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Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Apr 30th, 2015

Steve Hackett: Wolflight

steveSteve Hackett
Wolflight
(Inside Out Music)

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Not that one should be surprised that a Steve Hackett album would be brilliant, but the ex-Genesis ax man, well into a career of 24 solo albums now, presents his latest, Wolflight, with just about as varied a mix of great playing and songwriting as anybody could hope for. The 10 tunes here are amazing and all Hackett’s expert handling of electric and classical guitars, 12-string, Arabian lute, harmonica and vocals are spot-on.

“Out of the Body” opens with wolf howls into heavy drumming from Gary O’Toole and an ELO-like swirl of synth strings, Hackett sailing above with single-note searing cuts, then into main fast melody riffery. It’s a dark, dramatic read that sets us up perfectly for the title track that follows, a mini epic opening with Sara Kovaks didgeridoo then into Hackett’s classical playing (which is featured throughout this album) and his soft singing. We get Amanda Lehmann’s harmony vocals here for the first time as this song rolls around many different movements (getting downright scary at the end) featuring as much guitar as Roger King keys.

“Corycian Fire” is another thick production featuring big chants, dramatic strings and perfect, wild guitar leads among a tapestry of Middle Eastern sounds, like Malik Mansurov’s tar and Rob Townsend’s duduk. “Earthshine” is a liquid Hackett acoustic guitar instrumental and “Loving Sea” is a big, commercial, fun, acoustic strummer, a quick tune with a singable melody (the gated guitar effects here are so subtle you might just miss them). “Black Thunder” is heavy and thick with plodding Nick Beggs stick and staccato riffery of some of the heaviest leading here (especially when it is Hackett, Beggs and Gary O’Toole on the last third of the song jamming). “Dust and Dreams” is a heavy instrumental, with an even more distinctive nearly-speaking guitar part.

I can’t say enough about this album. Hackett is at the top of his game here, the musicians with him are sparkling talents and the songs are diversified and rock!

 

 

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Steve Hackett: Wolflight