Review Summary: While Genesis were moving into a more commercial direction, Steve Hackett continued to carry the progressive torch.
4 of 4 thought this review was well written
The classically-trained Steve Hackett served as lead guitarist for the legendary British progressive rock band Genesis from 1970 to 1977, contributing to six studio albums and three live records. After Anthony Phillips decided to leave the band following Trespass, Hackett stepped into his shoes and never looked back. During his career with Genesis, and particularly after it, Hackett has made a name for himself as a solo artist extraordinaire up to the present, practically releasing one excellent album after another, proving his departure from Genesis was the right decision.
Released in 1975, his first solo album Voyage of the Acolyte was recorded in the lull between Peter Gabriel leaving Genesis and Phil Collins taking over as vocalist, and featured contributions by the latter and Mike Rutherford. Voyage is often considered to be a ‘lost’ Genesis album from that period (between The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and Trick of the Tail) and for many, it is the definitive Hackett record.
His third outing, 1979’s Spectral Mornings, however gives Voyage a run for its money. The album is considered as the creative heir apparent of Wind and Wuthering, stronger than Genesis’ subsequent ...And Then There Were Three in 1978. With their varying levels of musical success, Hackett was indeed in a better position as a solo musician than as a member of Genesis. His songs are just a reminder that he was not in disagreement with the musical direction that Genesis were taking on Wind and Wuthering. This album saw the guitarist take another major step in his career: he put together an actual band to record and tour with, rather than using a plethora of guest musicians as on his previous albums.
Similar to Voyage of the Acolyte, Spectral Mornings is still strongly influenced by Genesis but sees Hackett shaping a sound that would become more his own. While both are essential, the latter is more indicative of Hackett’s range as a solo artist. He is now more comfortable and confident, free to try anything that he wanted to experiment with, in which he succeeded quite well. Hackett always felt underused in Genesis, particularly as a writer, and this album showed what he was really capable of. Despite his virtuoso abilities on his instrument, most perfectly exemplified by his technical abilities and his classical playing, he is more than just a guitar player – he’s a songwriter; if only Genesis knew. While his solo albums haven’t brought him as much fame, notoriety or chart success as his work with Genesis, there is quite a catalogue to dig through. Hackett is a complex musician, drawing influence from a wide variety of styles and melding them into excellent compositions, always full of melody and feeling, featuring a healthy mix of dark, complex prog rock, atmospheric instrumentals, gorgeous classical guitar pieces, and melodic, light-hearted symphonic rock, all embellished by washing mellotrons and melodic flutes. As for Hackett, from his acoustic passages to his electric runs up and down the fret board, he just demonstrates how unique, how masterful he is.
With his first four solo albums, Steve Hackett showed that he had a lot to offer as a solo artist. In retrospect, it is easy to understand how he became frustrated with the constraints of the Genesis framework. Had Banks, Collins and Rutherford not also been in their most productive period, Hackett could perhaps have been able to carry Genesis to greater creative heights himself. It is also obvious that his contributions to the band were an integral part of their most admired recordings, and that his absence in part led to them becoming more and more predictable down the road. They needed Hackett in a big way.
Clocks (The Angel of Mons)
ProgJect apologizes for the long delay. Too long has it been since we have brought you some vintage prog!
Damn straight Nag: no less than 50 days since our last review! Well I have to say in my defense that I was more busy than usual these days. I'm now willing to write on a more regular basis since I don't anticipate any other impediment in a near future. I apologize to you, our loyal readers and also to you my colleague Nagrarok, who is always there in this adventure since our debut, making our best to offering you some quality progressive rock reviews.
ProgJect is alive and stronger than ever. Nice writing there, I like your style (or combination of).
Thank you Zettel dude, it's much appreciated. As far as I'm concerned, ProgJect couldn't be without the magic touch Nagrarok provides to the reviews I write. He trims it, embellishes it in many ways, corrects it, he gives more life to it, and on top of that he makes my broken English disappear without a trace. Merci beaucoup, Nagrarok. Long live ProgJect.
We are driven by the same purpose; spreading progressive rock all over Sputnik. Since its conception (we now celebrate its one year), ProgJect is easily the proggiest thing here on Sputnik. That title is quite easy to obtain since progressive rock seems to be overlooked on here.
As long as we have one reader per review, we'll keep it up.
Hey thanks Lakes, bud. Yeah you might like this. Haunting atmospheres, fantastic melodies throughout. I know I still have to read your Kitaro's review. I don't forget it and will fix it tomorrow. Nice to see you around again, dude.
Thanks all, and long live ProgJect indeed Jethro. I didn't realize it's been a year since we started already. You should be thanked equally for all your years of prog knowledge that made and makes this happen, always glad to be a part of it.
Sorry to disappoint you KILL, I saw the soundoff for Voyage of the Acolyte. Perhaps when I do my Genesis discog I'll throw that one in between. No promises though.
Cheers Nag, mate. I really feel privileged to have you as colleague.
@KILL; Thanks! And like Nag, I'm sorry, my friend. I seriously had to toss a coin to make a choice.
But trust me, Voyage is gonna get covered eventually either by Nag, ProgJect or...me. Until then, enjoy this and the fantastic and very representative live Time Lapse.
@Jamie; Thanks!...Wow it's something, man! So I assume you're coming from England. Yes Peter Hicks was also the singer for the following album 'Defector'. Then he was asked to leave due to some obligation he had, because it became half the time impossible for him to go touring with the band. And so up to then, Steve Hackett took the full time vocal duties.
Hey Edwin, the Sputniks Zappa's authoritah! Yeah please do try some Hackett. Like I said, if you want something really representative, get the live 'Time Lapse'.
@JT; I'm currently investigating on that. Maybe it's just me, but I have the feeling there are more than only one Peter Hicks. I just found that biography (link) and, surprise, no mention of Steve Hackett at all. Please, let me know about your next chating with Peter. btw, I really love to hear the British speaking (win win win). Here is the element that put a doubt in my mind; http://home.austarnet.com.au/glazfolk/start.htm
I know that's what I thought was strange. There's a chance he may have mentioned his name and it just didn't mean anything to me at the time, afterall the last time I was actually taught by him was almost 2 years ago. I will let you know when I next see him, although it'll be a while as I've finished college for summer now!