Lee Speaks About Music… #141

At The Edge Of Light – Steve Hackett



Released precisely a year ago now At The Edge Of Light is Steve Hackett’s 25th and latest studio album to date. It’s an album that continues very much in the same light as his previous two albums Wolflight & The Night Siren but perhaps more like the latter of the two with its diversity and the way that it was recorded mostly at his own home in Teddington. Once again, he has brought in some other additional musicians as well as retaining the ones that have been with him for quite a while and a few who appeared on his previous album.

In many respects you could say that these days Steve Hackett is going down the same road of Peter Gabriel regarding World Music. I would also say that this particular album is also verging more into the popular music side of things with its diversity and its wider range of musical styles. At The Edge Of Light may have PROGMATIC! and ROCK! elements about it, but he’s also introducing pop, blues and even gospel into the mix here along with the CINEMATICS! and DRAMATICS!

There is no doubt that through playing and visiting many other countries that Steve Hackett has broadened his musical palette so to speak and is presenting you something a bit different each time to keep things fresh. In many ways he is taking his music to new heights and in new directions with how he’s going about things and he is expanding upon them. But is this new direction really working? Well it certainly appears to be and before I go any deeper into how it is let’s first take a look at the packaging and artwork.

The Packaging & Artwork…


Just like his previous two album releases both discs come in a high quality thick cardboard Digipak Mediabook which is the same material used to make a hardback book. Clear plastic trays on the left and right of the inner panels hold the discs firmly in place and it comes with a 28-page fixed booklet with all the linear credit production notes and lyrics. It also comes with some high-resolution pictures that are associated with the albums tracks. I very much like the presentation the Mediabook presents and these things are the kings of Digipaks when it comes to genuine top quality.

The album was released in 4 media formats the cheapest of them being the Digital Download. A Double Vinyl LP. A CD only edition and a Mediabook that includes a CD & DVD. The Mediabook was my preferred choice and I purchased it from Amazon UK for £14.69 saving a few quid over its retail price. A Limited-Edition Double LP pressed that came with the CD was also released giving you the choice of black, white, blue, red and clear vinyl.



The artwork for the albums front cover and the photos for the Mediabook were done once again both Maurizio & Angéla Vicedomini. Much of the photos were used to represent each track on the album and were taken from many different countries. The layout and design were done by Thomas Ewerhard. The album cover represents the dark and light that pertains to the subject matter of the material written for the album and looks quite striking but nevertheless it does not quite grab me like some of Hackett’s earlier solo albums such as the artwork that was done for Voyage Of Acolyte, Please Don’t Touch and Highly Strung for example.

At The Edge Of Light Album In Review…

Steve Hackett’s 25th studio album At The Edge Of Light was released on the 25th January 2019. The album contains 10 tracks that span over and overall playing time of 53 minutes, 21 seconds and Hackett himself described the album as a companion to his previous album The Night Siren. It also shared the same success as his previous album also by reaching number 28 in the UK charts and once again did better in Germany and peaked at number 13 in the official German album charts.

2019 was a good year for Steve Hackett and a couple of months after the release of his new album in March of the same year he was awarded the best guitarist award by the Classic Rock Society. I am sure he was humbly honoured by the award and good on him to get it too, simply because there is no doubt, he is a very good guitarist and one of the many GREATS! out there.

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Speaking off his guitar playing I have always admired his work on the nylon and acoustic guitar more so than his playing on the electric, but he can without doubt play some GREAT! solos on the electric. Much of his better solo work on the electric does come for the past more than the present. For example, the solo he played on the Genesis song “Firth Of Fifth” I am sure many people will never forget but in reality he never played a great deal of guitar solos with Genesis. Sure, he played some fine lead lines on the electric for the band but that particular song is the only guitar solo that stands out.

A lot more of his electric stand out solos can be found on his earlier solo albums and the guitar solo he played on “Spectral Mornings” would certainly be another GREAT! stand out guitar solo. But more recently on his last couple of albums Wolflight and The Night Siren I have been paying attention to his solo work and it does appear to be standing out a bit once again. But on this latest album At The Edge Of Light is where I personally feel his guitar solo work has come out a lot more and is starting to shine once again and he really has put some GREAT! guitar work into this album.

Steve Hackett had no old material left and everything was written new from scratch for this album. The same methods were used to record and mix the album and was mostly done at his own house in Teddington with the other musicians recording their parts at their own homes or studios and sending them to Hackett for Roger King to mix. Most of the core musicians who have appeared on his previous albums are here along with a few others such as bassist Jonas Reingold and drummer Simon Phillips to name a couple. There is also a real sitar player on the album and McBroom sisters who are more known for their harmonic backing vocals with Pink Floyd also make an appearance.

The DVD.

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I am not entirely sure why Hackett decided to use a DVD rather than a Blu Ray for the Mediabook like he had done with the two previous releases but I do not think you are really losing out on anything regarding the audio and even the picture of the albums cover looks a lot sharper and brighter than the album cover itself. I like how they used the whole of the picture too unlike the way they did the menu for The Night Siren. The stars in the sky also twinkle besides seeing the lighting flash every now and then.

Speaking of the menus they have been done differently in comparison to both Wolflight and The Night Siren and instead of using drop down menus for the options which are “Stereo Audio” and “5.1 Audio” it does have to load to another screen to show you the further options as you can see in the picture below.

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By clicking on any of the “Stereo Audio” and “5.1 Audio” options from the main menu it loads to another screen that gives you 3 further options of “Play Album”. “Track Select” and “Audio Select”. It’s certainly most unusual for the “Play Album” option not to be included on the main menu and you do have to navigate a bit more than the way they done things for Wolflight and The Night Siren and I felt the way they had gone about the layout and navigation for those two albums were a bit better.

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By clicking on the “Track Select” option another menu drops down displaying the albums tracks for you to choose from and the options to go “Back” to the previous menu or to the “Main menu” are also included as you can see from the picture above. Pretty much the same for the “Audio Select” as you can see in the picture below.

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The “Audio Select” gives you the choice of 3 audio soundtracks and by clicking on “Stereo” (not seen on this display picture) it will playback in stereo. The other 2 surround mixes can be seen in the display picture above and by default the audio is set to the DTS Master 5.1 mix. There is also a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and a LPCM Stereo mix. All 3 formats are in 24 bits & 48K.

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Unlike both Wolflight and The Night Siren whilst listening to the album it displays the albums front cover for every track and the only thing that changes is the title of each track as it goes along. I have no idea why they never chose to follow suit by displaying a different picture for every track especially as the pictures in the Mediabook were designated to represent each track on the album.

The bonus material seems to be getting shorter too and the only bonus feature is the behind the scenes documentary entitled “Somewhere at The Edge of Light” well that’s at least how it is refereed to twice in the Mediabook but on the disc itself they call it a making of documentary. But basically, you get a 20-and-a-half-minute video shot and directed by Paul Gosling showing you how they went about recording the album and speaking about what it’s all about. The audio is in 48k 16 bit which is well adequate for this purpose and it provides some useful informative information.

The 5.1 Mix.

Once again, the 5.1 mix is all good and Roger King has done another very good job of it without going to overboard. There maybe a few places where he may of gone over the top for the effect on “The Eye of the Sun” for example, but overall he has done well with the placement and threw in some well good panned out parts across all the channels which do add to more of an exciting mix. Another example of that would be Hackett’s lead guitar solo on “Beasts of our Time“. I quite like how he’s panned the intro played on the dobro guitar on “Underground Railroad” in the rear left channel, and on that track, he has made well good use of separating the instrumentation throughout.

The 5.1 mix works wonders for much of the orchestration too in particular on “Beasts of our Time” and “Those Golden Wings“. The 5.1 mix does bring out much more than the stereo mix and once again like the 5.1 mix he did for The Night Siren album it’s a very satisfying and enjoyable mix and well worth of a rating of 8 out of 10.

Musicians & Credits…

2018 © Tina Korhonen/ www.tina-k.com

All tracks Produced by Steve Hackett & Roger King (except track 8 Produced by Steve Hackett & Benedict Fenner). All tracks Recorded & Mixed by Roger King at Siren (Except track 8 Recorded & Mixed by Benedict Fenner at The Paddock. Additional Engineering by Tamas Barabas (Track1). Johann Asmundsson (Track 3). Mark Hornsby (Track 5) and Benedict Fenner (Track 7).

All compositions written by Steve Hackett (except Tracks 2, 4 & 5 by Steve Hackett / Jo Hackett / Roger King. Tracks 3, 6 & 10 by Steve & Jo Hackett. Tracks 1 & 9 by Steve Hackett / Roger King. Mastered by Roger King at Siren. Design by Thomas Ewerhard. Photographic artwork by Maurizio and Angéla Vicedomini for Iconphoto. Blu Ray Authoring by Ray Shulman. 5.1 surround Mix by Roger King.


Steve Hackett: Vocals – Electric, Acoustic, 12 String & Dobro Guitars – Bass Guitar – Harmonica.
Roger King: Keyboards – Programming & Orchestral Arrangements (except on track 8).
Rob Townsend: Tenor Sax – Flute – Dudek – Bass Clarinet (Tracks 2 & 3).
Amanda Lehmann: Vocals (Tracks 3, 4, 5, 7 & 10).

Additional Musicians.

