch Lomond' with its Celtic overtones full of stunning contrasts where bruising guitar slashes and liberating pastels meet up for some rabble rousing. One must immediately introduce the presence of bass wunderkind Nick Beggs (who still has the weird Kajagoogoo hairdo), giving O'Toole's drumming even more basso profundo, in a style closer to Tony Levin. Check Beggs' sensuous bass work with Steve Howe, Kompendium and of course Steve Wilson's The Raven'. This master opener is followed by two polar opposite instrumentals, the brooding, almost violent 'The Phoenix Flown' and then the spectral liquidity of the very brief 'Wanderlust'. Slick methodology and smart pacing. On the lovely 'Til' These Eyes', Steve gives his finest vocal performance, a hushed voice that has definitely improved with age, wrapped in a gorgeous melody and a symphonic adornment. I have the feeling Steve has been listening to his fellow legend Phil Manzanera because 'Prairie Angel' has at first that epic Roxy Music ('Prairie Rose'?), later blended with some full tilt southern style boogie with beefy rhythms, mean drum bashing and slithering complexities. O'Toole does the vocals on the inspiring 'A Place Called Freedom' which has a different albeit commercial style, a very Irish feel, with a folky side that breeds hymn-like qualities. Steve's whopping guitar solo searches out the farthest horizons (he likes that word!) and sears the nodes with some sensual playing, sounding like Akkerman on the majestic Focus classic, 'Sylvia'. There is definitely some good vibes here, with lots of choir work, very nice indeed! 'Between the Sunset and the Coconut Palms' has John Hackett's voice on the lead, some seductive strings (viola and cello) which provoke stirring imagery, again very British, ornate, prim and proper, wot! Just to confuse the masses even more with the unexpected, Steve offers up a massive veer in style with the soaring 'Waking into Life', a comp loaded up with sitar-like sounds, oriental percussives and Amanda Lehmann's serene vocalizings. All of course carpeted by Hackett's patented lush effect-laden stylings and Townsend's bass clarinet, giving this an Egyptian feel. It should not surprise anyone then, that the next instrumental piece is called 'Two Faces of Cairo', where the Saharan feel continues unchecked, sweeping majesty, sweltering heat and passionate delivery. May Allah be praised with such evocative music! Highpoint for this disc! So upon returning from El Alamein, the lads return to Albion with a dedication to the 'English way', a sweeping melody that exalts all the feminine virtues and the love inspired within. 'Looking for Fantasy' is a memorable piece that has the classic hallmarks of crisp beauty, with seductive acoustic guitar ornaments and a hint of cello, recalling some breezy Californian and Tuscan escapades. 'Summer's Breath' is atypical minute long acoustic etude that we all know and love. One word= beautiful. In stark contrast, the bawdy 'Catwalk' recalls bluesier times, something out of classic Robin Trower's repertoire with some bad-ass rock 'n roll, featuring Squire on the bruising bass and Phillips banging away like some John Bonham ghost. The gentleman's collar gets hot and sweaty, Steve letting loose on his fiery guitar , swerving madly, cursing at the pain and bitching all the way to the awaiting bedroom , for some good old fashioned hard loving. Think Bad Company! Steve even does a good imitation of Paul Rodgers to boot! I need something to cool down and the closer certainly does the trick. The other major high point is the epic 11 minute + 'Turn This Island Earth', a track that has it all, fueled by tantalizing choppy vocals, ruminating bass and depth-charge drums, with a titanic chorus and stinging guitar forays, enslaved to a delirious pace, a race to the checkered flag of a successful album, certainly one of his best recorded statements yet. The 'Greensleeves' hint is utterly delightful!

It must be said that I vastly prefer Hackett's instrumental work, over his vocal song oriented material. It's just me and my fascination for his creative flair technically, because many have wrongly stated that his style is too limited to effect pedals and long sustained notes. Wrong! The guy has never been more prolific with Kompendium and Genesis Revisited mark II, plus this special release! Do strive to get the deluxe 2 cd set, you would be severely missing out on the complete package!

