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STEVE HACKETT

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Steve Hackett biography
GUITAR BASED MUSIC WITH VARIOUS STYLES
(Blues, Classical, Folk, Jazz, New Age and Progressive Rock)


Steve HACKETT needs no introduction. He is definitely one of the major guitarists of this century. Ex-GENESIS, he is now a major force in the domain of music composed for guitar, rock as well as classical. Steve is a complex musician, drawing influence from a wide variety of styles and melding them into super compositions. His music has evolved over the years, and while some of it was not up to the standards that he set with other albums. They are still excellent.

HACKETT joined GENESIS as guitarist in early 1971 and featured across ten albums of their history. He replaced Anthony PHILLIPS, and stayed with the band during their successful mid-70s progressive rock period. I remember once reading that, if GENESIS lost their "brains" when Peter GABRIEL left, then they surely lost their "heart" when Steve left. In a way, it is easy to see how HACKETT was "crowded out" of Genesis in 1977. From "Nursery Crime" in 1971 to the double-live "Seconds Out" in 1977, he created in his solo albums his own style, dominated by his guitars, sometimes very classical or at times furious. His tracks go from a symphonic Progressive style to a more energetic rock.

From the first album "Voyage Of The Acolyte" while he was still with GENESIS to his most recent ones, all are MUSTS. For the most part, all of the compositions on HACKETT's first five solo albums are well-thought-out and impeccably well crafted. I would highly recommend "Voyage of the Acolyte" (missing GENESIS album), "Please Don't Touch" (powerful), his TRADEMARK "Spectral Mornings" (pure magic), "Defector" (another amazing album by Steve), and "Cured" (pop-oriented). This, along with "Time Lapse", "The Unauthorised Biography", "Guitar Noir", "Darktown" and "To Watch The Storms", are the best for people curious about the HACKETT "feel". However I believe these are his bests - it could rightly be called "THE HISTORY OF MUSIC ACCORDING TO STEVE HACKETT." Get them ALL...and HAPPY LISTENING!!!

Discography with GENESIS (1971-1982):
1971 - Nursery Crime
1972 - Foxtrot
1973 - Live
1973 - Selling England By The Pound
1974 - Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
1976 - Wind and Wuthering
1976 - Trick of the Tail
1977 - Seconds Out
1982 - Three Sides Live

Discography with GTR (YES guitarist Steve HOWE)
1986 - GTR

Steve Hackett official website

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The Total Experience Live In LiverpoolThe Total Experience Live In Liverpool
Inside Out Music 2016
Audio CD$22.96
Voyage of the AcolyteVoyage of the Acolyte
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Caroline World Service 2006
Audio CD$4.77
$5.37 (used)
Genesis Revisited IIGenesis Revisited II
Inside Out 2012
Audio CD$13.19
$13.18 (used)
5 Classic Albums5 Classic Albums
Box set · Import
Imports 2016
Audio CD$24.99
The Total Experience Live In Liverpool [Blu-ray]The Total Experience Live In Liverpool [Blu-ray]
Inside Out Music 2016
Blu-ray$19.98
WolflightWolflight
Inside Out Music 2015
Audio CD$8.67
$6.95 (used)
Spectral Mornings: Deluxe EditionSpectral Mornings: Deluxe Edition
Import
Imports 2016
Audio CD$31.99
Please Don't Touch : Deluxe EditionPlease Don't Touch : Deluxe Edition
Import
Imports 2016
Audio CD$31.99
Premonitions: Charisma Recordings 1975-83Premonitions: Charisma Recordings 1975-83
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$125.62
$134.52 (used)
Highly StrungHighly Strung
Import · Extra tracks · Remastered
Charisma/Virgin 2007
Audio CD$6.04
$4.53 (used)
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Steve Hackett The Tokyo Tapes 2 CD album (Double CD) UK CAMCD15 CAMINO 1997 USD $25.67 Buy It Now 12h 12m
Steve Hackett Momentum UK CD album (CDLP) CAMCD10 CAMINO 2001 USD $22.74 Buy It Now 12h 12m
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STEVE HACKETT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STEVE HACKETT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.22 | 1117 ratings
Voyage Of The Acolyte
1975
3.58 | 478 ratings
Please Don't Touch!
1978
4.16 | 695 ratings
Spectral Mornings
1979
3.65 | 381 ratings
Defector
1980
2.39 | 255 ratings
Cured
1981
2.95 | 215 ratings
Highly Strung
1982
3.35 | 203 ratings
Bay of Kings
1983
2.28 | 174 ratings
Till We Have Faces
1984
3.12 | 143 ratings
Momentum
1988
3.26 | 187 ratings
Guitar Noir
1993
2.92 | 111 ratings
Blues with a Feeling
1994
3.39 | 276 ratings
Genesis Revisited
1996
3.60 | 144 ratings
A Midsummer Night's Dream
1997
3.80 | 253 ratings
Darktown
1999
3.47 | 120 ratings
Sketches of Satie
2000
2.54 | 106 ratings
Feedback 86
2000
3.77 | 329 ratings
To Watch The Storms
2003
3.61 | 160 ratings
Metamorpheus
2005
3.77 | 268 ratings
Wild Orchids
2006
3.57 | 90 ratings
Tribute
2008
3.66 | 311 ratings
Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth
2009
3.86 | 371 ratings
Beyond The Shrouded Horizon
2011
3.89 | 430 ratings
Genesis Revisited II
2012
3.81 | 300 ratings
Wolflight
2015