John Hackett: Flute (Tracks 2, 3, 5 & 9).
Jonas Reingold: Bass (Tracks 2, 3 & 7).
Dick Driver: Double Bass (Tracks 3 & 5).                                                                         Benedict Fenner: Keyboards & Programming (Tracks 7 & 8).
Christine Townsend: Violin & Viola (Track 5).
Gary O’Tool: Drums (Track 1).
Gulli Briem: Drums & Percussion (Track 3).
Nick D’Virgilio: Drums (Track 5).
Simon Phillips: Drums (Track 7).
Malik Mansurov: Tar (Track 1).
Paul Stillwell: Didgeridoo (Track 3).
Sheema Mukherjee: Sitar (Track 6).
Durga McBroom: Vocals (Track 4).
Lorelei McBroom: Vocals (Track 4).

The Album Tracks In Review…

One of the things that still remains in putting the album together is the synthetic aspect side of things. For example, even though there are 4 GREAT! drummers on the album they only get to play on one track each. So, most of the tracks the drums have very much been programmed. The orchestral arrangements are also still present for the dramatic side of things however, the fact that there is less of them I do feel this album works better for it especially in comparison to both Wolflight and The Night Siren.

Regarding the orchestral arrangements I really felt sorry for Christine Townsend simply because her violin & viola was being mixed and blended in with the other orchestral arrangements that Roger King had done with his keyboards. If you read my last review of The Night Siren I did note that the orchestral arrangements were not like listening to Jethro Tull where you can hear the orchestral elements played with real instruments, rather than having everything far too blown up to the grandeur scale of things for you to hear her parts stand out and say that she is even on the album.

Watching her playing her parts in the short documentaries that have come with the last 3 albums you can clearly hear the whole resonance that the violin and viola produce and it sounds way better than the end product where they have been mixed with synthetics. I can understand to a degree that they are trying to replicate a full blown out orchestra rather than a string quartet for example, but it does without doubt ruin the fine qualities the real instrument can produce and it no longer speaks the same language.

As a musician you want to be heard and I am sure if people bumped into Christine and said “you’re that person who played on Steve Hackett’s albums” she would most likely reply “Oh yes I am on there somewhere” :)))))). Strangely enough she does only appear on the one track on this album.

The other thing I feel works better on this album is that Steve Hackett is mainly sticking to his main instrument the guitar and he does utilise all of them to a great extent including the Dobro on one of the tracks.

Although At The Edge Of Light is not a concept album it very much starts off and ends off like one with how the material was written for some of the tracks to tailspin and link up with one another so let’s now take a look at the individual tracks.

Track 1. Fallen Walls and Pedestals.

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The album opens up in GREAT! style with an instrumental piece that is done in a way of an introduction to the dramatic piece that it is to follow it. This opening piece is the shortest track on the album and features Malik Mansurov on Tar who also played the instrument on the previous two albums only here the instrument is only used at the very beginning for all of about 7 seconds. It’s also one of the 4 tracks on the album that real drums have been used and features Hackett’s long time drummer Gary O’Tool who retired from playing with Hackett’s band back in October 2018 due to wanting to spend more time with his family and concentrate more on the school of music he set up in Denmark Street, London to teach others to play various instruments.

The title suggests something along the lines of the battle of Jericho and O’Tool’s drum ignite the spark for the piece to explode into action. Hackett plays some blustering solo on his electric guitar which reflects the power of the battle and the falling walls and Roger King provides the backdrop for him to run his lead lines over with the orchestral strings that have an eastern flavour and add to the dramatics. It really does get the album off to a flying start and it very nicely tailspins into the next track.

Track 2. Beasts in Our Time.

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The first of the vocal tracks on the album is quite an epic piece of drama that sort of pertains to the beasts of today stepping into new shoes of those from the past and reflects on the horror that still exists sort of thing. The song is put across in stages and is sort of like a horror story or nightmare and in a way like “The Wheels Turning” from his Wolflight album. It’s like going from a pleasant dream into a nightmare sort of thing as in the official video that made to promote the album.

Steve Hackett handles all the vocals and harmonies himself and also utilises his acoustic guitar very well into the opening verses of the song which is how the basis of the song was constructed. The song contains some fine progression and transitional changes and features a blistering sax solo from Rob Townsend besides some GREAT! solo work on the electric guitar by Hackett.

There is also some really GREAT! interplay between Rob Townsend on the bass clarinet and John Hackett on flute in sections too. Roger King handles all the orchestral duties and also and also provides some haunting vibes on the keys and it also features Jonas Reingold on bass. The “Beasts in Our Time” is my personal favourite track on the album and merits the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 3. Under the Eye of the Sun.

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For this next song they drop most of the dramatics and orchestration and Roger King gets to play some synth work for a change. There is a string section in it and it features both Jonas Reingold and Dick Driver on bass though the latter of the two is playing the double bass with a bow which adds to the string section more in the way of a cello. It also features Gulli Briem on drums and percussion that drives it along very well and at some pace. Both Hackett and Amanda Lehmann are on vocal duties and the combination of their harmonies give it a bit of Yes presence, it reminds me a bit like “Into The Lens” from their 1980 album Drama blended in with a bit of GTR sort of thing.

It has quite a mystic come down section in the middle and features Paul Stillwell on didgeridoo to which Rob Townsend plays the dudek. He also contributes bass clarinet and sax too whilst John Hackett’s echoing flute brings us back into the light and the song bursts back into the action with Hackett flying along on his electric guitar and it gets rounded off nicely enough with another string section. Overall, it’s quite a good song and good to get a break from all the overblown orchestration all the time.

Track 4. Underground Railroad.

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Another of the songs on the album that gives us a bit more variation and lyrically it runs along the same lines as “Black Thunder” from his Wolflight album in that the lyrics are pertaining to the freedom of slavery and back in the days of pre-Civil War in America many of the slaves who were digging the tunnels for the underground railroad did get to escape. Musically the song runs along the lines of blues, gospel and rock and Hackett does a well tasty job on the Dobro guitar as well as the electric and acoustic. He also plays the old Gob Iron (harmonica and bass on it too and both Durga and Lorelei McBroom (more notorious for working with Pink Floyd) add the gospel touch to the song with their GREAT! vocals and harmonies.

The “Underground Railroad” is a really GREAT! track the way it’s been put together and how everything works its way into it. I also personally think it’s better than “Black Thunder” with how well everything slots into place like a glove. It’s another contender for albums TOP SPOT AWARD! and I do feel it’s one of the albums stronger tracks and it works particularly well in providing the album with some variety.

Track 5. Those Golden Wings.

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The CINEMATICS! and DRAMATICS! are back in BIG STYLE! and this is the longest track on the album weighing in at some 11 minutes 19 seconds. It’s an epic love song that means a lot to Hackett as its about his wife and it reflects what he himself describes as her personal journey to get to where they are in their relationship. The song itself goes through some twists and turns and captivates the romantic side of things and the dangerous voyage and quest it took to get there.

The way the song opens up with the orchestral side of things is like being at the movies watching something like “Gone with the Wind” or “My Fair Lady” sort of thing, but thankfully it’s only a short introduction and the 12 string comes into play to bring in the opening verse. Personally the 12 string and nylon work that Hackett plays on this song are my favourite parts about it.

The melody line he plays on the electric that first comes into play around the 3:18 mark and gets repeated in other parts of the song. For some strange reason has me singing the words “In a most delightful way” to it, which are the very last sentence of the chorus for “A Spoonful of Sugar” that Julie Andrews wrote for the film Mary Poppins. I am sure it’s nothing like that song but for the life of me I cannot get it out of my head every time I hear it :)))))).

The orchestra and choral sections project the grandeur scheme of things in BIGGING IT UP! sort of thing and once again Christine Townsend’s violin and viola and Dick Driver’s double bass lend support to the orchestration Roger King has provided for the piece. It works pretty well and Hackett rocks it up on his electric guitar which does lend a hand in breaking it up in sections, but there is quite a bit of repetitiveness that goes into stretching this one out. It also features Nick D’Virgilio on drums and John Hackett once again on flute.

I think for many they would see “Those Golden Wings” as the highlighted track of the album and their personal favourite. For me personally there are certain aspects I can like and dislike about it and there are times I can enjoy listening to it and others where I think it’s too overblown sort of thing. I do see it has a contender for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! regardless because quite a lot has been put into it.

Track 6. Shadow and Flame.

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This next song gives us another touch of an eastern flavour like we have seen on the past couple of Hackett’s albums only this time it features Sheema Mukherjee playing a real sitar. It was inspired by India and depicts the strong contrast of light and dark on the River Ganges, where life and death interplay within and at the water’s edge according to Hackett. Apart from the vocal side of things Hackett’s only other part in the song comes into play towards the end with his electric guitar and Roger King takes pretty much care of the rest.

The opening intro puts me in mind of Peter Gabriel’sExposure” but it soon goes off down another road and builds into a raga. Sheema Mukherjee does do a very good job on the sitar and there is a lot of heavy percussion thrown into the pot here. This sort of eastern music is not in particular to my taste but luckily enough it has not been dragged out and is only a 4-minute track.

Track 7. Hungry Years.

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The pop song of the album and this is quite a light and airy song and it sort of takes me back to 1981 with his 5th album Cured. The melody line in the verse section also is a bit along the same lines as the self-titled track from Camel’s 1978 album Breathless. It’s also a song where Amanda Lehmann gets to utilise her voice a lot more and it does work very well alongside with Hackett’s in particular with the harmonies too. It also features Simon Phillips on drums and Jonas Reingold on bass to which is bass line does stand out well during Hackett’s lead break on the guitar at the end. Overall “Hungary Years” is a very fine song and Benedict Fenner also gets to contribute some keyboards with Roger King on the track.

Track 8. Decent.

