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Steve Hackett - 'Beyond The Shrouded Horizon' (Inside Out / EMI) 4.5/5

I find Steve Hackett albums are a bit of a glorious lucky dip, you never know what your gonna get until you give them a first spin, will it be the traditional prog Steve? Steve the blueser? classical Steve? World music Steve? or a combination of some some or all the above...

Now this is the 22nd solo studio release from the former Genesis six stringer and all around guitar legend, and I'm glad to say it falls into the all of the above category. It's not that Steve is any less a blues player or classical player than he is in any other style, it's that Mr Hackett is such a diverse and inventive player that you really do want to hear him cover all bases.

So whats the new album like? Well if your familiar with his solo work you will know what to expect. If not, well then your in for a treat. This album is a cracking listen from the atmospheric and uplifting opener of Loch Lomand (NOT the cheesy Scottish folk tune) to the twelve minute closing epic of Turn This Island Earth with its 300 track orchestration - there is not a weak moment on show. And you get all sides of Steve to marvel at as well. The old school proggers will love the prog Steve on tracks like The Phoenix Flown and A Place Called Freedom; fans of classical 'Bay Of Kings' style Steve will dig tracks like Wanderlust and Summers Breath; whilst fans of Steve the blueser are in for a real treat on Catwalk when his joined by Yes bassman Chris Squire and ex AC/DC and Judas Priest drummer Simon Phillips for one of the dirtiest low down slow blues sleaze outs you'll hear in a long time.

I could go on for hours praising the pants of this album, but I have a stack of other albums to process and review - but take it from me Mr Hackett is a man who never fails to deliver goods, be it as a guitarist, vocalist, songwriter or producer and Beyond The Shrouded Horizon is another winner that should in everyone's record collection.

For fans of .. great guitar work and great music in general.

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