STEVE HACKETT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.78 | 67 ratings
Time Lapse
1992
3.91 | 51 ratings
There Are Many Sides To The Night
1994
3.97 | 126 ratings
The Tokyo Tapes
1998
4.52 | 68 ratings
Live Archives 70,80,90s
2000
4.14 | 7 ratings
Somewhere In South America... - Live In Buenos Aires
2002
4.25 | 4 ratings
Hungarian Horizons
2003
4.79 | 5 ratings
Live Archive NEARfest
2003
4.14 | 18 ratings
Live Archive 03
2004
4.33 | 21 ratings
Live Archive 04
2004
3.65 | 18 ratings
Live Archive 05
2005
2.74 | 16 ratings
Live Archive 83
2006
4.33 | 92 ratings
Rails Live
2010
4.46 | 88 ratings
Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith
2013
4.04 | 53 ratings
Genesis Revisited : Live at The Royal Albert Hall
2014
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Total Experience Live In Liverpool
2016

STEVE HACKETT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 21 ratings
Horizons (DVD)
1990
3.65 | 24 ratings
Spectral Mornings (DVD)
1999
4.12 | 54 ratings
The Tokyo Tapes (DVD)
2001
4.22 | 43 ratings
Somewhere In South America... - Live In Buenos Aires
2002
4.00 | 30 ratings
Hungarian Horizons (DVD)
2003
4.35 | 73 ratings
Once Above A Time (DVD)
2004
3.21 | 9 ratings
Live Legends
2004
4.75 | 8 ratings
Estival Jazz Lugano
2009
3.98 | 35 ratings
Live - Fire & Ice
2011
4.00 | 4 ratings
The Bremen Broadcast - Musikladen 8th November 1978
2013

STEVE HACKETT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.82 | 28 ratings
The Unauthorised Biography
1992
4.56 | 9 ratings
Guitare Classique
2001
3.44 | 22 ratings
Genesis Files
2002
2.93 | 21 ratings
Genesis Revisited II: Selection
2013
4.67 | 3 ratings
Premonitions: The Charisma Recordings 1975-1983
2015

STEVE HACKETT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.40 | 5 ratings
Ace of Wands
1975
2.50 | 4 ratings
How Can I?
1978
2.29 | 5 ratings
Narnia
1978
3.10 | 12 ratings
Clocks
1979
3.33 | 3 ratings
Every Day
1979
2.57 | 6 ratings
The Show
1980
2.00 | 3 ratings
Sentimental Institution
1980
2.13 | 4 ratings
Hope I Don't Wake
1981
2.50 | 2 ratings
Picture Postcard
1981
2.64 | 12 ratings
Cell 151
1983
3.00 | 3 ratings
A Doll That's Made in Japan
1984
2.00 | 1 ratings
Timeless
1994
3.04 | 6 ratings
Your Own Special Way
1996
2.50 | 2 ratings
Days Of Long Ago
1999
3.00 | 2 ratings
Brand New
2003
2.00 | 2 ratings
Man In The Long Black Coat
2006
2.09 | 3 ratings
Til These Eyes
2012
2.00 | 2 ratings
Spectral Mornings
2015