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Descent” is the first part of a sort of 3-piece suite that work in conjunction with one another to round off the album. The first couple of parts are instrumental pieces and this particular piece is something that Hackett did with Benedict Fenner and was originally intended as a bonus track for the album. Steve Hackett got his inspiration for the piece from Ravel’sBolero“. However, it also sounds like a combination between Holst’sMars the Bringer of War” from the Planets and “Apocalypse 9/8” from “Suppers Ready” by Genesis.

Track 9. Conflict.

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Spiralling out of the darkness of fear, the 2nd part of the suite represents a battle and sounds like something that you would associate with a spy or James Bond movie. It features Steve Hackett and Roger King and according to the credit notes John Hackett contributes flute to this piece also. Though you would be lucky to pick him out amongst the orchestration that King has provided. The piece winds itself down nicely to allow King to start the final part of the suite on the piano.

Track 10. Peace.

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A song of hope ends off the final part of the suite and the album very well and Amanda Lehmann returns to support Hackett on vocal duties and apart from his guitar on the track the rest is very much handled by Roger King. The chorus section of the song reminds me of Neil Young’sSouthern Man” and Hackett even has a bit of Brian May touch with the sound to it on the solo. “Peace” puts the album to bed very well and all 3 parts of the suite very well slot into one another and work very well to round off the album.


In summary Steve Hackett’s 25th studio album At The Edge Of Light I do feel it offers slightly more variety with the material that was written for it. The acoustic side things is also more present here in relation to his previous album The Night Siren. Though perhaps not quite as present with his 23rd album Wolflight. You could say that his last 3 albums have been moulded together in the same way, especially regarding the synthetic aspects with orchestral side of things. Though what wins this album over for me personally is that it does have less of the fuller blown out orchestration and the wider variety it offers like I mentioned.

The bonus material is very much on the slim side of things and I can only presume that the official video that was made for “Beasts in Our Time” would have been made after the DVD was finalized and rendered. But it was good to see that it was included on the Genesis Revisited Band & Orchestra live release. But the bonus content does appear to be getting shorter and shorter and they could have perhaps included the couple of bonus tracks that the Japanese release got. But I cannot really have any complaint as it does come with a very good 5.1 mix and that is the real bonus for me personally.


To round up my review of At The Edge Of Light by Steve Hackett and regarding if he is taking his music to new heights and in new directions with how he’s going about things and he is expanding upon them. I personally think regarding the PROGMATIC! side of things nothing has really changed and even by going along with more of a CINEMATIC! approach like he has over his last 3 albums could be seen as a newer approach to how he’s going about making his music these days.

But in all honesty Hackett has always had a certain amount of dramatization within his music since the day he started his solo career. His approach to writing has never really changed either and the one thing that has never changed is his own formidable style and approach to his music and that is what I have always admired about him. He’s very much stuck to his gun’s and give his fans from day one what they want and he’s still very much doing that with this GREAT! album despite some of the synthetic aspects that have been thrown into the pot along the way.

The Mediabook is well worth its price point and for surround FREAKS! like myself it’s well worth getting for the 5.1 mix. The bonus material is on the slim side but the documentary does give you some informative incite and is useful. My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Beasts in Our Time“. “Underground Railroad“. and “Those Golden Wings“.

Journeys Of The Dancing Fool Underneath The Merciless Moon…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. Fallen Walls and Pedestals. 2:17.
02. Beasts in Our Time. 6:30.
03. Under the Eye of the Sun. 7:06.
04. Underground Railroad. 6:22.
05. Those Golden Wings. 11:19.
06. Shadow and Flame. 4:24.
07. Hungry Years. 4:34.
08. Descent. 4:20.
09. Conflict. 2:36.
10. Peace. 5:03.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 10/10.

The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.

The Stereo Mix Rating Score. 10/10.

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 8/10.

The Bonus Material Rating Score. 3/10.

The Album Rating Score. 8./10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #140

The Night Siren – Steve Hackett



Steve Hackett continues down the same road of his previous album Wolflight by bringing in yet more musicians and instrumentation from World Music to spark up his creative juices and get them flowing for his 24th studio album The Night Siren. From the many countries he visits he seems to bringing back instruments from them to add to his arsenal and try and get a bit more creative with them. 20 people including himself is what it took to put this album together. Much of the regular and additional musicians who played with him on his previous album Wolflight are here along with a few others, and some of the written material that was used for the album came from what he had left over on that 23rd studio album of his as well. 

The Night Siren is the first album he actually felt like a vocalist and he cited the style of American singer Tim Rose as an influence. Hackett had been working on his voice since around 1981 and even I have noticed he’s improving over the years although that could be perhaps down to double tracking and adding more multi-part harmonies. The Night Siren is said to be a rock album, it’s also said to have some influences from the Beatles‘ psychedelia phase and classic science fiction and the latter of that might reflect on the artwork that was chosen for the albums front cover. But before we go any further let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork. 

The Packaging & Artwork…


Both discs come in a high quality thick cardboard Mediabook which is the same material used to make a hardback book. Clear plastic trays on the left and right panels hold the discs firmly in place and it comes with a 28-page fixed booklet with all the linear credit production notes and lyrics. It also comes with some informative information and some high-resolution pictures that are associated with the albums tracks and overall, it’s a very well-made high-quality package. 

The album was released in 4 media formats that come in the form of a Digital Download. A Double Vinyl LP. A CD only edition and a Mediabook that includes a CD & Blu Ray. Being a Surround FREAK! the Mediabook was my preferred choice and I purchased it from Amazon UK for £13.95 saving around £3 off its retail price. A Limited-Edition Double LP pressed onto green & black coloured vinyl that also came with the CD.



Once again both Maurizio and Angéla Vicedomini took a lot of photos that Hackett liked and used in particular for the Mediabook. Much of the photos were used to represent each track on the album and many of them were taken in Iceland, such as the one that shows a couple of rocks with the Northern Lights illuminating in the background that was used for the albums front cover.

Hackett said that the two rocks give a sense of several things. The choice between two ways, the point of no return and the dangers through which we pass in life. The image as a whole is both awe inspiring and thought provoking. The design and layout were done by Thomas Ewerhard. Overall, I feel the rocks and backdrop are a bit like something from a science fiction movie which may look cool but it’s also on the dark and dreary side of things and does not do a lot for myself.

The Night Siren Album In Review…

Steve Hackett’s 24th studio album The Night Siren was released on the 24th March 2017. The album comes with 11 tracks spread over an overall playing time of 57 minutes, 40 seconds. Because of the popularity he was gaining from his Genesis Revisited tours the album broke into the top 30 of the UK album charts and peaked at number 28. It also done slightly better in Germany and well in most European countries. 

Since moving home Hackett does most of his recording in his own home in Teddington London and other parts are recorded by the other musicians in various other places across the world and sent to him for Roger King to mix. It’s not much different to how many musicians (including myself) would go about recording an album these days and saves a lot of cost in hiring a studio. But of course, having a good recording engineer onboard is something most people do not have. 

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The album was also mastered by Roger King at the same place but to make sure everything is all well and good Hackett then pops over to a friend he met through Chris Squire known as Charlie Dodd of Crooked Hand Productions for a final mastering process as seen in the video below.

Most of the tracks for the album were recorded between the spring and the summer of 2016 and they also made a start on the album as early as February in that same year. The Blu Ray that comes accompanied with the CD contains the 5.1 mix of the album and a short film of which this short video clip was taken from. So, let’s now take a look at the Blu Ray.

The Blu Ray.

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The Blu Ray’s main menu displays the albums artwork twice and may have been better without including the smaller picture of it and to have gone with just the one. It also has some words floating around in the sky that are appear between the lines of a sort of compass chart and I have seen this before on one of my Gentle Giant Blu Ray’s. Ray Schulman of that band does the Authorizing for most DVD’s and Blu Ray’s some of his ideas are bound to get reused, but it makes a very cool effect.

The menu itself presents you with 4 options “Play Album”. “Track Select”. “Audio Select” and the 4th option is the bonus documentary. It’s easy to navigate and because the albums artwork does have more of a dark and dreary landscape, it does not look as sharp or pristine as the artwork for his previous album Wolflight with how it presents itself to you.

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I like how both the “Track Select” and “Audio Select” have pop-up drop-down menus when you click on them rather than having to wait for the disc to load to another screen as you can see in the picture above and below. 

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The “Audio Select” gives you the choice of 3 audio soundtracks 2 of which are surround mixes and by default the audio is set to the DTS Master 5.1 mix. There is also a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and a LPCM Stereo mix. All 3 formats are in 24 bits & 48K.

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It displays one of the associated pictures for each track and the title of the track on the screen whilst listening to album. Once again, the decision to use a smaller image within the albums main artwork is not as effective as it was on the Wolflight Blu Ray and it would have been better just to show the complete picture. 

There is only one bonus feature on the disc and that is a 23 minute, 27 second documentary titled “In Deepest Darkest Teddington – The Recording of the Night Siren” filmed and directed by Paul Gosling. It’s quite good and shows you Steve Hackett working with Roger King in one of the rooms in his new house showing you the process of how they recorded the album. 

You also get to see a few of the other musicians who popped over to be recorded in the same room and others recording the parts at their own houses and studios. Plus, Steve Hackett popping over to Charlie Dodd of Crooked Hand Productions for a final mastering process. The audio is in 48k 16 bit. 

The 5.1 Mix.

The 5.1 mix was done once again by Roger King and thankfully I am glad to see that this time there were no faults with it like the surround mix he did for the previous album Wolflight to which was pointless and a waste of space putting on a Blu Ray disc. I am quite impressed by this 5.1 mix too and it’s not what I would call an all-round exciting mix, however it does have some quite exciting moments in parts but overall, I would say that it’s a very satisfying mix that bring out very good detail with the dynamics.

