A very long time ago, way back in 1975 Steve Hackett released his first solo album Voyage Of The Acolyte and since then the former Genesis guitar picker has been releasing albums on a regular basis. Wolflight (2005, see review) and The Night Siren (2017, see review) belong to my all-time favourite Hackett albums ever as they showcase his exceptional guitar playing in full force. This year Hackett released Under A Mediterranean Sky, an acoustic, instrumental album which was in fact a bit too soft for me as I am not really a fan of acoustic guitar music...
Surrender Of Silence is Hackett's 27th solo album and thank God it is a full-on electric one again, featuring among others: Jonas Reingold (bass guitar), Craig Blundell (drums), Nick D'Virgilio (drums) and Nad Sylvan (vocals). The instrumental intro The Obliterati kicks off this album with full force guitar arpeggios, riffs, and solos, followed by Natalia which is a typical Hackett track with magical guitar melodies/solos galore; it is also a heavy and bombastic track with lots of orchestration; superbly done by Roger King by the way! Relaxation Music For Harks is another highlight of this album featuring the amazing drumming of ex-Spock's Beard Nick D'Virgilio and this one is a rather weird, cheesy instrumental song. The first advance video and single of this album Wingbeats is a true world music song with lots of African rhythms and other musical colours. Two other favourites of mine, and possible live killer anthems for the future, are Day Of The Dead and Held In The Shadows as both are filled with awesome guitar licks, melodies, and solos: in other words, Hackett at his best! Need I say more to convince everyone that Surrender Of Silence is again a Hackett masterpiece? Well, Scorched Earth, packed with super melodic solos, is a treat for the ears and Shanghai To Samarkand, the centrepiece of the album is again a wonderful song filled with influences from all over the world. Of course, I also need to mention The Devil's Cathedral with splendid vocal work from Nad Sylvan and I would definitely call this one a classic up to date prog song with blistering guitar work from Hackett. This awesome album ends with the, sad but true, rather mediocre acoustic instrumental Esperanza.
But still Surrender Of Silence is again a must have for Hackett fans as it is diverse, powerful, and very creative. Listening tip: Scorched Earth.
**** Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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