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Steve Hackett - Genesis Revisited II CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.86 | 468 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The first Genesis Revisited album, which I am yet to review, is a gem, mainly because Hackett added his own unique touches and changes to some old favourites, and previously unreleased tracks as well. So, I was really looking forward to this release. I pre- ordered the cd, which arrived at my house with a signature by the great man himself, so it was worth it just for that. I have listened to this album umpteen times prior to setting down some thoughts, but no matter how many times I listen, I reach the same conclusion, and that is that, whilst you really cannot go wrong with source material as superb as this, all we have here, in reality, is a cover album with knobs on.

It pains me to say this, and I should stress that this does not make it a bad album, far from it. It is just not a special album, and it certainly does not contain the originality of its predecessor, because, with the addition of a few additional acoustic guitar bits, this is, instrumentally, a carbon copy of the originals, albeit with a very deliberate mix which accentuates the guitar bits of a certain Mr Hackett, mainly at the expense of much of the Banks keyboard bits of the originals.

As I said before, the source material is superb, and there is a fair bit of bravery here, in that who would, on any Genesis compilation, include, let alone start an album, with Chamber of 32 Doors? It is a damn good version as well. I would also say that much of the Gabriel era recreations are, in reality, more akin to the Collins era recreations, a la Seconds Out. Again, I stress, I love these. Seconds Out is a masterpiece, and I really enjoy Collins era Genesis. It's just that I do not think that these versions really add anything to the pantheon.

Finest track, by far, is the sublime Blood on the Rooftops, with Gary O'Toole recreating his fine live version on disc. Ripples remains a beautiful piece of music, but Amanda Lehmann, whilst having a lovely voice, does not, to me, come anywhere near recreating that melancholic, yearning, vocal of Collins on the original.

And therein lies the problem. The album has a cast of thousands. My favourite guitarist of modern times, Steven Rothery, appears on the Lamia track, which is, again, a bold statement that the album is designed more for Genesis fans rather than pop passers-by. I, though, would rather that the collaboration was on original material, because, there is a simple fact here. That is that Gabriel and Collins (yes, Collins), were so fantastic and unique, that any attempt to cover them is, really, bound to end up in a poor comparison contest. And that is what we have here, a covers album, albeit one with one of the original protagonists and a host of stellar guests. A cover album, though, nonetheless.

So, whilst I marvel still at the music that, to me, exemplifies symphonic progressive rock, whilst my hair stands up when I hear some of those staggering movements, whilst I sing along at the top of my voice, I am left with one thought. It's life Jim, but not as we knew it (pardon the paraphrase).

In fact, as a longstanding fan of Hackett solo material, my absolutely favourite tracks here are the final three, and the ones unfamiliar to most listeners, A Tower Struck Down, Camino Royale, and Shadow of the Hierophant. The former is a cracking instrumental, which has a riff racing along and is in the finest tradition of eclectic Hackett. Camino Royale would sit nicely on any Hackett solo work, and is a nice bluesy track, with commercial sensibilities. The closer is lovely, with Lehmann giving some lovely vocals, and Steven Wilson guesting on guitar, and John Hackett providing a lilting flute.

So, how to rate this? Well, in view of the fact that the material is so good, and the performances so competent, it could really never be anything less than a really good album. However, in this reviewer's opinion, for the masterpieces, go back to those 1970's originals, the ones which are still proudly gathering dust on vinyl in my hall cupboard. In fact, let us be honest here. There is absolutely no artistic merit in releasing this album. It is a pension fund effort.

If we had such a rating, three and a half stars, rounded down to three because it is very good, but by no means as essential as the originals.

lazland | 3/5 |


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