It works extremely well for the separation of the orchestral parts and I like how he chose to put most of the orchestral sections to separate them from the band by placing them in the rear channels. This works very well on most tracks and for opening track “Behind the Smoke” it gives it a more of a broader scope and field and works very well. I think the placement of the backing vocals, harmonies and some spoken parts benefit for being placed in the rears too and so does some of the ambient sounds. The guitars are panned across all channels to good effect on some tracks and “El Niño” is a good example of that and I like how the stamping feet on “In the Skeleton Gallery” also work out well to that effect. 

I would not say all the tracks have been done so well but the biggest majority of them have been and I do think Roger King has done a really good job here. I am well pleased with the result of the surround mix and it’s well worthy of a score of 8 out of 10. It’s even more of a shame now that the 5.1 mix for Wolflight was faulty and was never rectified for us to hear because King does have what it takes to do a 5.1 mix which is something a lot of engineers don’t have at all.

Musicians & Credits…

Photo by Tina Korhonen © 2016, all rights reserved.

Tracks 1 – 10 Produced by Steve Hackett & Roger King. Track 11 Produced by Steve Hackett & Benedict Fenner. All compositions by Steve & Jo Hackett (except tracks 2 & 4 by Steve Hackett / Roger King. Track 1 by Steve Hackett / Jo Hackett / Roger King. Track 3 by Steve Hackett / Jo Hackett / Amanda Lehmann. Track 8 by Steve Hackett / Jo HackettRoger King / Troy Donockley. Track 11 by Leslie-Miriam Bennet / Benedict Fenner. Track 6 by Steve Hackett).

Tracks 1 – 10 Recorded & Mixed by Roger King at Siren. Track 11 Recorded & Mixed by Benedict Fenner at The Paddock. Mastered by Roger King. Blu Ray Authoring by Ray Shulman. 5.1 surround Mix by Roger King. Design by Thomas Ewerhard. Photographic artwork by Maurizio and Angéla Vicedomini.


Steve Hackett: Vocals – Electric & Acoustic Guitars – Oud – Charango – Sitar Guitar – Harmonica.
Roger King: Keyboards & Programming (except on track 11).
Rob Townsend: Baritone & Soprano Sax – Flute – Flageolet – Quena – Dudek – Bass Clarinet (Tracks 1, 4, 7 & 9).
Christine Townsend: Violin & Viola (Tracks 3, 4, 5, 7, 9 & 10).
Amanda Lehmann: Vocals (Tracks 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10).
Dick Driver: Double Bass (Tracks 3, 4, 5 & 7).
Gary O’Tool: Drums (Tracks 3, 4, & 10).

Additional Musicians.

John Hackett: Flute (Tracks 2 & 10).
Gulli Briem: Drums – Cajon – Percussion (Tracks 7 & 9).
Nick D’Virgilio: Drums (Track 2).
Troy Donockley: Uilleann Pipes (Track 8).
Malik Mansurov: Tar (Track 1).
Sara Kovács: Didgeridoo (Track 3).
Ferenc Kovács: Trumpet (Track 3).
Benedict Fenner: Keyboards & Programming (Track11).
Leslie-Miriam Bennett: Keyboards (Track 11).
Nad Sylvan: Vocals (Track 7).
Jo Hackett: Vocals (Track 10).
Mira Awad: Vocals (Track 10).
Kobi Farhi: Vocals (Track 10).

The Album Tracks In Review…

The idea that Hackett sees behind the The Night Siren is that it’s a wakeup call to all the things that are presently happening in the world and how we tend to be moving into another dark age with some of the not so good decisions world leaders are making. By him gathering up musicians from all over the world is a cry out for peace in the sense that we can all get on with each other musically and this is how it should be rather than being at war with one another. It’s his response to the far-right ideas currently dominating the political landscape. 

I think beside the political landscape Hackett has also been drawing ideas from the landscapes of many of the countries he has visited. I would also say he’s been drawing from visualisations and in a way that he has also been incorporating more along the lines of a Cinematic approach into his music and this is something he has been doing on his previous couple of albums Beyond the Shrouded Horizon and Wolflight. 

Like both of those albums The Night Siren tends to have the feel of an album that has been made out of material that was written for an album that contains a collection of songs, and an album that is more along the lines of a soundtrack album that was written for a movie. The orchestration in particular is built along the lines of the sort of modelling that goes into making soundtrack material and besides the real instrumentation there is also synthetic aspects that goes into the making of the music. So, let snow take a deeper look into the album and as we go through the individual tracks. 

Track 1. Behind The Smoke.

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The albums kicks off with quite a powerful very well built up song that has a touch of the east, some dramatization that fits in with the subject matter of the lyrics are based around, it also contains a well good lead solo from Hackett. It’s a song that gradually builds its way along and is done in that way to portray and dramatize the seriousness of the subject matter the lyrics are pertaining to which are around conflicts of civil war in the Middle East, and the turmoil that the civilians are caught up in being stuck in the middle of it all trying to find a safe haven from their homes that are being destroyed. 

Considering there is an array of musicians who appear on this album most of the music for this opening track is done by Roger King. He’s very much done all the orchestral arrangements and played them on his keyboards, he’s also programmed the drums. The only other musician on the track is Malik Mansurov who contributes to the eastern sound on the tar, to which he has done quite a GRAND! job of too. Rob Townsend is also somewhere on here but he may only be playing a bit of percussion on the dudek or using his sax to add a bit of humph. 

Steve Hackett handles most of the vocals and Amanda Lehmann contributes to some of the chants on this particular track. In some ways because of how the vocal line is delivered in a dark manner and more or less at a spoken pace it kind of reminds me of Johnny Cash only instead of singing country he’s singing about another country and one that is in the far east. I like how Hackett does express the vocal line on the second verse that comes into play at around the 2:08 mark though I have to confess I am not a fan of Lehmann’s cat wailing :))))). 

Overall “Behind the Smoke” gets across the message with its lyrical content and the whole eastern vibe is well fitting in with the lyrical side of things. Though I have to confess I myself am not a fan of eastern music and the orchestral section is perhaps too blown up but nevertheless adds very well to all the drama and might even fit in with an adaptation of the Arabian Knights for a Walt Disney production, although I am sure they done a similar animated adaptation with of Aladdin. It also contains some well tasty solo work from Hackett.

Track 2. Martian Sea. 

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A touch of India is associated with this track and perhaps a bit of George Harrison’s vibe he gave to the Beatles with his association with Ravi Shankar and that country with the use of the sitar that is heavily utilised on this song. Steve Hackett does play Sitar Guitar on the track though I would also say that there are samples of the real instrument that have also been thrown in here. Though once again Hackett’s guitar work on this track is really good. The orchestral section that comes in at the 2:34 mark that Roger King has done also contributes to the BEATLE ESC! vibe and feel too. 

Spock’s Beard’s drummer Nick D’Virgilio plays drums on this one and Steve’s brother John Hackett contributes flute to it also, whilst Amanda Lehmann’s vocals are utilised every now and then to blend in with Hackett’s vocals has, we have seen in the past. The lyrics pertain to the alienation in a relationship that has gone wrong and become more of a one-sided affair sort of thing. Overall, it’s a very good song that throws in some psychedelic colour along the way and quite a lot has been put into it. It’s also perhaps more rocked up than what the Beatles did to some extent. 

Track 3. Fifty Miles From The North Pole.

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This next song was inspired by his trip to Iceland in 2015 when he performed with the band Todmobile and one of the places he visited was literally 50 miles from the north pole and it was freezing over there. It’s the longest track on the album and goes through some good transitional changes along its path. Once again Hackett’s solo work on the electric guitar is excellent and he even incorporates a bit of a James Bond theme into the track on the guitar too. 

More of the other musicians are involved on this track too which does help it and the string section works well with Christine Townsend’s violin & viola and Dick Driver’s double bass is used more like a cello in parts too where he’s using a bow on it. I do feel that Roger King might also be enhancing the orchestral parts with his keyboards too but it works quite well. 

It also features Sara Kovács on didgeridoo which the drone from the instrument is utilised in parts and her father Ferenc Kovács on trumpet which pierces its way into the song very well with its high pitch. Gary O’Tool is outstanding as ever on the drum kit and Amanda Lehmann’s voice gets utilised more prominently in a short gothic choral satanic like section that’s like something out of a horror film :))))). 

Overall “Fifty Miles from The North Pole” is both PROGMATIC! and CINEMATIC! and the combination of blending the two together works better than the opening track on the album I feel. There is quite a bit of diversity throughout this album that works and some do not I feel, however this is one of the better tracks on the album and a contender for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! 

Track 4. El Niño.

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Another arrangement or perhaps more of a orchestral arrangement of “Please Don’t Touch” which Hackett originally wrote the instrumental piece for his second album of the same title back in 1978. Since then the piece has most likely been arranged 20 times and has appeared on many of his albums under different titles such a “Hackett To Bits” for example. This version works very well and the orchestration takes it to other places. 

I have to admit when I first seen the title I was confused because it sounds like something associated with Spain or Mexico but it is in fact associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific. It features all 6 musicians in the musician’s line up section and they all do a GRAND! job here and it’s another really GREAT! track and contender for the albums TOP SPOT! even though it may be embarking on material from the past. 

Track 5. Other Side of the Wall.

