Review – Hekz – Terra Nova

HeKz is a progressive rock band that stands at the crossroads of heavy metal legends and the luminaries of the prog rock genre.

Their journey began with their debut album, ‘Tabula Rasa’, which laid a strong foundation for their distinctive sound. Building on this, their sophomore effort, ‘Caerus’, saw the band ambitiously fusing the contrasting elements of their musical identity. This effort culminated in their third album, ‘Invicta’, where HeKz masterfully blended their influences to create a more homogenised sound that showcased the best of their past while venturing into new and exciting territory.

HeKz’s fourth album, ‘Terra Nova’, promises to be their most ambitious project yet. The band’s lineup consists of lead singer and bassist Matt Young, guitar virtuoso Mark Bogert (known for his work with Knight Area and Magoria), the enchanting Irina Markevich on violin, the rhythmic powerhouse Moyano el Buffalo (formerly of 5th Avenue Hamburg) on drums, and a special guest appearance by keyboard maestro Adam Holzman (noted for collaborations with Miles Davis and Steven Wilson).

‘Terra Nova’ is a concept piece that weaves a tale of ambition, duality, and the relentless fight to conquer the darkest parts of one’s personality to become the person you were born to be.

So that’s the background out of the way, now let’s see what this new album is actually like…

Well, everything starts off with an almighty bang as album opener, and title track, Terra Nova hoves into view like a wild stallion on the rampage. Adrenaline fuelled musical mayhem with glorious vocal melodies and a riff hewn out of granite, if the rest of the album is anything like this then we are in for an incredible treat! It’s like the best hard rock and metal from the late 70’s and early 80’s blended with some progressive nuances to deliver something jet propelled and gob smacking. Matt’s super-funky bass and Moyano’s thunderous drums are the foundation for Mark’s fluid guitar and the subtle interjections of Irina’s violin are really clever. That focused energy flows straight into the monumental Sabotage which takes on a more glam metal feel with its truncated riffs and drum beat. Adam delivers some stellar Hammond organ-esque keys and Matt’s gloriously bombastic vocal is reminiscent of Justin Hawkins at his best. There’s an inctricate instrumental section in the middle which is pure prog and then Irina’s soaring violin takes us on a completely different tack, if only for a brief second before the afterburners are lit and off we go again with a blazing guitar solo from Mark, bloody hell, can I please catch my breath guys! A passionate guitar opens Horizons before things calm down a little (not much though!) and we are treated to a superb hard rock composition that really reminds me of that era of hair metal and glam rock, think Poison, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi and the like, only done with more panache and vivacity! Irina’s violin makes another welcome appearance but this song is just pure rock and roll and will put a huge grin on your face, check out Mark’s ever so 80’s solo and you will know exactly what I mean, it’s all just brilliantly over the top!

Matt’s funky, dirty bass opens the rocking rollercoaster ride that is Mayday, a thunderous thrill ride of perfect progressive metal where Mark’s guitar has that low down and dirt edge to it and Moyano’s drums have gone all primeval. Add in some funky keys from Adam and another shot of Irina’s amazing violin and you get something unique and totally captivating and entertaining. Welcome to the most addictive music you will hear this year, I just can’t get enough! Finally things do calm down with the wondrous haunting ballad So Far Gone, you can tell this is an amazing track as I immediately pressed repeat after the first time I heard it. Adam’s graceful piano combines with Irina’s ethereal violin to deliver music that will touch your soul and Matt gives a subdued but ever so passionate vocal performance, especially on the ever so impressive chorus. Mark enters the fray with an elegant guitar, the drums are perfectly judged so as not to intrude and Adam’s keyboard solo is bewitching, it’s all just magical!