4.5 Veiled Panoramas

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars It's mindblowing to me that my second favorite Steve Hackett album was released 32 years after my favorite of his solo albums (Spectral Mornings) and 40 years after his first relevant recording (as Genesis' guitarist on Nursery Cryme). Yes, I think it's a better album than Acolyte; it won't satisfy people looking for "pure" progressive rock in the way that album would, but as a demonstration and celebration of Steve's multiple preferred forms of musical expression, it's hard to beat. Interestingly, all of the tracks also contain writing credits for Roger King (producer and keyboardist) and Jo Hackett (his new wife; he'd divorced Kim Poor a few years earlier), and while I don't know how much input they actually had (I'd guess Roger had a lot, and Jo some, though I might be wrong), their input clearly didn't hurt things.

To be honest, for as much as I like this album, I don't really love how it begins. The first couple of minutes of "Loch Lomond," after the great guitar and keyboard sounds that kick it off, are built around a stiff and leaden old-man hard rock riff, and if the entire track had been built around this things might have been problematic. Fortunately, this riff eventually takes its place as a mere supporting element of the track, popping out intermittently from a Scottish-tinged acoustic ballad, full of nice melody and arrangement twists. Following this mixed bag of an opener, we enter an extended stretch that has to rank up there with Hackett's best. "The Phoenix Flown" is a two-minute instrumental with Hackett doing his minimalist-yet-fluid electric guitar thing as well as ever, "Wanderlust" is a nice 45-second acoustic interlude, and then we come to the main attractions of the album. "'Til These Eyes" is an AMAZING acoustic ballad; the build from the verses into the "'Til these eyes have seen enough" parts, ending with "'Til these eyes have seen love," strikes me as pop perfection. I don't like to break out "if you don't like such-and-such track then I can't understand you and your musical taste" comments very often, but if you don't like "'Til These Eyes" then I can't understand you and your musical taste.

"Prairie Angel" (which features writing credits from Steve Howe and old GTR drummer Jonathan Mover) and "A Place Called Freedom" are indexed as separate tracks, but they're really two parts of the same piece, and I can't imagine listening to one without the other. "Prairie Angel" starts with a nearly perfect (to my ears) set of slowly unfolding and rising guitar lines, before bursting into an AWESOME set of bluesy guitar riffs (eventually featuring Steve on harmonica), which in turn segue into "A Place Called Freedom." I don't especially care for the chorus/title (I've always had a weird instinctual allergy to tracks with the word "freedom" in the title, with some exceptions), though it makes for a nice climax every time it pops up, but the rest of track is amazing. The way the track effortlessly moves between the folksy/country-ish acoustic-guitar-driven verses, the breaks after the chorus (with a slow guitar line over an underpinning acoustic guitar part that brings to mind "Carpet Crawlers" in a good way), and the main ideas of "Prairie Angel" leaves me wanting to hear the track (and its predecessor) over and over, and the extended outro only makes this urge stronger. It's a shame such a great pair of tracks ended up on an album so (relatively) few people will ever hear; I guarantee that if U2 had done this track (which wouldn't be fully out of the realm of possibility) it would be universally beloved.

Anything after this stretch can't help but be a small letdown, but it's only a small one. "Between the Sunset and the Coconut Palms" is a nice atmospheric acoustic ballad about taking a boat into the horizon, and it's an effective low-key respite from the overpowering beauty of "Prairie Angel"/"A Place Called Freedom." "Waking to Life" is another of Steve's incorporations of ambiguously foreign music into his core style, and the combination of the catchy-as-hell verses (culminating in the great "and I've never seen your face before") hook and all of the frenetic instrumental parts a la "Last Train to Istanbul" make it every bit as fun as, say, "Last Train" or "A Doll That's Made in Japan." "Two Faces of Cairo" is an instrumental that Steve wrote while visiting the Sphinx, and while it's definitely a little directionless and primarily geared towards atmosphere, it's fine enough atmosphere for me.