STEVE HACKETT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Please Don't Touch! by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.58 | 478 ratings

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Please Don't Touch!
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by Per Kohler

5 stars Go west young man. Off to L.A. and America. In common with his former band mate P. Gabriel, Hackett chose to seek foreign land to record his debut work as solo artist. The reason for this can be obvious. To force one's way out from the past and to do something entirely different. On PDT Hackett goes in for to sound as un-English as possible. Not Voyage of the Acolyte Part 2 but a jazz- and blues style. The director has not entirely forgotten his roots though. Bombastic sound pictures, frail clinks, dramatic effects, romantic adventures... All for your soul and mind. An extended 12-string intro paves the way for vocalist Steve Walsh. It could just as well have meant Hackett joining American top notch act Kansas. I have to admit that Steve Walsh isn't my fave singer of all time but here he fits perfectly. 'Narnia' is as fresh as a premiere danseuse at the opera.

On 'Carry On Up the Vicarage' Hackett sings duet with himself. The light voice is recorded at half speed while the bass- is as natural as Steve himself. 'Vicarage' is as good as anything to emanate from the Genesis camp. The accessibility of 'I Know What I Like', the whimsicality of 'Willow Farm'. Pure genius! Randy Crawford pops up shortly in the vocal section. The lyric is a tribute to Agatha Christie (wasn't she involved in 'And Then There Were None' as well??). 'Racing in A' is made up of 2 separate sections. Once again Steve Walsh on voice and he's just as convincing as on 'Narnia'. Tom Fowler sounds clinical on his highly discernable bass. That's the risk with solo albums; you pay an individual for a commission. Nothing more, nothing less. Someone said that 60% of all studio musicians only play for the money. Some very convincing strings lead to a sole classical guitar. If it didn't happen it wouldn't be Steve Hackett. To edit different sections isn't unique for popular music. It even occurs in classical music and symphony orchestras.

'Kim' seriously calms down the temper. Steve on acoustic and Brother John on flute. Dedicated to spouse Kim Poor who in due order is responsible for the album cover. Inspiration comes from a shop on Portobello Road (London) which is selling articles from Victorian times. On the back cover Steve is standing at Palace Pier in Brighton. If you want a richer instrumentation listen to the version on Bay of Kings. 'How Can I' with Richie Havens on vox is the most down-to-earth and laid-back inclusion on the album. Not the most advanced piece of lyric in history. You wouldn't believe it to be a Hackett composition for obvious reasons. 'Hoping Love Will Last' feels like the records central piece and it's worth the price of the album alone. It was rehearsed in Genesis with Phil on vocals but never included on W & W. Hackett had a desire to bring in a female vocalist in the Genesis recording too. Instead it ended up here with a so far rather unknown Randy Crawford. The piano chords move the song forward to the delightful string section. A mixture between real strings and guitar synth. The strings took two weeks to record as every violin part is dubbed a number of times. Also first time for Hackett as string arranger so it was rather strenuous. Also for Graham Smith from Van Der Graaf.

'Land of a Thousand Autumns' consists of acoustic- and multi-layered gtr synth. 'Please Don't Touch' is as you probably know by now one of the many leftovers from W & W. As an amalgam with 'Wot Gorilla' but only the latter was included. There were still a lot of instrumental work from Steve on the B-side of Wuthering but PDT had to wait to this very moment. John Hackett on flute, piccolo flute and bass pedals is just as important here as his elder brother. It would still be interesting to hear Collins render the work, to cite M Rutherford; - 'the only drummer who cares about the song'.

'The Voice of Necam' is high-tech with a vengeance. Tape loop vocals, a singer sings a tone for 8-10 seconds recorded on two different tape recorders. Then transferred to 24-channel and changes speed on the tape to obtain various tones on every channel. On 'Necam' the voices are even treated through computer(please note that this is the Stone Age 1978!). Final 'Icarus Ascending' is performed by Richie Havens. A moderate and deep voice of fine standard. Once again Hackett takes out his guitar synth and this time he wants to resemble a saxophone. If you listen to the tones in the solo towards the end of instrumental section (in the middle of the tune) you're able to discern this phenomena. Tape loop on the chorus, reggae rhythms and piccolo from Bro. John. A grand mixture!

