Legendary progressive rock guitarist Steve Hackett's latest CD on InsideOut Music America To Watch the Storms is a solid return to the style that made him a household name as a member of Genesis as well as a busy solo artist in the 1970's. Featuring a healthy mix of dark complex prog rock, gorgeous classical guitar pieces, and lighthearted symphonic rock with a British touch, this is easily Hackett's most enjoyable platter in years.
"The Devil is an Englishman" features a funky beat backing up Hackett's frenzied guitar stylings and James Bond vocal narrations, and is one of the more unique tracks on the CD. Elsewhere, there is raging prog rock like "Mechanical Bride", one of the heaviest and most complex songs the guitarist has ever recorded. At just under seven minutes long, this tune sees Hackett laying down some wicked riffs, until he breaks through the Mellotron choirs to go into insanely intricate duels with keyboard player Roger King. The maestro's use of two hand tapping, delay, and other cool effects make for a huge and dazzling wall of sound. "The Silk Road" contains awesome percussion from Gary O'Toole, plus some melodic acoustic and electric guitar breaks from Hackett, both combined to give the song a very ethnic feel. I'm reminded of Wind and Wuthering era Genesis on "Strutton Ground", a beautiful and serene tune featuring great vocals from Hackett, deft acoustic guitars, and atmospheric keys.
Fans of the Hackett's wonderful classical work will love the lush "Wind, Sand, and Stars", the hypnotic "The World", and the hauntingly enchanting "Rebecca." The latter lulls you into a quiet embrace before blasting forth into a Yes flavored prog romp with Hackett's fiery lead work yearning for all the attention, and getting it, before once again settling in for a calm outro. There's really something for everyone here, as Steve Hackett has put together a CD that is as varied and strong as his late 70's classics. Bravo Steve!