The engrossing ten minutes of The Tower are the first time that we see the progressive being more than the rock on this amazing album. Almost musical theatre in places, especially Matt’s ardent, eloquent vocal, this song is a slow burning masterpiece that pulls you in before unleashing its inner darkness, check out that dark and dirty riff! A mesmerisingly convoluted section follows where everything seems to have gone completely mad, like you’re suffering from musical psychosis. It’s like something from Dream Theater’s heaviest album ‘Train of Thought’ and I bloody love it. Like a dystopian horror story, it ebbs and flows between the darkness and the light and you can barely keep up with the labyrinthine plot, this is music that tells a story, okay, in this case a very disturbing one but it is utterly magnificent, bombastic and completely over the top! A song to calm the nerves after that sinister thrill ride, Lifeline opens with subdued feel engendered by Matt’s vocal before it opens up into something more passionate and dramatic, this song could have come from an early Queen album with Matt’s towering vocals and a soaring guitar solo that Brian May would be very proud of. Add in Irina’s beseeching violin and it’s a very compelling way to close out Disc One of the album.

“Disc One?” I hear you shout! Oh yes, didn’t I say? This album is so long it is actually a double album!

Disc Two opens with Too far Gone and we are back to thunderous hard rock as the amazing intro reminds us. Mark then fires a superb riff at the skies and Irina’s violin adds to the majesty. Matt’s vocal has a more subdued feel at first and Moyano keeps the drums in support. Pre ‘Slippery When Wet’ Bon Jovi is the vibe I’m getting here, before they went all hair metal and, controversial opinion, wrote better songs. Cue the high pitched vocals, flowing guitar solo and dynamic keyboards, the blue touch paper is lit and we are definitely off! Progressive metal for the primeval, I Am The Thrall hits you right in the solar plexus like a two ton heavy thing. A leviathan of the genre with it’s brooding atmosphere where the tension just build and builds, Irina’s violin is used to perfection. Matt’s harder edged vocal and Mark’s monstrous guitar add the drama and the intrigue as this heavier than lead song continues its inexorable progress. You can feel the guitar and the drums as they pummel you into submission and Adam’s ever so slightly evil keyboard solo adds the requisite maniacal grin, it’s ever so joyously wicked like a musical guilty pleasure and I love it!

We now come to the album’s properly epic epic! The Silent Man takes all that was great about early Dream Theater and Haken, adds in a dash of some serious Symphony X style progressive metal and then takes the band’s own inimitable style to create something quite remarkable and iconic. There’s something just right about a twenty-four minute song, especially when it shows the middle finger to mainstream music like this one, strap in and enjoy the ride because you are going to love it. Matt’s marvellously grandiose vocals are a joy to behold and Mark’s guitar is as ostentatious as you’d want on a track of this calibre. You think it can’t get any better than Adam’s meticulous, euphuistic keyboard solo and then Mark comes along and delivers a guitar solo that is utterly rhapsodic, add in Matt and Moyano, who are proving themselves to be a rhythm section to die for, and things are near perfect. Don’t take my word for it, you have got to hear this song as it is as brilliantly overblown and dramatic as they come. The album ends on a high and hopeful note with the gorgeously wistful Terra Nova II. Irina’s violin has been making superb guest appearances throughout the album so far but, finally, she gets to really shine on this beautiful, uplifting and ultimately optimistic piece of music. Imbuing a sense of beatific calm, this elegant track leaves traces of wonder as it passes, Matt’s vocal is tender and poignant and both Adam and Mark deliver their most evocative solos yet. This all combines to deliver the most emotive piece on the whole album and one that leaves you in a much better place than when you started.

“You know who you really are…”

Well, what can I say, I knew that a new Hekz album would be something pretty good but I had no idea it would be this special. With ‘Terra Nova’, Hekz have given us the ultimate involving musical thrill ride and I just don’t want to get off. To tell the truth, it’s the best progressive-metal album I’ve heard in many a year and, if this is the future of the genre, I’m completely sold!

Released 3rd November, 2023.

Pre-order from the band here:

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Review – This Winter Machine – The Clockwork Man

I love a good concept album, one where the creator takes an idea and runs with it, creating something quite remarkable in the process. I think you need to resonate with the concept yourself for it to work and, in This Winter Machine’s fourth album, ‘The Clockwork Man’, I have found a concept that really appeals to me.

