I always loved the old Genesis. The first five albums plus Trick Of The Tail (1975) are true progressive rock classics. I would go as far as to say that Seconds Out (1977) is probably one of the best live albums ever recorded. Guitarist Steve Hackett always played an important part on all those albums and now he released his 23rd solo album called Beyond The Shrouded Horizon. I must admit that I don't possess all his solo albums, but this new one is an absolute must for Genesis adepts as well as lovers of heavenly guitar playing. On this album Steve is assisted by his 'regular' band consisting of Roger King (keyboards), Gary O' Toole (drums, vocals), Nick Beggs (bass guitar), Rob Townsend (saxophone, flute) and Amanda Lehmann (guitar, vocals). Furthermore you can hear Yes- member Chris Squire on bass and Simon Phillips on drums on the last two tracks.
This CD starts with Loch Lomond which is a Mike Oldfield-like song with great musical diversity and even some playing of the bagpipe, which isn't strange considering the title of this track. Follow-up The Phoenix Flown is a breathtaking instrumental with a heavenly guitar melody and solo; in other words Steve Hackett at his best! Wanderlust - great title by the way - and Summer's Breath are two acoustic intermezzos that don't belong to my favourites, but fortunately they're rather short. Two Faces Of Cairo is another instrumental, but this one's rather heavy and up-tempo mainly due to the exotic drumming of Gary O'Toole. Last but not least Hackett comes up with two splendid tracks featuring Chris Squire and Simon Phillips. The first one called Catwalk is a razor-sharp blues rock track with howling guitar parts. The second and final track Turn This Island Earth is an epic of more than eleven minutes. It's another highlight containing great melodies, orchestral passages and awesome guitar work.
I never thought that Beyond The Shrouded Horizon would be such a great album, but I truly love and cherish it. It's making overtime in my CD player, so to speak. If you buy the limited edition you'll get a bonus-CD with nine short tracks of which six are previously unreleased. So, one can say that Steve Hackett delivers a melodic rock gem that will please anyone who liked any of his other work, so order the new album now!
**** Martien Koolen (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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