by Geoff Bailie
It’s amazing that in the 10 years since 2011’s Beyond The Shrouded Horizon, Steve Hackett has released four original studio albums, the Genesis Revisited II double disc set, and six live albums… and has another studio album about to be released. Surrender of Silence contributes even more styles and sounds to the vast array of music that have flowed from this well established artist, and the USP of this album is that it embraces an array of musical styles from across the world.
Despite having a well established road band, Hackett approaches his albums by carefully selecting the players and sounds suitable for the variety of styles he is covering. The whole album is like a musical cruise through Europe, Asia, South America and Africa, knitting the music native to those places with Hackett’s signature guitar style. The album also features a lot of Steve’s vocals, which are strong and assured.
While the album is best appreciated played from start to finish, there are several standout tracks. The fantastically titled “Relaxation Music For Sharks (Featuring Feeding Frenzy)” is an incredible audio journey, powered by the drumming of Nick D’Virgilio, watery guitar tones, and a musical box mid-section (hard to describe until you hear it!). “Devil’s Cathedral” features the vocals of Nad Sylvan, while Hackett conjures cathedral organ tones from his instrument. A Firth of Fifth-esque section and a galloping solo section makes this a classic piece of present day prog. “Held in the Shadows” shifts from an acoustic beginning, before heavy dark tones take over. The sustained theremin-like solo is a great contrast to the speeding lines on other tracks. It’s also probably my favorite vocal performance from Steve over the last few albums, with great harmonies throughout. The casual listener will likely conclude that “Fox’s Tango” is sung by someone else, such is Steve’s vocal dexterity, mirroring how he experiments with his vocal tones as he does with the guitar’s. This track reminds me to an extent of the GTR album, a particular favorite of mine.
There’s so much more to explore elsewhere, whether it’s the transcontinental world music of “Shanghai To Samarkand” or the torrential downpour of Rob Townsend’s horns on “Day of the Dead.” The closing environmental anthem Scorched Earth presents the message of protecting the planet that we’ve just been taken on a whirlwind trip around.
Another Steve Hackett album? Yes – why not? This is a powerful, diverse and creative collection of songs and styles which is absolutely worthy of your sonic consideration. Hackett continues to generate incredible music at a rapid rate – make sure you keep up!
Released on Sept. 10th, 2021 on InsideOutMusic
Key Tracks: The Devil’s Cathedral, Fox’s Tango
“Surrender of Silence” track listing:
1. The Obliterati (02:17)
2. Natalia (06:17)
3. Relaxation Music For Sharks (Featuring Feeding Frenzy) (04:36)
4. Wingbeats (05:20)
5. The Devil’s Cathedral (06:31)
6. Held In The Shadows (06:20)
7. Shanghai To Samarkand (08:27)
8. Fox’s Tango (04:21)
9. Day Of The Dead (06:25)
10. Scorched Earth (06:03)
11. Esperanza (01:04)
Steve Hackett shares writing credits with both Jo Hackett and Roger King on several tracks. All tracks were recorded by Roger King and produced by Steve Hackett with Roger King at Siren.
Surrender of Silence is released on 10th September 2021 as a Limited Edition CD+Blu-ray Mediabook in hardcover slipcase, Standard CD Jewel case, Gatefold 2LP+CD & LP-Booklet and Digital Album via Inside Out Music. https://stevehackett.lnk.to/SurrenderOfSilence
He’s been making albums like this for over a decade. For me they sound disjointed, just endless bits stuck together, not enough melodies and the tunes go all over the place. I lose interest as I wonder what the point of a lot of the pieces is. He’s much more effective within a more focused framework – This World, Concert For Munich, Sierra Quemada,, and his acoustic work in general.
In a word – its bloody excellent! Steve is keeping the Prog flame burning. He has never been ashamed to admit that he is a ‘Prog’ musician (unlike some other former bandmates, and musicians in the Prog Rock fraternity), completely at ease with his back catalogue. If ‘Progressive Rock’ means music that keeps evolving, embraces other genres, rather than just a genre in itself, Steve truly is the epitome of Prog. The album (like his previous ones) is a journey around the world and back. Its just wonderful.