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Steve Howe - Paul Sutin & Steve Howe: Seraphim CD (album) cover


Steve Howe


Crossover Prog

1.86 | 33 ratings

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1 stars This album fails on several levels. Let's review:

It fails as a Steve Howe album. He is only given partial credit for five of the nine tracks, because these are the only ones he plays on. And yet he is playing background accompaniment to the piano parts played by Sutin, sometimes with Carlo Bettini, who also gets some writing credit. When I buy a Steve Howe album I buy it for the guitar; the music must center around the guitar. There is no other reason to buy a Steve Howe album. Sure, there may be other stuff on it, but without the guitar it is not a Steve Howe album. Period. Said. Done. Howe's guitar is minimal on Seraphim. Really, this is Paul Sutin's album. He's composer and co-composer on all the tracks, he produced it, and it was apparently recorded in his recording studio. To Steve's credit, however, what he does contribute to the album is beautifully tasteful.

It also fails as a new age album. What was that? New age? Yes, that is what it is. Now, the new age movement in music began in the 70s. The idea was that certain tones and frequencies of sound correspond with the natural world, and that by listening to these tones and frequencies people would heal themselves. At the very least it would make them feel better. New age music is also supposed to be relaxing. Seraphim is not relaxing. Its boring. Sutin's insipid piano sound dominates the entire album. He does not uplift our spirits by his dulcet tones, he puts us to sleep with his lackluster pieces. The music is not spiritual, it is soporific. It is also sophomoric.

Lastly, it fails the integrity test. Steve Howe should not be given first billing on this album, nor even equal billing. To do so is simply a commercially minded act. We all know which name involved would generate the most butter. It is misleading. It is just like John Wayne getting star billing for the film The Longest Day, a three-hour snooze fest where he does not even fill five minutes of screen time. This is both disingenuous and dishonest. When this album first came out in 1988, Steve Howe seemed to have been at a crossroads in his life. Yes was in the past. So was Asia, and even GTR. What was he to look forward to? At least Seraphim is something different. But different does not always mean good. To make it an honest album, there needs to be more Steve than Paul here. I laud Steve Howe for going in a new direction, but did it have to be this drivel?

Seraphim is for completionists only. If you have every other Steve Howe album made, and this includes those not yet recorded, I recommend you make this the very last one to purchase. If you plan on completing your Howe collection at some time, don't search this one out. Wait to find it cheap. The dollar bin might be a good place for it.

Progosopher | 1/5 |


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