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Hackett, Steve: At The Edge Of Light (CD/DVD)

Steve Hackett has continued to be one of the most prolific and respected progressive rock artists over the past forty plus years. It is indeed an incredible feat to remain so relevant these past few years. And from all I have read he is great guy to boot which is refreshing in itself as so often our musical heroes are not perfect to say the least. Hey, we’re all human and prone to make mistakes. Okay, we’ve established Mr. Hackett is deserving of all the accolades bestowed upon him but that doesn’t automatically make his new album titled At The Edge Of Light a great record. You know the old saying what have you done for me lately? Well, as far as this new disc is concerned and not mincing words, it is absolutely stellar.

Joining Hackett is a cast of seventeen musicians including keyboardist Roger King who has been with Hackett for a number of years. And let me tell you, as we would expect, the musicianship on display is top notch and the band play together seamlessly. Musically, the theme of the album seems to be centered around Middle Eastern accents, the keyboard strings play a major role here. The album begins with the short instrumental “Fallen Walls and Pedestals”. The keys imbue Middle Eastern string sounds leading to Hackett’s dramatic guitar before seguing into “Beasts in Our Time” having a slightly darker vibe going on. A pastoral acoustic guitar arpeggio and moody strings lead to sweeping orchestrations. The saxophone solo courtesy of Rob Townsend is a real treat. More upbeat is the rather joyful “Under the Eye of the Sun” with its Yes-like vocal arrangement, stabbing electric guitar and swirling keyboards. The song takes a mellow turn with mysterious and ethereal flute and bass clarinet, again courtesy of Townsend. World music has certainly been evident in Hackett’s music of late. Eventually Hackett’s soaring lead guitar takes us out of the pastoral and into melodic prog territory. Hackett channels the sounds of the deep south with some tasty and bluesy guitar work on “Underground Railroad”. The gospel tinged female vocals are quite nice and the proggy rhythmic attack with fine guitar and keys play to the band’s strengths. At over eleven minutes is “Those Golden Wings” the disc’s longest and perhaps best song. It’s really everything I would want in a Hackett epic; excellent vocals, fantastic acoustic and electric guitar, majestic strings and striking choral sections. The church choir backing vocals are really something to behold. With “Shadow and Flame” the Eastern touches are more tangible with percussion and sitar really adding to its exotic charms. Hackett’s guitar work has that Eastern tone down to perfection. The pop inflected “Hungry Years” is a breezier number with the melody carrying the day. Definitely the catchiest track here.

The bonus DVD includes a 5.1 surround mix of the album and the documentary Somewhere at The Edge of Light where Steve delves into the making of the album. Very interesting indeed.

What an impressive statement At The Edge Of Light makes. Steve Hackett is the embodiment of class, a true elder statesmen of progressive rock and of that there can be no doubt. Simply outstanding!

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

1. Stereo Audio 48/24
2. 5.1 Audio
3. Documentary ��" Somewhere at The Edge of Light

Added: March 17th 2019
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artsit's Official Site
Hits: 1076
Language: english

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