Hackett, Steve & The Underworld Orchestra - Metamorpheus

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Camino Records
Catalog Number: CAMCD35
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

Steve Hackett gives us his fifth classical album, but it's much more than pretentious violins meandering through a spiritless world. The music would be more than appropriate on a modern movie soundtrack. Steve's guitars give an element not too unlike the California Guitar Trio. Aspects of the orchestrations, on the other hand, bring the infamous James Horner to mind. The music is easy on the ears and effortless to follow.

The album feels like it is in broken into three parts. Many of the tracks seem to fit a theme. Track five ("The Dancing Ground") and twelve ("Severance") are where the tone transitions and sets. Aside from these exceptions, the music seems to stay the course.

I can see a dramatic scene in my mind unfold as each track plays. The first four tracks ("The Pool Of Memory and The Pool Of Forgetfulness," "To Earth Like Rain," "Song To Nature," and "One Real Flower") flow together like water down the drain pipe. It's an epic when you combine these pieces together. The fifth track is a nice change in pace. It heaves along by horseback through the hilly countryside. The last four songs ("Severance," "Elegy," "Return To The Realm Of Eternal Renewal," "Lyra") are livelier than the rest. It's a wake-up call from the serene slumber experienced earlier on.

The album is balanced and never overburdens the listen with too much of the same. While some spots are bold and bombastic, others are more tranquil. Whatever the case, the music is almost always alluring and dishes up a steady influx of ideas.

An actual orchestra is used to lay down a lavish landscape, which Steve's guitar carelessly frolics upon. Steve is strictly in the driver's seat while the violins add the breadth and dimension. The music is calm and peaceful, but it's much more than a trip to the dentist's office or a climb up an elevator.

The best song bar none is "That Vast Life," which boasts a 12 minute running time. The song takes its time to develop and takes the listener on a truly wondrous journey. It reprises itself uniquely on numerous occasions with a theme that's expertly interwoven into the foundation. It also takes the listener in many new directions. Steve's style here is saintly and sophisticated. While his playing in this piece is delicate and sparse, it's poignantly persuasive as well. This piece stoically stands alone with a soothing finish that takes us gracefully into the songs to follow. Other potent passages worthy of mention are a baroque piece called "The Broken Lyre" and a scorching hot song that goes by the name of "Severance." Last, but not least, "Lyra"'s ending is extremely powerful and passionate. Here the instruments and themes drift down a swift river and meet the dampening effects of a massive sea.

The Underworld Orchestra is extremely talented. If it were any other guitarist, you'd be wondering what in the world they were doing disturbing such a cleverly choreographed ballet. With Steve, however, he adds tasteful elements with finesse and finery. In addition to the continual appearance of Steve's guitar, we are also visited by violins, cellos, a double bass, flute, piccolo, trumpet, and even French horn. All the bases are covered.

If you need something classy to play during a dinner party or add the proper pitch to a romantic moment, just pop this album into the stereo. Metamorpheus is a surefire way to show off your sophisticated side. The guests will certainly appreciate it.

Also released by InsideOut Music America (SPV 085-5088A CD/IOMA CD 2103)

The Pool Of Memory And The Pool Of Forgetfulness / To Earth Like Rain / Song To Nature / One Real Flower / The Dancing Ground / That Vast Life / Eurydice Taken / Charon's Call / Cerberus At Peace / Under The World - Orpheus Looks Back / The Broken Lyre / Severance / Elegy / Return To The Realm Of Eternal Renewal / Lyra

Steve Hackett - guitar

Featured orchestral players:

Christine Townsend - principle violin, viola
Lucy Wilkins - violin
Richard Stewart - cello
Sarah Wilson - cello
Dick Driver - double bass
John Hackett - flute, piccolo
Colin Clague - trumpet
Richard Kennedy - French horn

Genesis - Nursery Crime (1971)
Genesis - Foxtrot (1972)
Genesis - Live (1973)
Genesis - Selling England By The Pound (1973)
Genesis - Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974)
Voyage Of The Acolyte (1975)
Genesis - Wind And Wuthering (1976)
Genesis - Trick Of The Tail (1976)
Genesis - Seconds Out (1977)
Please Don't Touch (1978)
Spectral Mornings (1979)
Defector (1980)
Cured (1981)
Highly Strung (1983)
Bay Of Kings (1983)
Til We Have Faces (1983)
GTR - GTR (1986)
Momentum (1988)
Genesis - Three Sides Live (1982)
Genesis - Genesis Archive 1967-75 (1988)
Time Lapse (1992)
The Unauthorised Biography (1992)
Guitar Noir (1994)
Blues With A Feeling (1994)
There Are Many Sides To The Night (1994)
A Midsummer's Night Dream (1997)
Watcher Of The Skies: Genesis Revisited (1997)
The Tokyo Tapes (1997)
Darktown (1999)
Genesis - Genesis - Turn It On Again (1999)
Sketches Of Satie (2000) (w/John Hackett)
Feedback '86 (2000)
Genesis - Genesis Archive #2 (2000)
Live Archive 70s 80s 90s (2001)
Live Archive - Newcastle (2001)
To Watch The Storms (2003)
Live Archive NEARfest (2003)
Live Archive 03 (2004)
Live Archive 04 (2004)
Genesis - The Platinum Collection (2004)
Metamorpheus (2005) (w/The Underworld Orchestra)
Live Archive 05 (2005)
Live Archive 83 (2006)
Wild Orchids (2006)
Tribute (2008)
Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth (2010)
Beyond The Shrouded Horizon (2011)
Genesis Revisited II (2012)

Steve Hackett Live (VHS) (1981)
The Tokyo Tapes (DVD) (1998)
Hungarian Horizons - Live In Budapest (DVD) (2003)
Somewhere In South America - Live In Buenos Aires (DVD) (2003)
Once Upon A Time (DVD) (2004)
Spectral Mornings (DVD) (rec 1978; rel 2005)

Genre: Other

Origin UK

Added: April 4th 2005
Reviewer: Joshua "Prawg Dawg" Turner
Artist website: www.hackettsongs.com
Hits: 989
Language: english


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