Released almost simultaneously with 'And Then There Were Three' and followed by 'P.G.2' shortly afterwards, you can state that 1978 was a productive year for the former cohesive band. Remarkably and quite unique everything still on the same label. Why not pick your favorites and turn it into The Lamb Part 2?

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 Wolflight by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.81 | 300 ratings

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Wolflight
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by Progkid

5 stars This was my first introduction to the magical world of Steve Hackett.One day early in 2016 I was checking out good albums that I missed in 2015 and the cover of this album caught my attention. I knew who Hackett was so I decided to try it and boy I was surprised. Hackett is clearly a guitar virtuoso which is evident on this album. This album has great transition between classical acoustic guitar passages to heavy rock riffs and I must say I am impressed by his singing style which he uses to deliver stories. The title comes from the mystical blue light that appears just before the sun rises and is the time when wolfs go hunting. The first half of the album is particularly very strong and is filled with great tracks such as the title track and the lovely melodic track "Love Song To A Vampire" (his vocal work is superb in this one and the lyrics are well thought out like a poetry) . The Mighty Chris Squire plays bass in this track. The album has great use of orchestra too and has influences from world music. The production quality is great and I would recommend this to everyone. This is one of Hackett's strongest album. I had goosebumps while listening to this on a cold day. Stop reading this review and try it!

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 Voyage Of The Acolyte by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.22 | 1117 ratings

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Voyage Of The Acolyte
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by Ghost_of_Prog

4 stars Set between Gabriel's finale with the band and Genesis picking themselves back up (briefly) with A Trick of the Tail, Steve Hackett released his first solo album. Now Hackett was a team player, putting the band's interests above his own. His style and atmosphere (along with Tony Bank's keyboard skills) helped defined Genesis's sound, and he was even allowed to shine on his own a couple of times with pieces such as Horizons and After the Ordeal. However, Hackett's skills are truly allowed to shine when he takes the reins rather than sharing them with others, as Voyage of the Acolyte shows the world.

A popular nickname for this album is "the lost Genesis album," which was probably given because Hackett's band- mates Rutherford and Collins join him on this album. However, that title is really unfair towards Hackett. While it might be easy to lump it with the post-Gabriel album's, VotA sounds nothing like the preceding/post Gabriel albums. If anything, VotA is most reminiscent of Trespass, where Hackett was not present. It has both it's own unique energy and pastoral sound that is absent in his work with Genesis. This "lost" album is not lost because it has little connection with Genesis outside of band-members; this album is purely Hackett's child.

Ace of Wands lays the cards on the table. While Hackett's work with Genesis had him taking backstage to support everyone, he takes center stage and shows just what he can do with his skills. The song alternates between sheer energy and calming interludes all while maintaining a majestic atmosphere. Despite loving every bit of Hackett's guitar playing (both electric and acoustic), he shows that he is a musician first and guitarist second, by allowing multiple passages that feature no guitar but contribute to the wonder of the piece. Despite shining, Hackett maintains a sense of humility and does not allow his instrument to dominate at all times.

Hands of the Priestess opens with a quiet and mysterious melody on the acoustic guitar before the flutes come in to lull us into a euphoric state of mind. As a fan of the Zelda series, I noticed that the flute melody bares some resemblance to "Zelda's Lullaby." This beautiful piece lowers our guard before we are hit with A Tower Struck Down. Probably the oddest (and weakest) track on the album, it builds on a singular rhythm while bouncing back between strange sound effects which build up to a terrifying climax and then a somber conclusion. Listening to it, it tries to be the "rock" piece of the album but it both too odd and too soft to be that. An interesting piece, nonetheless, that leads us to conclude the HotP suite, which mixes the song's original melody with that of Ace of Wand's.

The similarities between the album and Trespass is seen the most in The Hermit, with its pastoral guitar, slightly distorted vocals, and beautifully somber finale. This is the first song on the album to feature vocals, and it's Hackett's no less. Star of Sirius is another treat, featuring the Trespass-like atmosphere with both jazz-tinged melodies and the opening track's unique energy. The cherry on top is Phil Collins on vocals, which works very well, unlike his first two songs with Genesis.

