Steve Hackett — Surrender of Silence
Steve Hackett is a musical legend and at this point, he is somewhat critic proof. He has earned that stature by releasing quality music for five decades. Personally, I am astounded and beyond respectful of the fact that Steve continues to produce albums of such high quality. While most of his peers stopped creating new music long ago, this is his second release of 2021!! Whereas the first, (Under A Mediterranean Sky) was a classical leaning acoustic affair, Surrender Of Silence is a lockdown produced electric fest. In fact, it includes some of the hardest rocking songs that he has created in many years.
There is a career retrospective quality to the material which ranges in styles from prog, world, jazz, hard rock to even theatrical. Songs such as Held In The Shadows, Shanghai To Samarkland and Scorched Earth took me back to Hackett albums of the 70s and 80s. Other moments, Natlalia and The Devil's Cathedral, are cinematic in their approach and bring a dramatic flair to the surroundings.
Steve has again gathered a cast of extremely talented musicians (Craig Blundell, Roger King, Jonas Reingold, Christine Townsend, Phil Ehart, Nick D'Virgilio, Amanda Lehmann, Rob Townsend) and unsurprisingly the instrumentation throughout is astounding. From a guitar perspective, this is truly one of his most accomplished albums. Quite amazing to be able to say that about an artist's twenty-seventh studio release, but there you have it. Look no further than Relaxation Music For Sharks and Fox's Tango for proof.
Another area of progress is in the vocal catagory. Hackett is not a bad singer, but the expressive range of former collaborators like Pete Hicks and Steve Walsh was sometimes missed on more recent releases. A large part of the success this time is the decision for Steve to duet with Amanda Lehmann on several tracks. They sound great together. Also, the fantastic vocals of the McBroom Sisters help to make the enthusiastic Wingbeats an absolute highlight.
At times, the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to Surrender Of Silence, creates a shifting of musical gears that feels abrupt. However, the ultimate results are quite adventurous and I sense that fans are going to be swept up in the sheer eclectic spirit of this release. One thing is clear. Steve Hackett is a musical dynamo, who at 71 is still creating music that matters.
That is not only unique, it is to be celebrated.