"Let's face it; all of us reading and writing these reviews of Steve's music are his fans. We're seeing more grey each day, we are at or rapidly approaching the big 5-0, and like the rest of the world, we are not who we were. Neither is Steve. His composition continues to expand as it matures, he still can pull off phrases, trills, licks, riffs and tricks that surprise. He is still the finest guitarist ever recorded. Yet even that--the core of what draws us all to his music, his playing--is starting to sound...similar. Time really does march on, and it did--on all of us. Even so, this album is simply remarkable. I know lots of us complained that "Darktown"'s protracted birth resulted in a fractured sound, yet for most it was a return to form. With "To Watch The Storms," that form is reshaped, redefined and recast into something even more solid. This is the best work Steve has ever produced. And like anyone who would actually read this, I've been there for all of it. But there's the problem. He's already got us. I doubt Steve's audience is growing. My guess it will continue to be us and only us throughout his career. Hopefully, that suits him. Yet it does mean he may never grace our shores again. Our "youthful" American promoters may never envision profits in offering U.S. gigs to this profound artist. So our long, hopeful dream of a full-fledged tour over here gets more fanciful with each new candle on the cake. At least while we continue to dream we can listen to this great album."
Hackett the musical chameleon strikes again...
THX-1138 | UK | 06/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Former Genesis guitarist turned solo adventurer Steve Hackett returned again in 2003 with this, 'To Watch The Storms', another well recived album that offers many differnt styles of music on one CD...
Hackett is a prog rocker, going right back to the glory years of Genesis in the 70's, paticularly the 1970-1977 period were the band produced a powerful array of music. Since then Steve has become a musician striving to explore ALL sides of music, like former Genesis band mate Peter Gabriel, he will try any type of sound. He has released a number of albums, including 'Please Don't Touch' (1978), 'Spectral Mornings' (1979) and 'Guitar Noir' (1992) that are considered classics.
And so this album 'To Watch The Storms', Hackett's first effort since 1999's anticipated 'Darktown' album. Here Hackett shifts gears effortlessly. The album has a tremendous mood throughout, and Hackett has a guitar sound that is truely distictive. From the calmness and nostalgia of the opening track 'Strutton Ground' to the prog throwback 'Circus Of Becoming', this is a perfectly crafted work.
Hackett has also become a very good lyricist, with some thought provoking words to go with his musical soudscapes. And he is a good singer, half prog, half blues croke is how to describe it best.
Other highlights include the uplifting 'Brand New', the unbelievably heavy political protest song 'Mechanical Bride', which Hackett almost scares you with its insanely wild instrumental passage. The gentle, elegant 'Rebecca', with it's classical acoustic guitars is a nice contrast, as is the powerful love song 'This World', with it's moving chorus.
'The Devil Is An Englishman' and 'Marijuana Assasian Of Youth' are both completely insane rock riots, with Hackett malevolently sinister on the former, and playing the Batman theme on his guitar on the later...
And to round off, as always their is a set of stirring instrumental pieces, from nylon guitar songs like 'Wind, Sand And Stars', 'If Only You Knew' and 'The Moon Under Water' to world music epic 'The Silk Road' and the atmospheric 'Pollution B'.
Oh and there is just time for some full on blues with 'Fire Island' and some Irish folk with 'Come Away' and surrealist jazz with the muted and moody 'Frozen Statues'.
This special edition version of 'To Watch The Storms' ios beautifully packaged, with great artwork by Hackett's girlfriend/artist Kim Poor, and sleve notes by the man himself for every track. If you want diversity, complexity and beauty, this is the album for you, i HIGHLY recommend this album."
One Of his best
Jeffrey Weselinski | Williamstown, New Jersey | 07/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It seems his music is getting better by the album! To Watch The storms is entertaining to listen to. The ex Genesis member has put together songs that are moody, dark, beautiful, and funny at the same time.The songs that stand out are Rebecca,The Devil is an Englishman,Brand New,and The circus of Becoming. The best song Ihave found on this disk is Marijuana,the Assassin of Youth. The song starts with some orchastration and vocals, then goes to a pipe organ Bach movement, to the BATMAN Theme to tequila to an all out rock and roll jam session!The booklet enclosed is a gem with pictures of his wifes paintings, lyrics and liner notes; which come in handy because steve talks about the meaning of the words and music to his songs. This album is not for everybody, but musicians,prog rock fans and die hard Hackett fans should have this disc in their collection.This one is a gem and the best album and music I have heard this year."
Just plain....WOW !
Vincent Priceless | Glen Cove, New York United States | 12/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If "Darktown" can be considered a return to form of sorts, to the "classic-era" Hackett albums (say, his first four solo albums up to & including "Defector"), then "To Watch The Storms" is arguably Hackett's crowning achievement thus far, both technically (some mind-blowing production...listen to the fade-out ending of "Mechanical Bride", after you recover from Hackett & keyboardist Roger King exchanging wildly kinetic solos that almost BOTH sound like distorted guitar riffs!) & compositionally (if that's a word)! It's the album die-hard fans always knew he had in him, and a return to the classic art-rock form that is a welcome surprise in this day and age. Rest assured - Hackett has finally found a "comfort zone" with his vocals, something I think he laid the groundwork for on "Darktown" - whatever the case, the vocals throughout are excellent, probably due in no small part to the phenom band that Hackett has put together - perhaps this album will be the first of a few more "band" efforts, as history has proven such outings have always yielded the greatest results for Steve in terms of consistency (aside from the magnificent nylon guitar albums). For my money, Hackett is one of the few artists that continues to carry the "prog rock" torch to loftier heights (another being Peter Hammill), and certainly the only former member of Genesis making any interesting music to speak of. A beautiful melding of progressive rock, classical guitar sketches, mind-bending production, incredible arrangements, skillful musicianship - and of course, just simply superb compositions. A real work of art."