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NOT THE WEAPON BUT THE HAND (WITH RICHARD BARBIERI)

Steve Hogarth

Crossover Prog


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Steve Hogarth Not The Weapon But The Hand (with Richard Barbieri) album cover
3.60 | 52 ratings | 5 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Red Kite (7:25)
2. A Cat with Seven Souls (5:49)
3. Naked (6:14)
4. Crack (4:47)
5. Your Beautiful Face (6:47)
6. Only Love Will Make You Free (8:10)
7. Lifting the Lid (6:01)
8. Not the Weapon but the Hand (1:25)

Total time 46:38

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

Steve Hogarth
Richard Barbieri
Danny Thompson
Arran Ahmun
Chris Maitland
Dave Gregory

Thanks to mamotokaderate for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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STEVE HOGARTH Not The Weapon But The Hand (with Richard Barbieri) ratings distribution


3.60
(52 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
8%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
55%
Good, but non-essential (29%)
29%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

STEVE HOGARTH Not The Weapon But The Hand (with Richard Barbieri) reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Although classified on the site as a Steve Hogarth solo work, it must be stressed that this is a collaboration between Hogarth, Marillion's lead singer since 1989, and Richard Barbieri, the keyboardist with Porcupine Tree. Barbieri did, in fact, guest on Hogarth's excellent solo debut, Ice Cream Genius, but this is the product of joint efforts. It should also be stressed that people reading this expecting me to describe a work bringing the best of these two excellent bands into one glorious Marillion meets PT will be somewhat disappointed, for this excellent album bears hardly any resemblance to the duo's day jobs, which I state as a good thing. In fact, much here actually bears more of a resemblance to one of Barbieri's previous acts, Japan. Throw in some other interesting guest spots, notably Dave Gregory of XTC (who also appeared on Ice Cream Genius) and Chris Maitland on drums, and what you have here is something rather unique.

This album has, perhaps surprisingly for what are the loyalist bunch of fans on God's earth, attracted a bit of sharp criticism on the Marillion fan forum, with one correspondent going so far as to describe it as boring. Is it? No. What it is is thoughtful, complex, at turns deeply dark and disturbing, and at others uplifting, but never anything less than interesting for those who appreciate something a bit different.

I love the opener, Red Kite. This is a very strong piece of music, and one that, perhaps, resonates with me strongly as a resident of Wales. For this magnificent bird was wiped out in my country for many years until its reintroduction, with special status, a few years ago, and it is thankfully now thriving, spreading all over the gorgeous Welsh countryside. The keyboards and Hogarth's lyrics beautifully and poignantly describe the majesty of this wonderful creature, I personally have spent many a moment watching this bird "hanging in the air" whilst allowing the world to rush by, and the lyrical and musical interpretation of these moments is spot on.

A Cat With Seven Souls follows, featuring a pulsating bass line and interesting sound effects providing an almost dreamy/trancy backdrop to a track which reminds me of Japan to a degree, and is a meditational dialogue. The distorted riff and vocals at the close are rather disturbing.

Naked is another slow burner, and deeply reflective. I take the lyrics to mean bearing one's own soul, rather than a stripping of the physical form. The "don't let them see me like this" passage is very dark, and the piano, especially, reflects this mood very well. The alto pitch accompanying comes across as a cry for help. The track fades out to percussive and synth sound effects, somewhat exhausted after the crescendo that preceded.

Crack steps up the tempo, with something as far removed from Marillion & Porcupine Tree as it is possible to get. A song with the blues at its heart, with Hogarth's voice distorted at times to add a menacing undertone, as he invites his subject to leave. This is a very complex piece of music, whose riffy late section needs to be played very loudly in the dark to get the full benefit. The close is mesmerising with urgent bass and drums vying against a chant.

Your Beautiful Face is a highlight of the album, and it's lyrical core. The guitar work is deceptively simple, sublimely backing a spoken lyric prior to the main section kicking in. The tone of the song at this stage is, to me, more upbeat, and I believe it to be a love song, speaking of happy, loving, times, prior to the close where it becomes deeply reflective on past beauty and the hand which destroyed that beauty. Essentially a love poem set against music, this is thoughtful and quite unlike virtually anything else you will hear this year.

