Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Steve Hackett - Guitar Noir CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.26 | 216 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars The beginning of the 'noir'-era in Hackett's career

If I was asked to recommend something by Steve Hackett I would definitely go for one of his excellent, recent live DVDs: Somewhere In South America or Once Above A Time. But if I was specifically asked to recommend a studio album by him I would probably choose Guitar Noir (or possibly To Watch The Storms). None of Hackett's previous albums did encompass every aspect of his musical persona; Classical, World Music, Folk, Blues, Jazz, Pop and Rock (not much Symphonic Prog here, though). All these styles have never been so perfectly moulded into one organic, unified whole as here! It is no masterpiece of progressive music, but it is a very personal musical statement by one of Prog's most interesting people. This album perfectly captures what Steve Hackett is all about (as a solo artist). And, in my opinion, this is one of his best ever solo albums.

Overall, Guitar Noir is a more consistent album than Voyage Of An Acolyte and Spectral Mornings, that I think were a bit disjointed and uneven (even if they both feature some excellent tracks). Here, Steve sings all the songs himself, and he has really developed his vocal abilities since his early albums. I think he is a wonderful vocalist here! The absence of guest vocalists really helps to give the album cohesion and a sense of direction, and a strong musical identity.

The album has a good balance between instrumental and vocal material, between acoustic and electric, and between mellow and not quite so mellow. Guitar Noir is diverse and eclectic but the mood is basically the same throughout its many different styles; the mood is simply "Noir". A mood he tried to recapture on his subsequent albums. In that sense, Guitar Noir can be seen as the start of a new era in his career, the 'noir'-era.

Guitar Noir is quite soft but there are some rockier moments like In The Heart Of The City and the Blues rocker Lost In Your Eyes that keep the album from ever getting boring, but nothing at all that rocks hard though. The guitar work is fantastic and very distinctive. Steve's vocals are better than ever and the album is very well produced.

I'll give you a challenge. Dim the lights. Lie down on the floor. Relax. Listen to Walking Away From Rainbows. Now try to get up. It is absolutely impossible! This is possibly the most relaxing and beautiful guitar piece I have ever heard. It could stop a war! Sublime!

Sierra Quemada has a South American feel to it. I think Sierra Quemada is a very old calendar somewhere in South America(?). Vampyre With A Healthy Appetite stands out as the only humorous lyric here. Musically the song has the same structure as Darktown (but jazzy), with Steve "talking" the verses instead of singing them, using his darkest voice. Funny and a bit scary at the same time.

One of Hackett's finest hours and an excellent addition to your Hackett collection!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this STEVE HACKETT review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives