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


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

4.24 | 1362 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Quite the voyage

Steve Hackett's debut is very much likely to soothe anyone who has ever been a fan of Genesis. Like Chris Squire's sole solo album, Fish Out Of Water was called ''The lost Yes album'', this one quickly falls under the same comparison for the other progressive giants for the 70s. As many people know, Hackett was a somewhat outspoken force in the band and it only became apparent just how much Hackett brought to the table for the band when he left And Then There Were Three, some might say. Hackett's Genesis buddies just about all show up with the exception of Peter Banks and Peter Gabriel, and while the album definitely does not sound like a Genesis album in its purest form, it certainly has some moments where it comes close. The nice and most surprising thing about the album is just how much energy this album has. Many people may have a problem with Genesis and their lack of 'rocking' moments, but on this album no such thing can be said, even if the serene moments do exist on the album.

The best parts of the album are the ones where Steve really wants to show some flash as a guitar player. The album opens with what's likely the best of these purely ambitious prog rock tracks in the form of Ace Of Wands, which is surprisingly fast, energetic and with enough pure rock power to put a lot of other bands to shame. Like many songs on the album, this one is an instrumental and like most other songs on the album it has a wonderful melody that is bound to get stuck in your head. These melodies are reprised later on in the album, revealing its true nature as a concept album. A Tower Struck Down is not as hard rocking or as fast as the opening tune, but it certainly makes for a great story telling device with the sampled sounds and chantings which make it truly malevolent. This song is bookended by the two-part, brief but calm instrumental Hands Of The Priestess whose mood makes for a surprising contrast to the other songs on the album.

Of course, Steve's compositional prowess also shows through on the album. Star Of Sirius is likely the best example of this, and arguably the best song on the album. Phil Collins makes an appearance on this track on the microphone, but he does so in his dreamy Trick Of The Tail voice, which when mixed with Steve's soundscapes makes for a crazy-good track ripe with melody, symphonic bombast and familiarity thanks to the reprisal of Ace Of Wands. Other songs which follow this kind of structure are also on the album, but both of them are a lot more toned down. The Hermit ends off side one impressively, and on side two The Lovers is voiced gently by Sally Oldfield and makes for a very tranquil track. The album ends with the storm-gathering Shadow Of The Hierophant, a somewhat repetitive song which is simply a build to its peak and then a decline into silence signaling the end of the album. Used more for mood than anything else.

In the end Steve Hackett has created an emotional and technically impressive ride which will thrill fans of his other projects and interest just about everyone else. This album is considered a symphonic classic for a reason, and while not essential is certainly deserving of a strong 4 stars of sirius out of 5. Very much recommended.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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