There was another album released a couple weeks ago that I was anticipating besides Death Cab’s “Kintsugi.” This artist is a well-known musician, and arguably one of the best guitarists in progressive rock. When I play the guitar, I only imagine that I could play half as good as this gentleman. Anyone who has heard any of Genesis’ early works will have heard his glorious guitar solos and rhythms. Peaking towards the top of my most played albums this week is Steve Hackett’s latest and greatest album.
Residing in England, Steve Hackett may be better known to my readers as the lead guitarist for Genesis in their earlier years. Playing on iconic albums like “Selling England By The Pound” and “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway,” Hackett has decades of experience, performing for thousands, if not millions of fans. His musical range is intense, as he can genre-skip between progressive rock, classical, and blues. Hackett is known for striving to explore and expand on his sound, which is easily heard on this album. Included are a range of instruments from countries he has explored during the album’s creation process. After more than 20 solo albums, I believe he has nailed it with his latest album “Wolflight,” an album that not only continues to expand upon the evolving sound of his prior work, but provides an opportunity of listening to the combination of all he has learned along the way.
Similar to albums like “The Theory of Everything” and “New World” mentioned in this blog, “Wolflight” contains an all-star lineup of guest musicians. Accompanying him are many notable musicians, including Roger King on the keyboard, Gary O’Toole on drums, Nick Beggs on bass guitar, and several others. Each member brings their own talent and influence on this record, which perfectly meshes with Hackett’s overall direction. The overall feel of the album is gothic, yet nostalgic, as the different instruments included in the album help the listener feel as if they are traveling in the dark among wolves. The inclusion of wind instruments helps to enhance Hackett’s classical sound (“Corycian Fire”), while adding keyboards and other modern noises brought out its more gothic influences (“Love Song to a Vampire”). With the abundance of instruments on this album, I almost feel as if I’m embarking on a cinematic adventure, traveling among the wolf pack, and learning some lessons along the way. I thoroughly enjoyed “Wolflight” as each song changed the album’s direction, adding a new layer upon the previous.
Clocking in at almost an hour, this album contains many, many moments of pure awesomeness. Each song contains Hackett’s finest work on the guitar, plus interesting compositions from the other members. The album starts perfectly with the howling of a wolf in the symphonic introduction “Out of the Body.” Nine emotional songs follow, including the flamenco, yet heavy title track “Wolflight.” There are two songs that stand out to me the most, though: “Love Song to a Vampire” and “Black Thunder.” Both songs contain very jammy rhythm sections reminiscent of Hackett’s previous work in Genesis, but contain a spin that makes it otherwise unique. Whether the keyboard orchestrations in “Love Song” or the classical string instruments in “Black Thunder,” Hackett continues to inspire listeners with his individuality and creativity.
I highly recommend this album to lovers of classic rock music. Being a ex-member of Genesis, I would recommend this album to lovers of bands related to them, like Emerson Lake and Palmer, Yes, Peter Gabriel, The Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, and others. Please support “Wolflight” through iTunes, and support Steve Hackett by following him on his website and Twitter. As he prepares for a tour in support of this amazing album, I can only hope that Hackett makes a stop in California.
Check out this Youtube video featuring the title track “Wolflight”: