STEVE HACKETT – Beyond The Shrouded Horizon (2011)

STEVE HACKETT - Beyond The Shrouded Horizon (2011)


Steve Hackett is a man who should not require any introduction.
Often mentioned as a main source of influence by many guitarists around the globe, Hackett has over 40 years experience making rock music and he shows no signs of slowing down despite having past the age of sixty.
What is most striking on this, his brand new album “Beyond The Shrouded Horizon”, is how he continues to draw from his well documented back catalogue, both as a solo performer and through his time with Genesis, and still manage to keep his sound fresh and relevant by infusing his albums with a contrasting array of cultural influences.

To be honest, I don’t like his previous CD ‘Out Of The Tunnel’s Mouth’, an ‘escapist’ recording, boring and disperse in my humble opinion.
But “Beyond The Shrouded Horizon” is simply outstanding.
On this new recording we encounter all sorts of styles melded together to make an involving and cohesive whole, and without any of the tempo and mood changes sounding forced.
Some of these tracks are full blown Rock, others are melodic and calm which propel the listener further inside the mind of the artist. Every track seems to be the listener viewing through thirteen postcards of journeys from the creator.
Indeed, it could be bold enough to say that this may be the release that may well convert a generation of new listeners to Hackett’s music.
As he, himself, declares: “For all you restless souls out there, tighten your seatbelts, and join me at full throttle on a ride from the shores of Loch Lomond to the Rings of Saturn”.

Backed by his usual electric band, Steve takes us on an odyssey from opener “Loch Lomond”, with the band marching over the hills on the back of an almost metal riff, to end with the epic symphonic tale of “Turn This Island Earth”, on the way visiting many exotic corners of the globe and indeed beyond and inward.
On “The Phoenix Flown” a sustained effected guitar is the lead piece on the song over a mid-tempo progressive rock background with long drawn out drum sections and reverbs.
A great bluesy-rock riff that puts me in mind of early Uriah Heep crashes into the almost sedate introduction to “Prairie Angel”. The guitar work on this one is just fabulous. Exceptional track.

Some of the songs are bridged with short acoustic pieces which add to the overall cinematic atmosphere.
“A Place Called Freedom” has some of the spirit of mid period Genesis that will be a joy for close followers of Hackett’s career.
The ukele on “Waking To Life” is later complimented by a distinct middle eastern feel, leading into some Kashmir-like sounds on the intro to “Two Faces Of Cairo”, so far one of my favourite moments on the album. Both summon up great imagery, but do so with a subtlety that at times leads the listener to forget they are playing an album by a Western guitarist.
“Catwalk” on the other hand have muscle and depth, and a solid distorted guitar sound that provide exhilarating respite to the journey. Great rockin’ track.
The longest song on the album is the closer “Turn This Island Earth”, clocking in at just under 12 minutes. As befitting such a mini-epic, everything is thrown at this, the orchestra and the treated vocals at the start lending it an almost ethereal presence until a rock riff from Steve takes the song down another alley, but the theme is never lost.

On “Beyond The Shrouded Horizon”, Hackett has created a cinematic blockbuster to rival anything he has produced over the years.
It’s diverse, captivating, and on some passages, a truly masterpiece.
Throughout Steve’s guitar sounds more energized than ever, when one would expect a mellowing over time, and he even verges on heavy in places.
The production is impeccable, fitting perfectly with the composition’s atmosphere.
Steve Hackett is certainly not resting on his laurels with “Beyond The Shrouded Horizon”. It has everything you can ever want from an album; a sense of direction, great songwriting and excellent musicianship.
Highly Recommended.

1. Loch Lomond (6:49)
2. The Phoenix Flown (2:08)
3. Wanderlust (0:44)
4. Til These Eyes (2:41)
5. Prairie Angel (2:59)
6. A Place Called Freedom (5:57)
7. Between The Sunset And The Coconut Palms (3:18)
8. Waking To Life (4:50)
9. Two Faces Of Cairo (5:13)
10. Looking For Fantasy (4:33)
11. Summer’s Breath (1:12)
12. Catwalk (5:44)
13. Turn This Island Earth (11:51)

Steve Hackett – guitars, vocals, harmonica
Roger King – keyboards, programming
Amanda Lehmann – vocals, guitar
Nick Beggs – chapman stick, pink ukele
Rob Townsend – sax, whistle, bass clarinet
Gary O’Toole – drums

Chris Squire (ex YES) – bass
Simon Philips (ex TOTO, Michael Schenker Group) – drums
John Hackett – flute
Richard Stewart – cello
Christine Townsend – violin, viola
Dick Driver – double bass


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