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Apart from the previous instrumental album track this is the first of the songs that has more of a Hackett feel and presence about it, and its most likely down to that it’s the first song on the album he gets on the acoustic. The “Other Side of the Wall” is a song where you do not need the Cinematics and Dramatics to be adventurous and this a truly BEAUTIFUL! well written song and it ventures along the lines of stories like “The Secret Garden” and was inspired by the garden or grounds at the back of a house in Wimbledon, London he returned to with his wife. 

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It’s a two-part song with how the song changes from the opening couple of verses and along with his acoustic guitars Hackett handles all the vocals & harmonies on this track and does a GREAT! job. Both Roger King and Christine Townsend combine the strings together and Dick Driver adds a touch of bass on the track too. In a way the song also reminds me a bit like a combination of two eras of Genesis music and the first section with the nylon guitar sort of harks back to the album Wind and Wuthering whilst the second section with the 12-string guitar takes me back to the album Nursery Cryme. It’s very much another one of my contenders for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! 

Track 6. Anything But Love.

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This song features less musicians and starts off very well with the acoustic intro which features Hackett playing some Spanish Flamenco style on his acoustic to which he’s backed up with the use of his guitar for the percussion by slapping it. Once the bass and drums kick in (which are programmed) it takes the direction of a song and he brings in the electric guitar which does rock it up more towards the end and he also plays a solo on the harmonica too. Amanda Lehmann is back to contribute some backing vocals. 

Personally, I like the intro more than the actual song and I do think the programmed drums are on the weak side of things here, especially in relation to how well Roger King has programmed the bass line. If anything, the bass line on this track is more dominant than any other track on the album. It does not do Dick Driver any favours either but I suppose he might not have been available at the time and Hackett wanted to get the album finished on time. 

Track 7. Inca Terra.

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This song was inspired by the trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu in Peru that Hackett and his wife went on and is quite a piece of work that crosses styles and continents. It’s a song that does have some Hackett ESC! familiarities about it especially with the vocal harmonies on the first verses. But it also has some more like Yes harmonies in it as well and he is going on quite a roundabout here :)))). Besides the vocal harmonies the music also has some familiarities and the way it opens up reminds me of the arrangement that was done for “El Condor Pasa (If I Could)” by Simon & Garfunkel. The charango that Hackett also plays on this album was the very Peruvian instrument that gave that song it’s unique sound to which you can very much hear on this song.


Steve Hackett has acquired quite a few new instruments on his travels and most likely also plays the Oud at the end of the song as well has his acoustic and electric guitars. Another of the Peruvian instruments that also features on the song “El Condor Pasa (If I Could)” is the Quena to which Rob Townsend accompanies Hackett very nicely with.


Besides the usual suspects Roger King, Christine Townsend and Amanda Lehmann doing their parts very well here Dick Driver returns for the final time on the album and his bass is quite dominant and oddly enough sounds more like an electric bass rather than a double bass. The Icelandic drummer and percussionist Gulli Briem make an appearance and this is the first of two tracks he plays on, and besides the drums the cajon he also plays is very much associated with the percussion side of Peruvian instrumentation. Nad Sylvan also contributes some backing vocals on this one track too. 

Inca Terra” is quite a PROGMATIC! track that crosses ravines, borders and many styles along its journey, it combines folk with rock with the use of the instrumentation and you may start out the journey in Peru and wind up in somewhere more eastern like India or Pakistan with how the piece transports itself along with its progression and transitional changes. It’s another fine piece of work and contender for the albums TOP SPOT! 

Track 8. In Another Life.

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A song that starts out and ends off like a folk song and gets rocked up with its middle section with the electric guitar which is perhaps the only part of the song that has any real HACKETT ESC! resemblance. It’s a story about some unsung hero in the highlands of Scotland and most likely harks back to the Battle of Culloden in 1775 with the notorious Redcoats who were ordered to root out and destroy Jacobite. I am not entirely sure if that is what it is embarking on and and I am no historian but it sounds a bit like Crosby, Stills & Nash meets Rainbow sort of thing and is quite different for Hackett I will say.

This mostly features Hackett & King and Lehmann joins in on the vocals as ever, but it does also feature Troy Donockley on uilleann pipes to which is an instrument I do like to hear. The only trouble is they are only used right at the end and it does not feature them enough to make more of a statement which is a bit of a shame. They do however project and stand out more so in the 5.1 mix though.

Track 9. In The Skeleton Gallery.

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Next up is my personal favourite track on the album and “In the Skeleton Gallery” is song that has two halves and a bit in the middle with how it changes and contains some really GREAT! progression and is quite a tasty one for prog rockers. Hackett’s voice really suits this song and I can understand why he did say it was the first time he felt like a singer. Amanda Lehmann’s supporting vocals are also very well blended in here too.

The song has quite a mystic Egyptian feel on the intro with the strings provided by Roger King and Christine Townsend and the first 1 minute and 45 seconds are dedicated to the singing section and this is the second of two tracks on the album that features Gulli Briem on drums. Lyrically the song is pertaining to the night terrors from childhood like in a nightmare or really bad dream and draws on that. There are some nice reverse guitar effects in the first section too.

The song comes down and Rob Townsend provides some haunting notes on his sax backed up once again by the strings and keyboard and some stomping marching feet and spoken words on this middle section and then at the 3:03 mark it launches into the battle with heavy guitars, and Rob Townsend plays quite a blistering solo on the sax and Hackett joins in for a bit on the guitar afterwards.

The song was used to launch and promote the album and was put on Inside Out Records YouTube channel. It’s unfortunate that no visual video was made like the picture above suggests that pertains to the song’s lyrics and the nightmare. “In the Skeleton Gallery” is an excellent track and is my personal choice to merit the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! and sounds excellent in 5.1 too. 

Track 10. West to East.

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This is a song that cries out for peace and could be seen as an anthem for peace in the way that it rallies over the chorus of the song. Besides Hackett & Lehmann on vocals there is also his wife Jo plus Mira Awad & Kobi Farhi. Both John Hackett on flute & Gary O’Tool on drums return and holding up the keyboards and strings are Roger King & Christine Townsend. It’s a fine ballad like song that’s sung with heart and contains some fine acoustic and electric guitar from Hackett.

Track 11. The Gift.

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The final track on the album is an instrumental piece that’s very well-orchestrated on the keyboards by Steve Hackett’s sound engineer Benedict Fenner and it also features Leslie-Miriam Bennett on keyboards too who both provide the backdrop for Hackett to play a BEAUTIFUL! sustained ambient solo on an electric guitar. The guitar he is using was previously owned by the guitarist Gary Moore who no doubt is missed. It’s the shortest track on the album and the only track that Hackett had no involvement in the writing and was written by both Fenner & Bennett and is a very tasty soothing way to put the album to bed.


To sum up The Night Siren by Steve Hackett I would say that its quite a strong album but also one that contains some synthetic aspects that work in a way and not so much in other ways sort of thing. Like I mentioned earlier in my review with how Hackett tends to be going into a more of a CINEMATIC! approach to paint pictures with his music. It’s the same approach that is applied to soundtracks for motion movies and many of those who work in that field use many virtual orchestral sounds and samples to make the music to which is called “Modelling”. Once they have the “Model” of the music they then present it to a real orchestra to play it. Only here it’s not at all and that is where it does tend to fall short. 

For example, most of the music is very much done and mixed by Roger King. As a keyboard player and musician King is in every inch as good as Hackett himself, he’s also got more of a head on his shoulders in many respects too. We also have one very capable string player in Christine Townsend and she is another excellent musician who plays both violin and viola very well. The problem is that they are making her part sound larger than life in the mix and her violin & viola is being mixed in with strings that King is also playing so it’s very hard to distinguish the real instruments from the synthetic aspects. 

Another example, is if you listen to Jethro Tull you will hear real violins, violas and cellos. On this album you will also find it hard to distinguish the double bass that Dick Driver is playing on a few of the tracks, and his double bass sounds more like an electric bass on most of the tracks he is playing on. The whole orchestral presentation is way too blown up to make the bigger picture.

For me personally keyboards are about piano’s, hammond organs, mellotrons and synthesizers and not replicating a full blown out orchestra and the fact that you also have some of the real instruments like the violin & viola and even the double bass that can be used like a cello. They are being mixed in with the virtual orchestration from the keyboards and the sound of the real instruments is being swept under the rug with the mix to some extent.

Thankfully the 5.1 mix does let you get to hear some of the real instrumentation which is more than I could say for the stereo mix. Actually, the orchestral parts work exceptionally well on the 5.1 mix and Roger King has done a very good job of it. 

I am not saying this new road Hackett has been going down more recently by incorporating film music into his music is by any means bad, and there is a ton of instruments thrown into the pot for King to mix which he has done a GREAT! job of mixing. His past 3 studio albums have been quite good but if I was to go back the 3 studio albums To Watch the Storms, Wild Orchids and Out of the Tunnel’s Mouth he made before them. I personally feel those albums are better because they contain less synthetic aspects sort of thing.


To conclude my review of Steve Hackett’s 24th studio album The Night Siren. It’s an album that offers quite a wide variety of styles. It’s not a solid album by any means but there is nothing remotely bad here either and it is quite a good album. It does not contain a lot of Hackett’s acoustic side like his previous album Wolflght does and I would say that his previous album is more of a winner on the acoustic side of things. There is a couple of good acoustic tracks and you will have to wait some 22 minutes to get to the first one which would be my personal favourite of them. But nevertheless, the album does have some well good written material and enough to make it marginally a bit better than his previous album Wolflight I feel. 

The Mediabook is well worth its price point and for surround FREAKS! like myself it’s well worth getting for the 5.1 mix. The bonus material is on the slim side but the documentary does give you some informative incite and is useful. My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “In the Skeleton Gallery“. “Other Side of the Wall“. “Fifty Miles from the North Pole“. “Inca Terra” and “El Niño“. 

