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Steve Hackett - At the Edge of Light

  by Keith How

published: 14 / 5 / 2019

Steve Hackett - At the Edge of Light
Label: Watcher Ltd (camino Records)
Format: CD


Lavish and ambitious prog rock on latest album from former Genesis guitarist and solo artist Steve Hackett

Prog rock legend Steve Hackett will need no introductions to most older music devotees. Once of Genesis (in the early years) he left them in 1977 to pursue a solo career and has since released a string of albums . At 69 years of age he is still going strong. So, having not listened to any of his solo work since 1975‘s ‘Voyage of the Acolyte’, I was intrigued as to what I might discover. ‘At the Edge of Light’ is housed in an impressive jewel case with lyrics and photographs and appears to be a concept album of sorts. Opening with a huge ‘Kashmir’-esque riff and some searing guitar work all my memories of the strange world of ‘Acolyte’ are swept away in a maelstrom of progressive rock. A cursory glance at the instruments used on this offering and you would be forgiven for thinking we were in world music territory. Sitar, didgeridoo, violin, flute to name a few are gamefully employed (along with the members of Hackett‘s touring band) but this is not really the case. ‘At The Edge of Light’ sits firmly in the prog rock genre. Soaring with atmosphere, classical and electric guitars trade places with keyboards and harmony vocals, all of which are tastefully mixed and layered and give the effect of complete competence and control. Cosmic themes flow through the tracks. ‘Beasts in Our Time’ deals with dark and light and echoes early Genesis while ‘Underground Railroad’ has a promising gospel feel before heading off in a bluesy direction before turning into ‘Physical Graffiti’ before things get a bit complicated! ‘At the Edge of Light’ is nothing if not diverse. ‘These Golden Wings’ is lyrically confusing in a classic setting of sweeping synths with the appropriate tasteful guitar, and I can see heads nodding and lighters being held up high in appreciation, although I could live without the rather pompous ending. Let’s be sure of one thing. This is an album of massive breadth and ambition. The closing three tracks seem to combine together in classic progressive rock finale. ‘Descent’ opens like ‘Mars’ from Holst‘s ‘The Planets’. A military beat leads into spacey atmosphere before’ Conflict’, a mazy intricate compostition featuring some Hackett shredding. A quiet piano leads into ‘Peace’ along with impassioned vocals, meaningful lyrics and heavenly choirs. Naturally the final guitar solo is emotional and fitting. ‘At the Edge of Light’ is classic rock. At its worst it is bombastic and over indulgent, at its best lyrical and clever. Beautifully played by everyone involved, mixed to sonic perfection, and I would imagine the 5.1 version would be mind-blowing. If prog. is your bag then you you will be delighted. If you are curious you might struggle to get on board

Track Listing:-
1 Fallen Walls and Pedestals
2 Beasts in Our Time
3 Under the Eye of the Sun
4 Underground Railroad
5 Those Golden Wings
6 Shadow and Flame
7 Hungry Years
8 Descent
9 Conflict
10 Peace

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Steve Hackett - Interview
Prog guitar legend Steve Hackett talks to Eoghan Lyng about his new album ‘The Circus and the Nightwhale’ and his years with Genesis,
Interview (2021)
Interview (2013)

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