The longest track on the album is Only Love Will Make You Free, clocking in a over eight minutes long. The start reminds me of a Talking Heads track whose name I forget, but then develops into a piece which is perhaps the closest to a "traditional" Marillion song, circa Marillion.Com or Anoraknophobia. Even so, saying this, it is hard to imagine the band themselves performing it in the fashion presented here. I love the lyrics, imploring us and the world to reject war, hate, and pain, and embrace love. The vocal effects on top of the lyrics are deeply complex and lifting, and the symphonic keys set against a throbbing rhythm give rise to easily the most upbeat track on the album. After a few listens, the true beauty of the track really shines through, and there is one hell of a lot going on in here. There is a passage which, by contrast, is dark and forbidding before the main section kicks in again to close the track, lifting spirits once more.

Lifting The Lid is experimental, strange, and full of sound effects. I can only describe it as New Age music for the 2010's, with some lovely ambient soundscapes being created and, for once on the album, I don't feel that Hogarth's vocal lead really matches this. I know, it's a sin to say it, but this might have been a more effective track had it been left as an instrumental with the more effective vocal effects left in. It is, also, extremely dark as a piece of music.

The short closer, the title track, returns us to the reflective passage of Your Beautiful Face, at old age, well past beauty, with the hand that fired the deed, not the weapon itself, truly responsible.

So, who would this album appeal to?

Well, certainly if you are not a fan of Steve Hogarth already, this album will do nothing to convert you. Also, if you are looking to get laid with a new partner tonight, this might not be the best album to play him/her.

It is a deep and complex affair, but one that is rewarded with repeated listens. It is a collaboration between two of modern progressive rock's finest exponents and minds. Just don't go exploring the inside of those minds too much. What you find might not, I feel, be to your liking, as this is, in the main, very dark.

Four stars for this album. It is excellent. It is different. It is a sight better than you might first imagine, and fans of eclectic prog, certainly Hamill and VDGG might find a lot to enjoy here.

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Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#646744) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 05, 2012

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars In progressive rock circles, you'll have a tough time finding too many modern acts adored as much as Marillion and Porcupine Tree. Both bands have rightfully earned massive cult followings over the past roughly three decades, and a collaboration between the lead singer from one and the keyboard player from the other is bound to be met with some high expectations - enter Not The Weapon But The Hand, an album released in early 2012 with the names Steve Hogarth and Richard Barbieri on the cover. Although I wasn't even aware of this collaboration until stumbling upon a review after its release (most likely due to ignorance on my part!), I immediately had to check it out as both of these musicians have become favorites of mine over the past few years. Not The Weapon But The Hand had some high expectations from my end, and although it's vastly different from what most listeners may expect from Steve Hogarth and Richard Barbieri, the result is stunning nonetheless.

For those unfamiliar with the names in question, Steve Hogarth has been the lead singer of progressive rock act Marillion since 1989, and Richard Barbieri played in Japan for numerous years before joining Porcupine Tree in 1993. Hogarth and Barbieri have worked together before on Hogarth's 1997 solo album Ice Cream Genius, but this is the first formal collaboration between these two musicians. We're obviously dealing with experienced and extremely gifted performers just by those credentials alone, but Not The Weapon But The Hand adds a whole new chapter into their extensive musical histories. This is a mature, moody, and introspective work of brilliance that will take quite a bit of time to sink in for those without the patience to appreciate the deep songwriting and intricate atmospheres presented throughout this bold artistic statement.

Make no mistake - Not The Weapon But The Hand is not by any means a mix of the progressive alt. rock of recent Marillion and the heavy space prog of newer Porcupine Tree efforts, and those going in with those types of expectations will likely be disappointed. Not The Weapon But The Hand is not 'prog' in a traditional sense; I'd venture to say that this album instead represents a meeting point between new age, ambient, progressive rock, and alternative rock, with a heavy emphasis on the 'ambient' portion. Not The Weapon But The Hand isn't an aggressive sounding album by any stretch, and nearly the entire observation focuses on creating dreamy atmospherics and mesmerizing soundscapes. Those who consider themselves fans of Lunatic Soul (an ambient rock project from Riverside's Mariusz Duda) should equally enjoy what Steve Hogarth and Richard Barbieri have crafted on Not The Weapon But The Hand.