The Puppeteer’s Not Your Friend…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. Behind the Smoke. 6:57.
02. Martian Sea. 4:40.
03. Fifty Miles from the North Pole. 7:08.
04. El Niño. 3:51.
05. Other Side of the Wall. 4:00.
06. Anything But Love. 5:56.
07. Inca Terra. 5:53.
08. In Another Life. 6:07.
09. In the Skeleton Gallery. 5:09.
10. West to East. 5:14.
11. The Gift. 2:45.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 10/10.

The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.

The Stereo Mix Rating Score. 10/10.

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 8/10.

The Bonus Material Rating Score. 5/10.

The Album Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #139

Wolflight – Steve Hackett



I have always been into Steve Hackett’s music since I got into Genesis back in the 70’s and many would say that his first 4 albums are amongst his best work to which I would say the first 3 certainly had more of a solid body of material that was written for them and I do also like his 4th album Defector. But over the years of buying his albums I have got something from every one of them and it was back in 2011 after buying his 21st studio album Beyond The Shrouded Horizon I sort of lost track of him. I did buy the second Genesis Revisited album he put out in 2012 and even though that is classed as his 22nd studio album I see that has more of a compilation of Genesis material and not so much the music from his own solo career.

I blame Soundcloud for losing track of many artists material because I spent much more of my time making music of my own and collaborating with many others on it during 2011 – 2016/17. I did however still buy his live concerts he released on DVD & Blu Ray and I always like to watch a live concert and having more recently been back into my record collection and updating it over the past couple of years and the fact that I did see that he was releasing  Genesis Revisited Band & Orchestra: Live at the Royal Festival Hall last October to which I have just reviewed, made me check out the last 3 studio albums he had released between 2015 – 2019.

I also purchased all 3 of his last studio albums back in October that I never had and was very well surprised to see that Hackett was now entering into the 5.1 surround market and for a surround FREAK! like myself this was much more of an enticing reason for me to buy them. The other thing that is also very good about them is the way they have been presented with high quality packaging and no expense has been spared here at all. However, there is something very disappointing about Steve Hackett’s 23rd studio album Wolflight, but before I go any further let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork as usual.

The Packaging & Artwork…


Both discs come in a high quality thick cardboard Mediabook which is the same material used to make an hardback book. Clear plastic trays on the left and right panels hold the discs firmly in place and it comes with a 20-page fixed booklet and is a very neat and attractive quality package. The book comes with all the linear credit production notes and lyrics, it also comes with 10 high resolution photographs that are associated with the 10 tracks that was written for the album. The only down side is that the book does mostly consist of photographs and hardly includes any informative information.

The album was released in 4 media formats that come in the form of a Digital Download. A Double Vinyl LP + CD Limited package (now out of print). A CD only edition and a Mediabook that includes a CD & Blu Ray. Being a Surround FREAK! the Mediabook was my preferred choice and I purchased it from Amazon UK for a bargain price of £11.30 and at that price it’s a steal for a quality package like this. It does normally retail at around the £17 mark.


The design and layout were done by Harry Pearce and the photographic artwork was done by Maurizio and Angéla Vicedomini. The interesting thing about the albums front cover is that it shows Steve Hackett crouched down with a pack of wolves and most people would probably think the photograph had been done in Photoshop.


But the photograph is genuine and Hackett (apart from the light of day which was altered) did have his photograph taken with real wolves and spent a good bit of time with the wolves for them to get used to his scent for the photo shoot to be taken. Like much of the photography and artwork in the mediabook it’s quite stunning and looks even more impressive on the Blu Ray disc itself.

Wolflight Album In Review…

Steve Hackett’s 23rd studio album Wolflight was released on the 30th March 2015 in the UK and on the 7th April in the US. The album contains 12 tracks (counting a couple of bonus tracks) spanned over an overall playing time of 62 minutes, 56 seconds and his is first original solo studio album since Beyond The Shrouded Horizon in 2011. It’s a album that Hackett got quite excited about and called it his best album, though I am sure many artists would say the same thing about their latest albums they had produced at the time.

The one thing I will say about Hackett’s music is that since he got together with his other half Jo his music does tend to have more of a film soundtrack feel about it and I think a lot of the inspiration for his music comes from the exotic places he goes to visit with her all over the world. He’s also introducing more of World Music into his style by using different instrumentation, though that is not that unusual for him and in the past on his 3rd album Spectral Mornings for example he did add some oriental flavour with the use of the koto. On this particular album he also played some instruments he had never used and played before such as the Oud and the Tiple and brought in other musicians with other instrumentation.

The one thing Hackett as always retained is his own style though I would say there is also a different approach to some of his song writing these days and this is an album that does contain some very well written songs upon it, and some maybe heading in more of a popular direction and approach in how he has gone about things.

Much of the material for the album was written and recorded between 2012 – 2014 and the album was put together in sections on paper like a plan or like storyboarding a film. It was also made whilst Hackett was selling his house and studio and 11 of the tracks were recorded and mixed by his long-time keyboard player Roger King at Map Studios in London. King also mastered the album there too.


To be perfectly honest I am not 100% sure this is the right studio but it is the only recording studio that goes under the name of “Map Studio” though it is also known as Map Studio Cafe because there is also a cafe in the premises too and is situated in Kentish Town, London. It also has live recording rooms as well and the studio was founded in 1990 and over the years has played host to artists such as Skip Mcdonald, Roots Manuva, Miss Dynamite, Dawn Penn and others and I cannot say I have heard of any of them :))))).

If this is not the recording studio, they used the only other logical thing I can think of is that Steve Hackett’s own home studio was also called Map Studios. The final bonus track on the album was recorded and mixed by Thorvaldur B. Thorvaldsson in Hungary and some of the instrumentation from a couple of the musicians were also recorded in Hungary by Tamas Barabas down to Hackett’s connections with the band Djabe he has collaborated with.

The Blu Ray.

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The Blu Ray’s main menu looks pristine and stunning and a lot better than the artwork on the vinyl album and CD and some HD film footage of the clouds in the background add a GREAT” touch to it. It’s a lot better than the pictures I took of it too and looks more lifelike especially on my 50″ UHD 4K TV. The menu itself presents you with 4 options “Play Album”. “Track Select”. “Audio Select” and “Interviews.

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Navigating through the menu options is simple enough and by clicking on the “Track Select” a menu drops down displaying all the tracks without having to load to another menu screen as you can see in the picture above.

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The “Audio Select” gives you the choice of 3 audio soundtracks 2 of which are surround mixes and by default the audio is set to the DTS Master 5.1 mix. There is also a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and a LPCM Stereo mix. Only the main 10 tracks that make up the original album have the option of all 3 audio soundtracks and the 2 bonus tracks are in Stereo only. All 3 formats are in 24 bits & 48K.

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The “Interview” section contains the extra bonus material and all 3 interviews are of Steve Hackett talking about the making of the album. The first of which is a 7-minute interview of him discussing the recording of the album. The 2nd is of him discussing the artwork and comes with a running time of 7 minutes, 18 seconds. The final interview is the longest and he discusses each track on the album and it has a running time of 31 minutes, 24 seconds.

All the interviews were filmed by Paul Green of Film 24 Productions and are very useful for informative information especially has the 20-page booklet did not provide hardly any at all and was mostly pictures.

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Whilst the music is playing it displays a different hi resolution picture for each track. These are the same images that are also in the Mediabook and once again they look pristine and much better on the Blu Ray. The Blu Ray authoring was done by Ray Schulman and he’s done a TOP JOB! on the menus.

The 5.1 Mix.

So far everything about this whole package is of pristine high quality and it’s such a shame that something has to let it down especially for somebody like myself who is a surround FREAK! The 5.1 mix is the biggest reason for me buying most music these days and it does entice me to buy these types of packages a lot more than any other format. Since I have been into surround from 1994 onwards, I have come across many really bad 5.1 mixes. But I can honestly say that I don’t think I have ever encountered one as bad as this for what it actually does to the album.

To be perfectly honest whenever I buy a package like this that comes with a Blu Ray or DVD and is accompanied by a CD in the same package. It’s very rare I will ever play the CD. I do rip them onto my hard drive so I can listen to them on my computer when I am working away on it, and on rare occasions I may play the CD to test it out for a review I am doing of the album, especially if the CD is the only thing that contains the new mixes. But I will always play the 5.1 mix first most of the time.

Now both the stereo and surround mixes were done by Roger King and I think this was his very first attempt to do a 5.1 surround mix and as a rule Benedict Fenner does the surround mixes on most of Hackett’s live Blu Ray & DVD releases and apart from the surround mixes Steve Wilson done of Hackett’s first 4 studio albums I do not recall any other of Hackett’s studio albums being given a 5.1 mix until the release of Wolflight and the 2 studio albums that followed it.

Having put the Blu Ray in my player and playing the 5.1 mix I experienced one of the most abysmal experiences I think I have ever encountered. There was hardly anything coming out the rear channels and whatever was coming out of the front channels made the album sound like the most boring thing I have ever encountered before. At one stage I was going to send it back for a refund because the album did not do one single thing for me or say one single Dickie Bird to me and it was completely BORING!

The following day I decided to play it again and I got exactly the same thing and it sounded like there was a ton of things missing from the mix. I even put on other 5.1 content to check my system out to make sure there was nothing wrong my end. It was then that I decided to play the stereo mix and as soon as I did, I started to enjoy the album straight away. Like I said I have come across some really bad surround mixes before but I can honestly say I have never come across one like this where it sounds like half of the tracks are missing and it made it sound boring and diabolical.

