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To Watch The Storms

music reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: To Watch The Storms

Artist: Steve Hackett
Genre: Rock/Pop
Release Date: June 2003

Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
3 stars out of 4

To Watch The Storms is the first Steve Hackett album in four years. Although that seems like a long time between albums, it is not hard to imagine how quickly the years could fly by when you are involved with a multitude of projects such as Hackett.

The new CD features Hackett playing extraordinary guitar as well as numerous other instruments like the Rain Stick and Koto, which are not your common everyday instruments that come into play when recording a rock album. Certainly, this is not your ordinary rock album. The album focuses on one of the premier guitarists in the world making progressive artistic rock music that many high caliber musicians would find inconceivable or quite difficult to produce. Hackett very smartly brought onboard some supportive and diverse talent to help him reach his goals. Roger King (Piano, Organ, Synthesizer), Rob Townsend (Brass, Woodwind, Whistles), Terry Gregory (Vocals, Basses, Pedals & Thunder), Gary O Toole (Vocals, Acoustics & Electric Drums, Percussion), and various guests such as Ian McDonald, all contributed to the outcome of this successful recording.

From the decidedly uncommon progressive-pop sensibilities of The Devil is an Englishman, to the Far East flavor of The Silk Road, there is nothing accidental or coincidental in the way Hackett conceives and follows through with a recording session. He is a very gifted individual that systematically approaches every track, making sure his audience gets the very best of him and as much variety of his artistic vision as possible.

After listening to the album, it certainly became more than apparent that the results harvested from the recording sessions of this album were well worth the wait for all of the followers of progressive rock as a whole and Hacketts illustrious career. There is so much to this man and his music that every track offers new musical adventures. He can rock hard with biting and piercing guitar licks to satisfy the progressive rock enthusiast, or dazzle a jazz audience with a completely different sound by plucking a soft and tasteful acoustic number, giving a collective nod to past six-string magicians such as Segovia and Reinhardt. I think you will unearth more uniqueness and subtleties with each successive listen to this CD; in fact, I have no doubt that if you are a veteran prog-rock listener that you will be very pleased with this effort and will feel compelled to listen repeatedly to this masterstroke of musical accomplishments.

What is a span of four years when you can put out a quality album like this every time out? Many people would consider this as a career breakthrough album; Hackett makes it look like a matter of course, another day at the office for an old pro. This is yet another convincing reason to believe he has been one of the most consistent musicians since his days with Genesis.

1. Strutton Ground-3:04
2. Circus of Becoming-3:48
3. The Devil is an Englishman-4:27
4. Frozen Statues-2:58
5. Mechanical Bride-6:40
6. Wind, Sand and Stars-5:08
7. Brand New-4:41
8. This World-5:19
9. Rebecca-4:20
10. The Silk Road-5:25
11. Come Away-3:13
12. The Moon Under Water
13. Serpentine Song-6:56

Steve Hackett-Vocals, Guitar, Optigan, Harmonica, Koto, Rain Stick, Chimes, Quatro
Roger King-Piano, Organ, Synthesizer, Vocoder, Research & Programming
Rob Townsend-Brass, Woodwind, Whistles & One-man Serpentine chorus machine
Terry Gregory-Vocals, Basses, Pedals & Thunder
Gary O Toole-Vocals, Acoustics & Electric Drums, Percussion with regular and ferocious beatings!
John Hackett-Flute solo on Serpentine Song
Ian McDonald-Sax on Brand New
Jeanne Downs-Backing Vocals
Sarah Wilson, Cello & Howard Gott, Violin



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