The Lovers acts as a prelude to the album's striking finale Shadow of the Hierophant. The song starts with alternating between a striking symphonic sound and Sally Oidfield's vocals backed up by beautiful acoustics. After a few rounds, Hackett gently crawls up with some ethereal electric guitar playing followed by a beautiful solo. While the first half is beautiful, the second half is darker and a lot more subtle. It starts off with one instrument playing a slightly off melody. As time progresses, more instruments come in to either play or support that melody before every instrument available comes in, closing the song and fading away. It took me quite a few listens to appreciate the latter half, but it was worth it. Despite how different the two parts are, one cannot exist without the other, as some later live albums prove.

A great start to one of progressive rock's (paradoxically) best and most underrated musicians. As for the rating, I feel like four stars is appropriate. While the album is fantastic, "A Tower Struck Down" is significantly weaker than the rest of the tracks and the album (with the exception of the last two songs) seems to be fixated on the melodies from Ace of Wands rather than wanting to create their own.

Still, a must have for any Genesis or 70's progressive rock fan.

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 Please Don't Touch! by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.58 | 478 ratings

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Please Don't Touch!
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by Booba Kastorsky

2 stars I remeber I listened to this album long time ago, and it didn't impress me at all. When Steven Wilson's remastered 5.1 version appeared, I decided to give it another try: maybe I missed something becasue I wasn't a prog head when I listened it in the past? Well, my impression didn't change. A good half of this album (first half, to be sure) is not a prog at all, just kind of AOR/pop-rock (and... Motawn), with a few nice moments when Steve plays acoustic guitar. Only last four tracks save this album from being "one star" opus. They are on par with Steve's first solo album, which is still his best, in my opinion. So we have 15 minutes of very goood to excellent music out of 38 minutes disk. 2.5 stars for me. I don't think it deserves Mr. Wilson's 5.1 treatment.

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 Wolflight by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.81 | 300 ratings

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Wolflight
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

3 stars This is one of the few modern prog albums in my collection, having picked it up only shortly after its release. And I will say that while I don't typically care for modern prog, this album was a pleasant surprise, though that probably owes to the fact that Steve Hackett isn't exactly a modern prog artist, having been playing for 40+ years. "Wolflight" is a collection of songs that Steve Hackett has written while traveling around the world, as described in the liner notes, and the variety of experiences Steve has had is certainly reflected in the eclectic style of the music.

There's plenty of different stuff on "Wolflight", from dramatic ballads like "Love Song To A Vampire" to rock and blues in "The Wheel's Turning" to the latin-esque "Earthshine". It also ranges from calm and serene in "Heart Song" to upbeat in "Loving Sea" to pseudo-metal in the title track. In terms of the sound of the album, much of the music comes across as sounding a lot more like Joe Satriani or Steve Vai than Hackett's Genesis. The production is smooth and clear and the performances are well-executed; Steve has clearly been in the business long enough to know how to lay down a quality album.

There isn't really any bad material on "Wolflight" and it makes for a good, reliable listening experience. However, there isn't really any memorable content, either. A good but non- essential album and a must-have for Hackett fans.

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 Wolflight by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.81 | 300 ratings

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Wolflight
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

3 stars It's always a little concerning when a veteran band or solo artist (and in Hackett's case, he was a veteran of about 45 years at this point) with a successful career behind them is actively proclaiming their latest album as possibly the best thing they'd ever done. With Hackett, his proclamations concerning Wolflight were at least a little more plausible than corresponding proclamations might have been from others, given the generally high quality of his later-period works, but while I was glad to see that Hackett had gotten back to making new solo material rather than milking Genesis Revisited II for the rest of his life, some nagging concerns took hold in my mind even before I saw that Hackett was hyping this up pretty hard. By this point, it had been a little while since Beyond the Shrouded Horizon and A Life Within a Day, and the thought crossed my mind that Hackett, in the midst of working on new material during his downtime between GR shows, would (a) get it into his head that he somehow needed to prove something with his new album (in order to counter the return of the "Oh he's the old guitarist for Genesis" persona that he'd spent most of his career trying so hard to avoid), and (b) would have had a little too much time to tinker with the material endlessly. I mean, while I'm a big fan of Beyond the Shrouded Horizon, a great deal of what I find charming about it is that it does not feel to me like somebody self-consciously trying to make a great album, and instead just sounds like the best product of Hackett's "hey this could sound neat" era. Well, Wolflight ends up bringing a lot of my fears to fruition, even if it's still a rather good album on the whole. In a weird way, it reminds me of Up by Peter Gabriel; not in how the music actually sounds, of course, but in the way that it sounds endlessly worked on in a way that makes me wonder if an earlier draft of the album might have sounded a bit better.