"Looking for Fantasy" is another instance (see: "Camino Royale") of Steve writing a song where part of the song came from a dream (this time a dream where he heard Jimi Hendrix singing this melody), and it's yet another of Steve's nice atmospheric ballads, about looking for meaning in things that aren't really grounded in reality (best line: "In an open top car the Kennedys passed by/To this day she swears that Jack gave her the eye"). "Summer's Breath" is another nice acoustic snippet (probably no better than the average track on Bay of Kings or Momentum, but as I've always said, it's better to have these tracks surrounded by tracks of other styles), "Catwalk" is decent pounding mid-tempo blues (with Chris Squire on bass), and finally we come to the conclusion, "Turn This Island Earth." At first it seems like it's going to be something irritatingly faux-majestic in a queasy "Valley of the Kings" sort of way, which doesn't seem promising for a 12-minute track, but these parts turn out just to be an extended introduction, and for a while the rest of the track is decent enough. An atmospheric distorted vocal slowly fades in, the song takes shape, there's a synth part playing what had been the bluesy riff from "Prairie Angel" (interestingly, this track also has a Steve Howe/Jonathan Mover credit, so I have to assume the bluesy riff is the GTR leftover that prompted the credit), and eventually the bluesy riff becomes the center of an extended instrumental bit, before the song then basically becomes a dumping ground for various ideas (such as a snippet that could have been the center of a nice McCartney-ish ballad). Truth be told, on first listen I was almost ready to call this my favorite track, but now I consider it a relatively weak point, and enough to keep me from giving the album an even higher grade.

In addition to the standard release, there was also a 2-CD special edition version, and that's the one I have, so I'll briefly mention the contents. It's only about half an hour, and it's clearly not an essential addition to the album, but I like the disc for the most part. The first four tracks are part of an instrumental suite called "Four Winds," with the four parts naturally called "North," "South," "East" and "West," and while none of the parts show Hackett at his very best, they're nice for somebody who generally enjoys this era of his career. "Pieds En L'Air" is an odd inclusion, in that it's a strings-only cover of a song by an old Welsh composer who went by the pseudonym Peter Warlock; it's weird to have a track on a Steve Hackett album that doesn't involve Hackett at all, but I have to assume that the piece meant a lot to Steve, so I don't begrudge him throwing it on. "She Said Maybe" isn't an amazing guitar-driven instrumental, but it's a decent one; I wouldn't have minded having it on the main album. "Enter the Night" is a reworking of "Depth Charge"/"Riding the Colossus" to finally give it vocals, and honestly the track finally sounds finished; it was always a good instrumental, but here it feels like it finally reached its full low-key 80s-arena rock (if such a genre can be low-key) potential. "Eruption: Tommy" is an instrumental snippet from an old Focus (one of the lesser-known 70s prog bands) that depicted, sure enough, the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, and it fits in well with Steve's gifts as a guitarist. And finally, "The Reconditioned Nightmare" is slight reworking, in a live context, of "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare" (from Cured, remember that one?), and it's every bit as much goofy fun here as it was before.

So ok, it's not as polished as Spectral Mornings is, and while there was a brief time where I thought it might be my favorite Hackett album, that time has passed and won't return (the decline in my feelings towards "Turn This Island Earth" is the biggest reason). If that's the extent of criticism I can give, though, then I can't help but have a lot of good feelings towards this album. If you're somebody who only has Voyage and/or Acolyte, and you're looking for a place to start getting into Steve's later studio albums, this or Tunnel is the place to start.

Review by Second Life Syndrome
5 stars So, my Genesis-fanatic younger brother told me that Steve Hackett is basically that "dude from Genesis that no one actually liked". So, I avoided his solo career for a while, but I'm glad I finally gave him a chance. "Beyond the Shrouded Horizon" is a great album that I feel falls just short of 5 star status.

The album opens with the stunning "Loch Lomond" that I feel sets up the style for the rest of the album. We get the expected awesome guitar work that isn't just 'technical" but is also amazingly well written and even "epic". However, this stellar guitar work is set against a backdrop of ethereal, atmospheric vocals and rhythms. I simply love this combination: It is so pleasing to hear the opening track with its great jams slowly transition into "Til These Eyes", a simply beautiful ballad.