Albums that aim most of their focus towards atmospherics and subtle compositions tend to be a mixed bag for me, but Not The Weapon But The Hand is an example of how such an approach sounds when done right. Steve Hogarth's vocals are as expressive, emotional, and gut-wrenching as we've come to expect from him, and Richard Barbieri's multi-layered and meticulously thoughtful keyboard arrangements never allow the compositions to sink into 'background music'. While Not The Weapon But The Hand is an excellent listen for relaxation or meditation, it also serves as an exceptional 'headphone' album for those looking for a soothing album that still challenges the mind. The almost inhumanly pure sound production suits the beautiful nature of the compositions perfectly, with the spot-on mixing never sounding off by even the slightest degree. Every time I've ever listened to Not The Weapon But The Hand, I've been by myself with a pair of good headphones and roughly 45 minutes to kill in a quiet room - this isn't an album for all occasions by any stretch, but I can't think of very many albums that I'd want to hear before this one when it comes to a solitary, meditative experience.

Alongside Hogarth and Barbieri, there are also a handful of guest musicians that, while not nearly as prominent, exceed their call of duty. The clever basslines from Danny Thompson and Dave Gregory (who also provides some nice atmospheric guitar work and string arrangements) and the subtle drum parts provided by Arran Ahmun and Chris Maitland help make the compositions feel even more dynamic and fully realized; when these instruments do appear, they truly are integral parts of the music.

Of course, none of this would matter if the compositions were dry and lifeless, but thankfully the exact opposite is true. Not The Weapon But The Hand is an extremely personal and emotional album, both musically and lyrically, and the songs thrive on strong melodic foundations and remarkable arrangements. Songs like "Red Kite", "Your Beautiful Face", and "Only Love Will Make You Free" especially stand out - it's very easy to lose yourself in the multi-layered soundscapes of these tracks in particular. The rest of this rather thematic album also maintains a similar level of quality; Not The Weapon But The Hand is a great listen from start to finish, and the only way to experience everything the album has to offer is in one focused listen. It's tough to do an observation with this much attention to detail any justice at all without providing it with your full, undivided attention.

After enjoying Not The Weapon But The Hand for months now, I finally found it appropriate to write my thoughts down in the form of a review. For some reason or another, this album has slipped under the radar of most prog listeners, but hopefully my words have convinced at least one person to go out and buy it. Although it may be different from what many may expect from Steve Hogarth and Richard Barbieri, the end result is nothing short of stunning. Not The Weapon But The Hand is quite simply one of the best fusions of new age atmospherics and progressive rock complexity that I've ever heard.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#786218) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Latest members reviews

4 stars Steve Hogarth (Marillion) and Richard Barbieri (Japan, Porcupine Tree) worked previously in the first solo album of Steve h. "Ice Cream Genious", that time Barbieri only participated as a guest musician, this type they worked together as a duo and the result is really nice. Not the weapon But ... (read more)

Report this review (#1020538) | Posted by Memo_anathemo | Monday, August 19, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Before Not the Weapon but the Hand was released, I read somewhere that Hogarth and Barbieri described their collaborative album as, "go[ing] beyond what you might expect from the two of us." Despite the duo's claim, this release was almost exactly what I was expecting from the union of PT's ke ... (read more)

Report this review (#748037) | Posted by The Willow Farmer | Thursday, May 03, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Back in 1989 my brother bought me a casette of 'Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe'. It was a revelation, and made me realise that the eighties (for me at least) had been a waste of time musically. ABWH was, of course, 'classic' (sort of) Yes, but more importantly, the SOUND of Prog... Moving o ... (read more)

Report this review (#659535) | Posted by sussexbowler | Thursday, March 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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