Beyond The Shrouded Horizon was one of my favourite albums of 2011 and now Steve Hackett has released Genesis Revisited 2. It's the follow-up to Genesis Revisited (1996) and on this new double album Steve reinterprets the golden era of Genesis, in which he was very much involved. If you look at the impressive list of guest musicians, you might think that this is a great album. And, surprise, it really is an amazing album with Genesis songs taken from six albums. This double album with a playing time of almost two and a half hours also includes four tracks with a Genesis connection.
When I listened to the album for the first time I was really amazed about the fact that these mainly early seventies songs sound so alive and refreshing. With a total of twenty-one songs, I only picked out the highlights and one or two disappointments; otherwise this review would end up far too long. As far as I'm concerned, the epic Genesis classic Supper's Ready from Foxtrot (1972) belongs to the best songs on CD1. It stays very close to the original recording, only now five different singers are involved of whom Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth) and Francis Dunnery (ex-It Bites) do the best job. This is still a symphonic rock masterpiece. Dancing With The Moonlit Knight from Selling England By The Pound (1973) is the next highlight; it's still one of my Genesis all-time favourites. Hackett plays a short acoustic and new guitar intro, while Dunnery sings again.
Next is Fly On A Windshield from the double album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974), featuring a breathtaking guitar solo by Steve Hackett while Gary O'Toole is vocally doing a great job. The fourth highlight on the first CD is of course The Musical Box from Nursery Cryme (1971), again a classic Genesis song that contains a slightly changed intro. However, the vocals by Nad Sylvan (Agents Of Mercy, Unifaun) could have been done better. Can-Utility And The Coastliners features Porcupine Tree front man Steven Wilson on vocals and I really like this interpretation, which is again rather close to the original song on Foxtrot. The last track on the first CD is Please Don't Touch, an instrumental track originally linked to Wot Gorilla on Wind And Wuthering (1976), featuring pleasant guitar parts and a magnificent John Hackett on flute.
In general, CD2 is mellower containing a couple of relatively weak Genesis interpretations, but let me start with the strong ones. The Return Of The Giant Hogweed from Nursery Cryme features singer Neal Morse and guitarist Roine Stolt. It really resembles the Genesis version of 1971, although it's more aggressive, especially Stolt's guitar solo in the end. ...In That Quiet Earth from Wind And Wuthering is an instrumental solo track by Steve Hackett which proves again what a wonderful guitar player he is. Another instrumental solo track is A Tower Struck Down from Voyage Of The Acolyte (1975), Hackett's debut album. It belongs to one of the highlights on the second disc thanks to Steve's great playing and improvising. Shadow Of The Hierophant, again from his debut, is the final track of the album containing great female vocals by Amanda Lehmann, although Steve steals the show with his weeping guitar melodies. Steven Wilson also plays the guitar on this rather bombastic ending piece.
The 'disappointments' on this album, or perhaps I should say the tracks that doesn't belong to my favourites are in no particular order. Blood On The Rooftops holds too much acoustic guitar work and a rather odd sax solo. On Eleventh Earl Of Mar Nad Sylvan's vocals are absolutely out of place, making this a rather weird version. Entangled is a classic Genesis song from A Trick Of The Tail (1975), but here it's far too mellow, that is, too much keyboards and Jakko Jaksyk's vocals are actually too sweet. Ripples also contains weak vocals: the voice of Amanda Lehmann is really misplaced here, making it the weirdest song on the entire album. So, CD1 exceeds CD2 by far concerning highlights and yes, a couple of tracks are absolutely fantastic. However, some tracks sound rather odd due to the vocal parts, but it's obvious that you can't replace Peter Gabriel's voice, just like that. Still Genesis Revisited 2 is a must for fans of Genesis, as it is a superb album with a sheer brilliant sound.
**** Martien Koolen (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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