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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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Symphonic Team
3 stars The solo voyage begins

Steve Hackett is one of my all time favourite guitarists and possibly my favourite solo recording artist. Yet, I cannot rate most of his solo studio albums higher than three stars. His solo debut, Voyage Of An Acolyte suffers from the same problems as many other Steve Hackett solo albums.

The first half or so of the album is entirely instrumental. The Jazz-Rock/Fusion of Ace Of Wands and the mellow, acoustic folk of Hands Of The Priestess (parts 1 & 2) as well as the dark, heavy A Tower Struck Down are all excellent, but still not quite masterpiece standard. These four opening tracks give the impression that the whole album is an instrumental affair (as it probably should have been!). But this is not so, however. The Hermit is the first vocal track; a soft, mellow song, sung by Steve himself, that leaves no lasting impression on me. I think that Steve's singing voice would develop and mature very much over the years and become much better in the 80's and 90's.

Star Of Sirius features vocals by Phil Collins and is a decent song. However, it sounds more like a Genesis leftover than a 'lost Genesis classic' to my ears. On albums like Trick Of The Tale or Wind And Wuthering it would easily have been the least good track by far. And thank goodness that Steve stayed in Genesis for another couple of albums before he went solo for real. Voyage Of An Acolyte proves that he wasn't ready for a real solo career just yet.

The closing number Shadow Of A Hierophant has vocals by Sally Oldfield. She has a beautiful voice, but it is completely out of place on this album. Besides, having different vocalists on different tracks on the same album almost never works. And that is something that brings a lot of Hackett solo albums down. The closing section of this last track is way too long and seems to be going absolutely nowhere.

Overall, apart from Ace Of Wands and a Tower Struck Down, Voyage Of An Acolyte is a very soft and mellow album. It really would have benefited from a couple of rock songs like Every Day from the Spectral Mornings album or Camino Royal from Highly Strung or Mechanical Bride from To Watch The Storms.

Sorry Steve, but this album is simply not the masterpiece some people say it is! There certainly are a few real gems on this album, but as a whole this is hardly excellent. If you are new to Steve Hackett's solo discography, I would recommend starting with a later album (but please don't touch his next one, Please Don't Touch!), or even better, one of his excellent, recent live DVDs where he blends highlights from his entire solo career (including a couple of pieces from the present album, often in improved form!) with some Genesis material.

Good, but Steve would do much better later on

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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