In terms of how this album actually sounds, it's still basically in the same vein as most typical late-period Hackett, but it also gives me the sense that Hackett listened to Voyage of the Acolyte a lot of times while making this and felt it necessary in some way to get back to his "pure" prog roots a bit more (another good comparison would be the long instrumental breaks in "Emerald and Ash"). The tracks that are meant to be medium-length "epics" tend to take pretty solid core material and pad them out with LOTS of long and complicated instrumental breaks that generally sound great for a little while but end up striking me as completely excessive, even though I'm generally partial to such things. "Wolflight" starts off with some great Mid-Eastern-tinged guitar flourishes (and then bits that sound like they're out of the soundtrack to a Tim Burton movie) before going into a nice anthem/ballad cross that sounds like typical solid late-period Hackett (lots of acoustic guitar, lots of orchestra-ish synths), but the guitar-driven passages, as entertaining as they might be at any given individual moment, are just too much of a good thing. The 9-minute "Love Song to a Vampire" is damned beautiful and atmospheric and decadent in the main song portion, but again, there's too much song and too many instrumental breaks that are too similar in overall effect to hold my attention for the whole length. "Corycian Fire" starts off quiet and mystic, but then it turns into something pretty close to "A Life Within a Day" in terms of trying to milk the vibe of "Kashmir" pretty hard, and while I like the speedy licks that underpin the final passage, I find the bombastic choir pretty ridiculous.

Not all of the longer tracks make me feel this uneasy, fortunately. "The Wheel's Turning" starts off with a goofy dark dose of circus music like something off of To Watch the Storms or Wild Orchids, and it morphs into a surprisingly memorable and cheery song, but instead of trying to wreck the rest of the song, the instrumental passages are varied enough in a fun way (complete with a great and all-too-brief harmonica break) to make me enjoy it a lot. "Black Thunder" alternates between quiet and graceful passages, on the one hand, and pounding hard rock licks (with a really fascinating guitar sound in its best moments), on the other, and while it probably shouldn't last more than seven minutes, it's still a lot of fun. And the closing combination of "Dust and Dreams" and "Heart Song" makes for a rousing conclusion; "Dust and Dreams" is one of Steve's best dalliances with Middle Eastern music, as he creates an intoxicating instrumental that often reminds me of the dance of a coiled cobra before a snake charmer, and the way it so seamlessly connects with the love balladry of "Heart Song" serves as a great example as to why I find his solo work so enjoyable at times.

Of course, as often happens with Hackett solo albums, I find myself drawn most to the material that was probably not front and center in Steve's mind as he was putting together the album. "Earthshine" is a delightful acoustic instrumental on an album that badly needs one of Hackett's delightful acoustic instrumentals, as is the bonus track "Pneuma," which is basically in the same vein but a little more subdued in mood. "Loving Sea" comes within a hair of sounding exactly like Simon and Garfunkel, and it's so cheery and memorable and so unexpected that it perks me up and makes me happy every time I hear it. And finally, the remaining bonus track, "Midnight Sun," might just well be the best track on the entire disc, a song full of terrific intensity that always feels like it's not being fully unleashed, and with Hackett providing light decorative texture in the background until it's unleashed just enough for about 30 seconds in the middle.

In the end, I do like this album, but I ended up having to try a little harder than I've become accustomed to with assimilating late-period Hackett in order to get to that point. For all of its better aspects, this is his weakest "regular" album since Darktown, and the first of his albums in the 21st century that I wouldn't necessarily consider a must listen for anybody who generally likes Hackett. Also, the cover kinda sucks.

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 Wolflight by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.81 | 300 ratings

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Wolflight
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by wilmon91

2 stars Steve Hackett has often returned to darker themes, with occasional gothic themes such as the songs "Vampire with a healthy appetite", "Wolfwork", "Transylvanian Express", "The Devil is an Englishman" , songs with a touch of humour. And some albums have had an overall dark or gloomy, melancholic feel, like "Defector","Guitar Noir" and "Darktown".

