As a member of Genesis for six full-length records and with 24 solo albums to his name, Steve Hackett is a seemingly immortal force at the forefront of progressive rock music. The 61-year-old’s passion stems from his days with the aforementioned prog maestros over 40-years ago but continues today with Beyond The Shrouded Horizon.
Obviously prog by nature, the only thing that’s predictable on this album is the unpredictable transitions. ‘Why use the same paddling pool when you can swim in the ocean’ is the exact mentality from Hackett here – and he almost goes too far to prove his effervescence.
Loch Lomond bathes us with subtle strings, transgressing to change its form a number of times before revealing a merging of soothing harmonies. It floods beautifully into the epic that is The Phoenix Flown – bursting free with a mumbling deep bass line and stabilising keyboards holding the fabric of the heavily layered sound and giving passport for Hackett’s dreamy picking to rightfully take precedence, finalising the success of this short instrumental track.
Prairie Angel holds the harmonica grooves of a jerky blues jive that flows into the conserved acoustic tune of A Place Called Freedom, which only picks up in the finality of the song, raising the stakes with a huge choir for the last minute or so.
If you think that the 70′s was a supreme time for music, you’re still going to love Hackett, regardless of the way he has extended his music in his mammoth career. Waking To Life and Two Faces Of Cairo are good examples with tweaks of sitar piling onto an already middle-eastern soundscape.
Turn This Island Earth finishes the record and is almost The Enid-like in its classical eccentricity, leading the listener into a phantasm of eerie progressions – some strangely ethereal, some electronically charged with an ambient energy and some whipped up into a gusty orchestra backing. Hackett gracefully ages with the majority of his audience – keeping in tune with their interests while maintaining an enthusiasm for new bursts of musical life.