I have no idea what Roger King was trying to achieve here but he’s completely COCKED-UP! the surround mix and its unplayable. You would have to be completely stoned out of your head or stick a needle in your arm to enjoy the surround mix because it makes the album sound nothing like it supposed too. There is no way I could even give him 1 out of 10 for the job he has done here and it is by far the most diabolical mix I have ever heard in my life LOL…

Musicians & Credits…


Produced by Steve Hackett & Roger King. All compositions by Steve Hackett (except tracks 2, 7 & 8 by Steve Hackett / Jo Hackett. Tracks 4 & 5 by Steve Hackett / Jo Hackett / Roger King. Track 9 by Steve Hackett / Roger King. Track 12 by Thorvaldur B. Thorvaldsson / Steve Hackett). All tracks Recorded & Mixed by Roger King at Map Studios between 2012 – 2014 except (Track 12 Recorded & Mixed by Thorvaldur B. Thorvaldsson. Malok Mansurov & Sarah Kovács recorded in Hungary by Tamas Barabas. Mastered by Roger King at Map Studios. Blu Ray Mastering by Peter Van’t Riet at Fine Tune. 5.1 surround Mix by Roger King. Design by Harry Pearce. Photographic artwork by Maurizio and Angéla Vicedomini.


Steve Hackett: Guitars – Lead / Harmony & Backing Vocals (Tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 & 10). Oud (Tracks 5 & 9). Tiple (Track 7). Banjo (Track 8). Harmonica (Tracks 4 & 8). Percussion (Tracks 1, 4 & 7).
Roger King: Keyboards & Programming.
Nick Beggs: Bass (All tracks except 3). Chapman Stick (Track 8).
Gary O’Tool: Drums (Tracks 1, 2, 3 4, 5 & 8).
Rob Townsend: Saxophone (Tracks 4 & 8). Dudek (Track 5).

Additional Musicians.

Christine Townsend: Violin & Viola (Tracks 1 2, 3, 4 & 8).
Chris Squire: Bass (Track 3).
Hugo Degenhardt: Drums (Tracks 9 & 10).
Amanda Lehmann: Vocals (Tracks 2, 3, 4 & 8).
Malik Mansurov: Tar (Track 2).
Sara Kovács: Didgeridoo (Track 2).
Jo Hackett: Vocals (Track 4).

The Album Tracks In Review…

The album Wolflight is an album where everything merges and collides and breaks down barriers between cultures, human and animal worlds according to Steve Hackett. Much of the concept was inspired by the 20 countries he had visited. The album’s title reflects the hour before dawn which is when the wolves hunt and according to himself much of the album was written in the wolf light.

I think since the release of Beyond the Shrouded Horizon back in 2011 Hackett has gone down more of a Cinematic road and approach with his music and that is where some musical aspects have changed slightly. But there is an element of rock that also cuts through all the dramatization with his electric guitar that hardens up some of the smoother edges. Some of the material along the album also puts me in mind of his 2009 album Out of the Tunnel’s Mouth and even Chris Squire who featured on a couple of tracks on that album gets to play on one here. Sadly, it was only a couple of months after the release of this album that he died.

The album flows along like a concept album with how most of the track’s tailspin into one another and much of his regular long-time band are with him. It’s now become a writing team of 3 since he married Jo and she does a good job in contributing to many of the lyrics just like David Gilmour’s other half Polly Samson does for him. Roger King has contributed to the writing for many years and plays a major role in putting Hackett’s albums together more so these days. So now let’s take a look at all the individual tracks on the album as well as the couple of bonus tracks.

Track 1. Out of the Body.

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The album opens up with an instrumental track that Steve Hackett wrote and it’s also the shortest track on the album. Right at the start of the intro the wolves are howling hauntingly and the drums and other instrumentation kick in and takes you along in a hurried pace to represent following them along like in dream in the way of a chase. Both Christine Townsend (no relation to Rob) and Roger King take care of the orchestration side of things very well whilst Gary O’Tool and Nick Beggs provide the driving force and pace. Steve Hackett provides the power with his driving rhythm and lead work on his electric guitars, he is also contributing towards the percussion too and it gets the album off to a GREAT! flying start.

Track 2. Wolflight.

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The albums self-titled track is one of the 4 lengthier tracks on the album and opens up with Sara Kovács on the didgeridoo and Malik Mansurov playing a tar to which the both musicians were recorded in Hungary by Tamas Barabas the main composer and bass player from the band Djabe. Hackett had seen Mansurov play the instrument whilst he was playing in Budapest and was impressed by the fast speed, he could play it and likened him to a cross between John McLaughlin and Ravi Shankar.

The tar is an instrument that originally originated in Persia in the middle of the 18th century and is associated and shared by many cultures and countries including Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and others near the Caucasus region.



The body is a double-bowl shape carved from mulberry wood, with a thin membrane of stretched lamb-skin covering the top. The fingerboard has twenty-five to twenty-eight adjustable gut frets, and there are three double courses of strings. Its range is about two and one-half octaves, and it is played with a small brass plectrum. Though they can also come with less and even more strings and a different shape depending on the different countries that play them. For example, the Azerbaijani tar has 11 strings and is a slightly different shape from the Persian Tar and was developed from the Persian tar around 1870 by Sadigjan.

The intro takes up all of 33 seconds of the 8 minutes you get here here and then goes into an acoustic section with Hackett on his nylon stringed guitar accompanied by Christine Townsend on violin & viola, Roger King throws in some other orchestration and glistening bells on his keyboards which beautifully take you along for another 20 seconds. Hackett then switches to a 12-string guitar and the vocals come into play and although Amanda Lehmann’s voice is mixed in here in parts her voice is only really lending a bit of support and Hackett does take on all the lead vocals throughout the album apart from one of the bonus tracks.

Wolflight” is a song that utilises the 12 string, nylon and electric guitar in individual sections of it and Hackett excels on them all and it is also heavily backed up by the drums. percussion and orchestra and are built on GREAT! progression and strong themes throughout. The vocal section in particular reminds me of some of the material we seen on albums like Out of the Tunnel’s Mouth and Wild Orchids which are also quite strong well written Hackett albums and this track is up with the material on those albums and is an excellent piece of work.

The song is credited to both Steve & Jo Hackett and I know his wife contributes to the lyrics though it would not surprise me if Steve himself had an hand in some of these lyrics also because he is excellent with lyrics himself and these are excellent and pertain to the wolves fight for freedom in how their land and their light can be taken up by mankind. It really is GREAT! song and is my personal favourite track and merits the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 3. Love Song to a Vampire.

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It’s not unusual for Steve Hackett to do songs about vampires and songs like “Vampyre with a Healthy Appetite” from his 1993 album Guitar Noir and some dark tracks like “Darktown” and “The Devil Is an Englishman” on other albums can have that haunting sense of horror about them too. However, this is perhaps a different appraoch in that it’s a love song to a vampire and was inspired from the film series of The Twilight Saga which was an American romantic fantasy film based on Stephenie Meyer’s 2005 novel of the same name. So, this do have a sweeter way at looking at things especially over the most part of the song and the darker dramatics play more towards the end of the song and Hackett wrote both the music and the lyrics for this one.

It’s the longest track on the album and weighs in at 9 minutes, 17 seconds and starts off very well with the nylon string guitar accompanied by the orchestration provided once again by Christine Townsend and Roger King whilst Hackett and Amanda Lehmann handle the vocal side of things. Hackett also plays a couple of GREAT! lead guitar solos on his electric and the first one is a bit reminiscent to Snowy White’s lead solo work. The second solo is more fat and aggressive and comes into play in the more rocked up section that comes into play after the orchestral dramatized section around the 7:47 mark. It’s also only in that final guitar solo section and during the first guitar solo that Chris Squire’s bass can be really heard more so, and he features on this one track on the album.

Overall a “Love Song to a Vampire” is a fine piece of work that contains some strong themes and is very well dramatized with the orchestral work and it contains some GREAT! lead solo work from Hackett and is a qite a good album track.

Track 4. The Wheels Turning.

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It’s all the fun of the fare next and I like these type of songs where you get the good old pipe organ music that is associated with most fairground rides and the fun fare and tracks such as “Carry on up The Vicarage” from his Please Don’t Touch album and the “Circus of Becoming” from To Watch Storms are classics of his. Steve Hackett oddly enough used to work at the fun fare in Battersea in London many moons ago before he became a professional musician, and used to be in charge of the one arm bandit machines in the arcade walking around with his bag of change for those who needed change for the machines. He’s always seen the funfair as a potential danger and would not go on some of the rides such as the high-flying rockets & roller coasters and preferred to keep his feet on the ground.

Mr & Mrs Hackett & Roger king penned this song and the lyrics reflect around the disaster that happened in the early 1970’s when the fairground suffered a major fire killing 5 children and injuring others. I suppose the wheels that are turning here starts the film and rewinds it back to the nightmares he has of the incident and the place.

The Wheels Turning” has every inch of Hackett’s GREAT! style about it and although it does not remind me of the first of those other two classics songs of his I mentioned it does a bit of the second one and the opening verse in particular has me thinking of “Camino Royale” from his 1983 album Highly Strung and there are other bits of his older material it reminds me of too. His wife gets to add a bit of vocal on this track and this is one of the 3 tracks that his long-time sax and woodwind player Rob Townsend play sax on. Hackett also plays the old Gob Iron (harmonica) at the end of the song too and its very much one of my contenders for the albums TOP SPOT! even though it’s already been grabbed. It really is a GREAT! track.