Since the 2000's his music have not reached the same level of sincerity and introspectiveness as previous stuff in my opinion, and have instead become more outreaching , occasionally "prog-tribute"-oriented, with a larger awareness of the audience . Although Wild Orchids (2006) returned to a darker concept after the lighter "To watch the Storms" (2001) , it was entertaining and varied rather than deep. In Hacketts 2013 album "Beyond the shrouded Horizon" the mood was more exotic, where you "travelled" to far away places, with a more "new-agey" atmosphere than usual, which I appreciated.

The latest album is Wolflight , which seems to be a return to a dark concept. At least it's got wolves and there is a song about a vampire. But I think Hackett combines all elements he has previously used, into a dynamic concept, so there is a bit of everything.

The songs transition into another, and the moods and styles change more flexibly than ever, from solo acoustic guitar to rock parts with orchestral accompaniment, to ethnic world music. It feels a bit like a show, like it is presented to an audience. It is theatrical and entertaining with many changes. The moods are mostly familiar and simple. One particular harmony is like the theme from "Vampire for a healthy appetite", the first two chords. This harmony is very recurring throughout the album and brings a kind of dark vibe, but more in a children friendly familiar way rather than mysterious and chilling.

The first four tracks (except the "intro" track") feels like a concept, long, eventful and ambitious, with a sort of rhapsodic style, while the rest of the songs are not as intricately composed and evolving, keeping more to one style. Because of that, in a strange way, the album feels short, although its around 55 minutes.

It feels like most of the energy has gone to arranging and adding a lot of sounds to the music, creating a living and dynamic experience, and the performance is very good, but the core of the music ? the musical ideas, the harmonies and melodies and main grooves, which is most important for me, are straightforward and dull. It seems that many songs have a couple of main themes which are unrelated, which is connected by various in-between sections. It's not a strong album to me.

1 Out of the body

There are some subtle sound of wolfs, then a a fast groove starts which evolves and goes through a couple of themes that will appear in later songs. Orchestral strings and other orchestral instruments are involved, and electric guitar of course , with a large sound.

2. Wolflight (8.00)

This is probably the most varied track Steve Hackett has ever done. Begins with two successive interludes, one ethnic, the other soft symphonic, and then the song starts for real with Hackett singing, in a cozy mood, with acoustic guitar, telling a story. There are too many parts to be able to describe everything. It evolves through various parts into a "darker" main theme. There is orchestral stuff, electric guitar with a big sound, there's a short spanish section, and many different themes. Hackett manages to make it sound simple and not confusing, which is impressive. But with all those parts, it feels kind of short when it just ends at eight minutes. And the melodies and harmonies are not too exciting for me. But this song defines the album the most, showing an evolvement in Hackett's music making.

3. Lovesong to a vampire (9:17)

The longest song has a large sound in a melancholic and maybe a bit of nostalgic mood with a slightly folk-ish lyrical structure, going from a verse of soft acoustic guitar and singing to a loud and dramatic main chorus with vocal parts and drums. There's also an instrumental section with electric guitar soloing. The soft lyrical verse evolves each time with added classical instruments. Towards the end there is a change of style into an instrumental rock riff with electric guitar soloing. Then there is a part from Wolfwork (Wild Orchids) except that the guitar melody is different. Like the previous song it is very rich in arrangement and instrumentation. But I am distracted by the reminiscence of "In the court of the Crimson King" ? which is an obvious influence, although it has different harmonies. And since it's so long, it's a bit too heavily focused on the chorus, a good chorus, but short, and sensitive to repetitions.

4. The Wheel's Turning (7.24)

This also has a lot of parts, but is mainly an uptempo song with a catchy pop chorus. Then after a short orchestral theme by what sounds like a sample from some symphony, a russian symphony I would guess, it goes into triplet form and evolves into a rock blues shuffle. Then after a while of jamming, it's back to triplet form, and via the symphony-sample back to the straight uptempo parts of the song with the chorus and guitar solo fading out. Eventful, but not too interesting.

5. Corycian Fire (5.47)

Middle eastern intro with authentic instruments, but familiar tonality. Then a symphonic part enters with vocals, and the chords are the same as the chorus on "The Fundamentals of Brainwashing" (Wild Orchids), a heavy groove in half time starts, and the chords are such that it is compatible with the middle eastern scale. It goes in to a double speed rock part, then comes back to original speed.A choir comes in on top of the orchestral strings and percussion, singing latin words, which escalates into a Carmina Burana inspired thing, which I found pretentious.

