Steve Hackett has spent the last few years carrying the Genesis torch across the globe, seemingly reminding anyone who may gave forgotten that he had a lot to do with the much heralded Genesis 70’s period. But never wanting to stay the same for too long, Hackett continues to explore new territory both physically and musically, as is evident on his new collection. An avid traveler and explorer, Hackett lends his experiences to his music by incorporating different styles and instruments, thus creating one of the most inspired albums of his career in Wolflight, his first album of new material since 2011’s Beyond The Shrouded Horizon.
From the opening of “Out of the Body” the cinematic mood is set. Hackett kicks off with a hard rocking track adding his signature lead tone that is immediately recognizable. There is always a heavy orchestral element to his albums and this album is no different. Here, the string accompaniment gives the song an urgency that is a new twist for a lead off track on a Hackettt album. This opener is a short one that acts more as an intro to the title track, “Wolflight”, one of the most Genesis-like songs he has ever produced. The classical guitar is reminiscent of older Genesis tracks like “Blood on the Rooftop” or “Cinema Show” and Hackett’s vocal harmonies compliment the music brilliantly. As he is known to often do, Hackett shifts the music from quiet and subdued to haunting and agressive throughout the piece. This one is certainly a highlight on the album.
The track that immediately captures the listener has to be the third track, “Love Song To A Vampire”. This is one of the strongest songs on the set and one that really only Steve Hackett could pull off. It combines the influence of flamenco guitar with an epic Prog Rock chorus complete with soaring background vocals. The contrast of these elements explodes from the speakers. Just as the song seems to be ending naturally, again he throws in a left turn by adding a total rock riff to close out the song. Truly inspired.
The album’s first video and single is “The Wheel’s Turning”, an uplifting track with driving strings, acoustic guitars and harmonies recalling the Electric Light Orchestra. It is a very progressive song with a pop feel. One of the more eclectic tracks is the middle eastern sounding “Corycian Fire.” The song really is in two parts, the heavy brooding opening half with the fast paced second intricate second half. This makes for a very exciting listening experience. The inclusion of unusual instruments adds a lot to the overall vibe of the album. Additionally, the performances from the musicians included on the record elevate the production to the highest levels.
The second half of the album begins by quieting things down with the instrumental “Earthshine” which is an intro the beautiful acoustic track “Loving Sea”, where Hackett sings “Carry Me, to the Loving Sea” with Crosby Stills and Nash vocal harmonies. While not being the strongest lead vocalist, he has an incredible ability to perform bold vocal harmonies ahtt create a sound that is uniquely his own. The album continues with a return to the Hackett’s rock side with the bluesy “Black Thunder” and the instrumental “Dust and Dreams” before closing with the uplifting “Heart Song” where Hackett sings “Love Will Find a Way.”
Perhaps circling back through the incredible Genesis catalog influenced this new group of songs but either way, the collection is one of Hackett’s finest as he finds himself continuing to broaden his musical explorations decades into his already legendary career. Fans longing for early-era Genesis can find comfort in Hackett not only performing the classic songs but building on that legacy in his own way.
Get the new album here: http://hackettsongs.sandbaghq.com/
Release on March 30, 2015 (EU) / April 7th, 2015 (US) on Inside Out Music
Key Tracks: Wolflight, Love Song To A Vampire, Corycian Fire
1 Out Of The Body 2:29
2 Wolflight 8:00
3 Love Song To A Vampire 9:18
4 The Wheel’s Turning 7:24
5 Corycian Fire 5:47
6 Earthshine 3:20
7 Loving Sea 3:23
8 Black Thunder 7:33
9 Dust And Dreams 5:33
10 Heart Song 2:51
Steve Hackett, (Guitar, Vocals)
Roger King (keyboards & programming)
Gary O’Toole (drums)
Rob Townsend (sax, duduk)
Nick Beggs (bass & stick)
Amanda Lehmann (harmony vocals)
Malik Mansurov on tar and Sara Kovaks on didgeridoo
*YES bassist Chris Squire plays on “Love Song To A Vampire” and Hugo Dagenhardt plays drums on “Dust and Dreams”.