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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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Prog Reviewer
4 stars In 1975, Steve Hackett became the first Genesis member to release a solo album. Although Anthony Phillips left Genesis in 1970, he did not release his first album until 1977, the same year Peter Gabriel released his debut solo album. Of course later on, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, and Phil Collins would all release solo albums. At the moment, I can't think of another band that had so many members release solo efforts, and in mostly large numbers.

Hackett's debut, Voyage of the Acolyte sounded like a missing Genesis recording that never made it into the light of day. And maybe that's because Hackett had some of his Genesis friends help him out with this album, notably Mike Rutherford on bass and Phil Collins on drums. But it wasn't just that. Hackett also played the Mellotron and harmonium, adding lush background drops to these songs. Sure, it wasn't anything like having Tony Banks on board, but the effect was good enough to give it that Genesis feel.

In addition to Rutherford and Collins, other musicians contributing include Steve's younger brother, John Hackett, who performs admirably on the flute and Arp synthesizer. Co-producer John Acock contributed more Mellotron, harmonium, piano, and the Elka Rhapsody, a string synthesizer. Robin Miller, who appeared on some King Crimson albums adds some oboe and English horn, and Nigel Warren-Green contributes some cello. So this is a little more than the usual Genesis affair.

The music is mostly instrumental as only three of the songs contains vocals. Hackett sings on The Hermit, Collins sings on Star of Sirius, and guest vocalist, Sally Oldfield (sister of Mike Oldfield) sings on Shadow of the Hierophant. Some of the songs are quite complex (like the opener Ace of Wands), some are pastorally laid back, and the last track (Shadow of the Hierophant) is a lengthy piece deserving of placement on any of the mid-1970s Genesis releases.

Hackett does a very impressive job on his debut as a songwriter. Genesis had a more democratic approach to writing music and this one really let Hackett open up. In fact, after this album Hackett often felt stifled by the Genesis approach and he often felt that he didn't have a fair share in contributing music. This led him to go solo in 1977. I don't fully understand why the other members of Genesis reacted this way towards Hackett's abilities, especially if they had listened to this album (and Collins and Rutherford played on it!!). I have no doubt that his contributions would have not only been fitting for the Genesis albums of that time, but certainly would have made them even better.

Although Hackett did a great job on this album, this was all new to him. It shows on some of the material. The short pieces often sound unfinished and the cohesiveness of the album as a whole is often lacking. It seems like it jumps around a bit and it gives me a feeling of unevenness.

An enjoyable listen that is highly recommended for Genesis and symphonic prog fans. Not quite a masterpiece, but surely an excellent release considering the circumstances. Four stars.

progaardvark | 4/5 |


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