As the album progresses, we get hints of Pink Floyd and obviously Genesis, but I really can't say this album sounds like anyone else in particular. From the different male and female vocals to the more abstract tracks, Hackett certainly outdid himself presenting us with an almost spiritual journey of earthy proportions. I'm certainly glad I gave this newer album a try, and I look forward to his future endeavors. My lesson? Never listen to my brother.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Steve came with one of the most versatile albums of his career: Rather than following a certain music concept/story, we have a mixed bag of classical guitar, progressive rock, arena rock, blues rock and plenty of great instrumentals. Progressive influences are sometimes present, sometimes supress ... (read more)

Report this review (#2339671) | Posted by sgtpepper | Monday, March 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm afraid I very much disagree with the previous members review of thIs album. To me, this is a body of work that is up there with classics like Spectral Mornings and Please Don't Touch. From the atmospheric Loch Lomond to the spine-tingling The Phoenix Flown and the heart-warming Prairie A ... (read more)

Report this review (#790239) | Posted by Timbo61 | Wednesday, July 18, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I have always been a great admirer and fan of my guitar playing compatriot Steve Hackett. I have supported his faux pas on "Highly Strung" and "Till We have Faces". Everything about this new album sounded very promising, until the cd entered my player. The booklet promised a splendid symphonic ... (read more)

Report this review (#769119) | Posted by Whistler | Monday, June 11, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars There is very little on this album that is not on any previous Hackett albums, but at the same time listening to it is highly satisfying. Hackett has definitely found his particular niche. The acoustic and electric mix we are used to hearing are not separated much, but rather many of the son ... (read more)

Report this review (#767897) | Posted by Progosopher | Friday, June 8, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars After the more than excellent double disc live album "Rails", I was convinced that Steve Hackett was on the move again and so when I heard that he released his new album "Beyond the Shrouded Horizon", I bought it immediately. I even bought the deluxe double disc set. Putting the first disc i ... (read more)

Report this review (#623126) | Posted by Dutchman | Monday, January 30, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Well, what a varied set of reviews we have here. And even though I don't agree with some parts of each review, on the whole, they are right on the spot. So, I won't go into a long review, just a summation of previous, and my own thoughts. I believe this to be the best work Steve Hackett has do ... (read more)

Report this review (#597201) | Posted by tmay102436 | Tuesday, December 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Hackett continues to merge all kinds of sounds, acoustic and electronic. Orchestral elements are present in almost all songs, particularly strings backing up. The sound of the drums varies more than ususal which is welcome, but too often it's very processed and muffled in character. All songs h ... (read more)

Report this review (#573138) | Posted by wilmon91 | Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I think of Steve Hackett as the Artillery man from 'The War of the Worlds', because when he left Genesis it was so that he could create soundscapes away from the restrictions of being in a band. But has he ever delivered? Personally, I'd say no, although the ride has had its moments... So h ... (read more)

Report this review (#550195) | Posted by sussexbowler | Friday, October 14, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A fine album. Not at all disappointing or a let down; however neither is it in anyway particularly special. There are some great moments, especially I found on the songs on the first half of the album. As we go deeper into it, the music becomes less interesting and appealing. I was very much look ... (read more)

Report this review (#535774) | Posted by TrickedTail | Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Doin' the Foxtrot since 1971 and Hackett raises the notch again! With the new found groove that Steve Hackett has maintained over his last 4 solo albums, it's no surprise that this is one of his best albums to date. It seems finally he has progressed passed the mundane that some of his older ... (read more)

Report this review (#534781) | Posted by morgazmo | Tuesday, September 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In recent years, Steve Hackett has been putting out some of the best albums of his career. His vocals have improved tremendously since the days of Cured and Highly Strung, and his guitar playing is still as good as ever. How does this new release compare to the likes of To Watch the Storms and Out o ... (read more)

Report this review (#533924) | Posted by 1970sgenesisfan | Monday, September 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Still going strong. Steve Hackett is one of the veterans in the scene. It seems he is not interested in just hanging around, living of the plaudits he receive for Firth Of Fifth and his other Genesis contributions. Not to mention his previous work. Hence this album. An album that is wide in it' ... (read more)

Report this review (#532997) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, September 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Since my interest in Hackett's output was resurrected about a year back I've learned that, from Darktown onwards, there is usually something to excite which gives every album merit, but also plenty to frustrate. I've also learned that you can generally be sure there will be a diversity of musica ... (read more)

Report this review (#532034) | Posted by oldcrow | Sunday, September 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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