6 Earthshine 3:20

Classical solo acoustic guitar piece. "Bay of Kings" and "Momentum" are among my favourite albums, but this song doesn't add anything new. It's in a style similar to "A Midsummer Night's Dream". But there was a great acoustic track on his previous album, in the deluxe version , called "Four Winds West".

7 Loving Sea

The previous song ended on a major key, and this song picks it up in a feel-good way. It is sort of like "Happy the Man" by Genesis (same key, has an egg keeping the beat, and acoustic guitar), but straight rather than swingy feeling, and more of a modern "Yes"-feelgood mood, with vocals in many harmonic layers, too layered for my tastes. The chorus have the same chords as "Ripples", only the first 2 chords, but that harmony is very characteristic, and there is a lyrical resemblance:"Carry me to the loving sea", and "Sail away, away". Too feelgood and "nice" for my taste.

8. Black Thunder (7.32)

Blues rock song with a firm riff. Hackett sings a phrase which is responded with the riff interchangeably. After a while an orchestral part comes in and the songs goes into an instrumental, sort of free-form part, with guitar soloing backed by a percussion/drum figure and bass grooving. I like the outro part with some jazzy harmonies, not unfamiliar though, and I'm not a fan of the soprano sax, but still kind of nice. More complex and otherworldly harmonies is what I have been missing from Hackett, I'm thinking about Tigermoth for example.

9. Dust and dreams (5:33)

I was excited about Hugo Degenhart being featured on this song. He played drums on some Hackett albums in the 90's. But here he only plays a couple of bars that are looped, in two different grooves. There is a half-time shuffle feeling, oriental scale, boring harmonies. The main melody is the same oriental main theme from the album "Metamorpheus"(2005). It moves into a second part , in straight feeling similar to "Loch Lomond", there is a more spacey ambience with strings. The guitar is nice, but overall, I feel that this goes on autopilot.

10. Heart Song (2.51)

Continuing from the previous song, some vocals come in, and there is a chord sequence which is the exact same one from "Blue Child" (Wild Orchids), playing to the end.

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 Cell 151 by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1983
2.64 | 12 ratings

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Cell 151
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Time lapse

Cell 151 is a single taken from the Highly Strung album. Unlike many people I think that this album is one of Steve's best solo albums and is a more coherent effort compared to his early albums that were often all over the place in terms of style. The song is not the best from that album but it works well as a single. The single features two b-sides. The first is a live recording of Air-Conditioned Nightmare which first appeared on the previous Cured album. This Jazz-Rock/Fusion number is excellent and works very well in the live environment. This version has since been included as a bonus track on the remastered CD version of Cured. The second b-side is Time Lapse At Milton Keynes - an acoustic number not included on any of Steve's regular albums. It is not one of his more memorable acoustic numbers, but it is nonetheless a good one. This one is a bonus track on the Highly Strung CD reissue.

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 Narnia by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1978
2.29 | 5 ratings

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Narnia
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars We're not in Kansas anymore

Inspired by the stories of C.S. Lewis, Narnia is the opening number of Steve Hackett's second solo album Please Don't Touch. But while the album version features Steve Walsh from the wonderful American Symphonic Prog band Kansas on vocals (as well as Phil Ehart from same band on drums), this single version of Narnia instead has vocals by a John Perry. The reason apparently was that the record company didn't allow the release of the Steve Walsh version of the song as a single! The version featuring Steve Walsh is the better version of this melodic, acoustically driven Pop song. The John Perry version of the song has since been included as a bonus track on the remastered CD version of Please Don't Touch. The b-side of the single is title track from Please Don't Touch - a typical electric Steve Hackett instrumental and the best track from that otherwise weak album.

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 Clocks by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1979
3.10 | 12 ratings

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Clocks
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars A real oddity

Clocks, originally from the Spectral Mornings album, is here presented in a slightly shorter single edit. This fairly experimental instrumental is a very unlikely choice for a single and probably did nothing in the charts. The two b-sides include an acoustic medley recorded live of various bits and pieces including the eternal Horizons. The other b-side (or the c-side, if you like) is a version of Tigermoth, also originally from Spectral Mornings. The latter is much shorter than the studio version and does not include the vocal section. This, in my opinion, is an improvement over the original. At any rate this track too is an odd choice for a single. All three tracks have since been included as bonus tracks on the remastered CD reissue of Spectral Mornings.

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