Track 5. Corycian Fire.

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This next track was inspired Hackett’s trip to Greece and the Corycian cave is supposedly the most important spiritual cave in mainland Greece for the ancients. Some called it ‘the golden cave’ because of the way it looked lit by hundreds of torches and there is a ton of other mythical history that has been buried in the place but I won’t go into all that malarkey. The song has a touch of the east and sounds more Egyptian or Arabic but also has a Gothic touch about it too and uses heavy percussion and chanting choir like vocals. Rob Townsend is also on this track and plays the dudek, it’s the first time he’s ever played it and Hackett gets to use the Oud he just brought on the track too.



The oud is a short-neck lute-type, pear-shaped stringed instrument with 11 or 13 strings grouped in 5 or 6 courses. It’s commonly used predominantly in the music of the ancient Arabia, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Israel and many other places including Turkey and Greece. It looks like they went a bit too far with the neck bending though :))))).

Roger King does all the orchestration on his keyboards on this track and just like the previous one has a part in the writing credits with Steve & Jo. The intro starts with the Hackett on the oud and King accompanies him by playing the harp on the keyboards, he’s also programmed in some eastern stringed sounds which are quite familiar to some of the bowed stringed instruments some of the musicians Peter Gabriel uses for his soundtrack albums and this one does have the mystic eastern vibe that you will hear on Gabriel’s soundtrack album Passion for example.

After the intro the songs opening verse is more Hackett reminiscent and has it progresses along the eastern mystic vibe very much creeps back more so and takes over and the less Hackett like the song gets apart from a bit of a solo he does on the electric guitar to which he also plays a solo on the oud and it’s like they are having a battle with each other and fighting for priority. King also joins in the little battle on the keyboards and then the song goes more gothic to end it all off and is perhaps something more like a scene from the Omen rather than the music that Peter Gabriel did for The Last Temptation of Christ.

Track 6. Earthshine.

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A beautiful guitar solo instrumental piece is up next and these days rather than make an albums worth of them he does tend to throw the odd solo into his prog albums and they really light up the album in most cases and this piece certainly does shine and is quite a GEM!. Hackett’s nylon string and acoustic work is really where he gets to show his ability as a guitarist and it brings out the best of him and this is another track on the album, I would put in contention for the albums TOP SPOT!

Track 7. Loving Sea.

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Another acoustic song written by Hackett and it was his trip to Mexico that inspired him to write the song. It’s one of those more light hearted relaxed songs like we got to see with some of the material Hackett wrote for his 5th studio album Cured back in 1981. He had also spent a bit of time having some vocal training and he uses 5 part harmonies to sing this one though in all honesty the vocals sound like many of his vocal tracks with the effect he has applied to the vocals and were much the same even back in 1981 on that Cured album. He also plays a Tiple on this track which is another member of the guitar family as you can see below in the picture.


The first mention of the tiple comes from musicologist Pablo Minguet e Irol in 1752. Although many variations of the instrument exist, the tiple is mostly associated with Colombia, and is considered the national instrument of that country. It’s about 18% smaller than a standard classical guitar. The typical fretboard scale is about 530 mm (just under 21 inches) and the neck joins the body at the 12th fret. It looks very much like a smaller version of a 12-string guitar to me. He also uses his electric guitar for some of effects that give the impression of the sea’s waves washing over you.

Track 8. Black Thunder.

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Black Thunder” is another one of the longer tracks and the lyrics are based around the subject matter of black slavery in West Virginia. It’s very much a rock blues song and Hackett also plays banjo and harmonica besides his electric guitar. Both Christine and Rob Townsend return to lend support with the sax and strings which helps to bring in some of the dramatics that come into play later on as the song develops along, and Nick Beggs gets on the Chapman Stick for this one. It’s another of the better powerful tracks on the album and Gary O’Tool injects quite a lot of the power on the drums along with Hackett’s well driven guitar and GREAT! solo work. I like the jazzy ending too that Rob Townsend gives to the piece on the sax too.

Track 9. Dust and Dreams.

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Another of the tracks written by Hackett & King and the title very much depicts the desert and this instrumental piece was inspired by the desert in Morocco which is the place where Hackett happened to spot a couple of musicians playing the oud and made him go out and buy one himself.


Both this and next track it leads into features Hugo Degenhardt on the drums and Nick Beggs is playing more of a dominant role on the bass which provides the backbone for Hackett to work his guitar around and for Roger King to fill in the orchestration of the desert flavour on his keyboards. I qutie like this one and Hackett’s solo work is quite tasty in that it does sort of sing to you.

Track 10. Heart Song.

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The final of the songs that was written for the album is a love song that Hackett wrote for his wife. It effectively works as a Segway in transporting you from the desert onto the beach and besides singing some loving words he also throws some lovely guitar solos and it winds off the album very well.

Track 11. Pneuma.

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The first of the bonus tracks is another delightful instrumental piece played by Hackett on the nylon guitar. Pneuma is an ancient Greek word for “breath” although this is perhaps more associated with Spain with how he’s playing here and it really is another little GEM! and excellent bonus track to have. It’s another contender for the albums TOP SPOT! even though it was not really written for the album.

Track 12. Midnight Sun.

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The final bonus track was written by Thorvaldur B. Thorvaldsson & Steve Hackett and was done with the Icelandic band Todmobile. Thorvaldsson is the real name of the bands guitarist who goes under the sudo name Þorvaldur B. Þorvaldsson. This is the only track on the album that Hackett does not sing on and the bands main singer Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson takes on the vocals. He bumped into the band when he went to see them live playing songs by the Yes with the original singer of that band Jon Anderson in the previous year in 2014 and that’s how he got to do this song with them.

It’s quite a good song and parts of the vocal melody line remind me of the Blind Faith song “Can’t Find My Way Back Home“. Although it perhaps could even sound like a bit of a cross between GTR & Asia in some respects too in that it has a bit more of a popular feel about it.


To sum up Steve Hackett’s 23rd studio album Wolflight, I think overall it’s a very good album but not by any means a solid one but then again solid albums are more of the rarer breed perhaps, but if you enjoyed albums like Wild Orchids, Out Of The Tunnels Mouth and Beyond The Shrouded Horizon I cannot see why you would not like this album even if I do not think it’s quite on par with those 3 albums I mentioned.

I do get the feeling that Hackett is heading in more of a dramatic direction with his music and also introducing more orchestral and other world music instrumentation to try and give you something a bit different. But his formidable style is still very much reminiscent and manages to breath freely and cut through it all.

To be honest I myself I am not so keen on a lot of world music and I’m not that keen on some of its instrumentation either, especially with how certain instruments sound such as tar’s and sitars for example. But they are OK! in small doses and I do think they can help to be a bit more creative in some respects too.

Thankfully they are only used in small doses and the one thing that helps this album a lot is that you do get a good dollop of Hackett’s acoustic playing throughout the album and that is where he does really excel and shine. The combination of both acoustic and electric guitars works extremely well on this album too. My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Wolflight“. “Earthshine“. “The Wheels Turning“. “Out of the Body“. “Dust and Dreams” and I would also include the bonus track “Pneuma“.


In conclusion Wolflight is quite a good body of work with the material that was written for it. There are bags of acoustic work throughout the album that does help it a lot and its self-titled track is a personal BIG! fave of mine and one of Steve Hackett top songs and up there with his strongest body of work. Both the instrumental tracks “Earthshine” and “Pneuma” are pure GEMS! and I personally cannot say there is a bad track on the whole album either.

The biggest let down for me was the 5.1 mix on the Blu Ray and from the many reviews I have read there is supposed to be a fault with the 5.1 mix and a couple I noticed said that they were aware of the fault and would at some point fix it. Obviously, nothing has been done to rectify the fault as many also pointed out and it’s a real shame especially has that was one of my main reasons that enticed me to buy the album.

I have no idea what Roger King done to the surround mix but just like I said in the 5.1 section of my review, this is the most extraordinary mix I have ever encountered and it makes the album sound completely diabolical and so BORING! It could be a case that he had some of the tracks muted when he done the mix-down because it does sound like tracks are missing and he must have put quite a few in the rear channels. The fact that you can hardly hear bugger all coming out of the rear channels makes me think that he did put a good few of the tracks in the rears. It’s that bad I cannot even give it anything more than 0 out of 10 and it does nothing for the album at all listening to it like this and is a complete waste of space on the Blu Ray disc.

Thankfully all is not lost and the stereo mix is very good even the 24-bit master stereo mix on the Blu Ray is very good too. The interviews on the Blu Ray are also quite informative and I would also say the bonus tracks are a worthy addition so it is worth getting the Mediabook over the CD especially if you can get it at the price, I paid for it or no more than around £12. These Mediabooks are of far more superior quality than the DigiPaks and DigiSleeves which is why a package like this gets the top marks and at that price point it’s still a bargain despite the disappointment of the 5.1 mix. There is still GREAT! value to be had here and it’s quite a good album.

Out Of The Body And Into The Dream…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. Out of the Body. 2:29.
02. Wolflight. 8:00.
03. Love Song to a Vampire. 9:17.
04. The Wheels Turning. 7:23.
05. Corycian Fire. 5:46.
06. Earthshine. 3:20.
07. Loving Sea. 3:22.
08. Black Thunder. 7:32.
09. Dust and Dreams. 5:33.
10. Heart Song. 2:50.
11. Pneuma #. 2:53
12. Midnight Sun #. 4:31.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 10/10.

The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.

The Stereo Mix Rating Score. 10/10.

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 0/10.

The Bonus Material Rating Score. 7/10.

The Album Rating Score. 7/10.