In a dystopian future mankind has perfected human cloning. From egg to adult it takes an accelerated 7 months incubation, with the clones then raised and socialised for another 2 years in huge dome covered cities, where the sun is projected onto the roof to give the illusion of outdoors, never seeing the outside world. By the time they leave they’re fully adult in appearance.

They’re bred sterile and have no rights to travel or vote or marry. There are no females. They are ‘born’ simply to take the jobs nobody wants or are condsidered dangerous (footsoldier, factory worker, mining etc). They are given pills (ostensibly to fight infection and keep them healthy but actually the pills are to keep them docile, skinny and unambitious). 

Society has labelled them The Clockwork Men.

Being a huge fan of science fiction literature since I was young, that kind of synopsis really appeals to me so we are already off to a good start. Vocalist and main man behind the band Al Winter was unsure how the band’s first proper concept album would go down with their fanbase but, after quite a few listens, I’m pretty certain they will love it. Al says that while there are eight distinct parts or tracks to the album, it should be consumed in one sitting, like you are watching a film, then you will get the most from this engrossing story. If you were lucky enough to get involved in the pre-order campaign then you also got a fantastic comic book to accompany the music.

The protagonist (unnamed but we refer to him as TCM) has been away from his domed city for 6 months, earning a living as a street sweeper, and has a tiny bedsit above a shop in the outside ‘real’ city. He runs out of pills and rather than getting sick he finds himself becoming curious about the world outside. Restless.

A neon sign on the wall outside of his window illuminates the room while he cant sleep. 

He looks at his bedside clock and its 3am. he decides to go for a walk.”

The opening part of the story is The River, a fast, urgent piece of music that introduces the concept with some rather fine guitar work from John Cook, a man who plays like symbiosis of David Gilmour and Steve Rothery. There’s a fine atmosphere created by Leigh Perkins’ keyboards which swirl around your mind. The dynamic rhythm section of Alan Wilson (drums) and Dave Close (bass) provide the glue that holds everything together and Al Winter’s vocals perfectly deliver the story at hand. I feel instantly involved in the story, the music draws you in and Al’s fine voice does the rest, there’s a section towards the end where Leigh plays a beautiful piano note over Al’s hushed tones that sends a shiver down your spine, it’s just sumptuous and when John’s guitar breaks in, oh my, it’s just brilliant. Just imagine where Marillion might have ended up if Fish had stayed and their sound had matured over the years with him as a lyricist, I’m getting those vibes from this album. Solitude, Silence And Steam opens with a pensive bassline, drums and keyboards with John’s strident guitar enforcing the mood. There’s a mysterious quality to this fine track as the keyboards envelop us in some sort of musical mist. things pick up a bit as Al’s searching vocals being and the guitar takes on a harder edge that brings to mind a touch of Gabriel era Genesis. There is a linear forcefulness to the song, like people marching in line and in time, subservient and under control, before the music takes on a calming tone and feel to it and Al’s vocal softens. The intricate songwriting and stellar musicianship is very impressive to listen to, especially John’s guitar work towards the end of the track that closes it out to perfection.

“After a short time walking in the rain, he begins to wonder how he can continue in a world that has so much but with none of it offered to him or his kind. He see’s a bar for clones thats open. Going inside he’s soon joined at his table by an older looking clone and a regular female. 

The older clone tells him of a movement to gain more acceptance and fairness by force but TCM is more interested in the woman. At the end of the night they kiss and agree to meet again.”

Dave’s funky bass and John’s edgy guitar open Final Goodbye in style, this short, eloquent, piece carries on the story with Al’s vocal taking the protagonist through the next stage. It might only be a linking track but it’s aura of 80’s neo-prog is really rather good. There’s a rather funky guitar riff to open the almost Mission Impossible theme feel of the super cool intro to Change, especially the wonderful keys. The involvement of Andre Saint can be felt throughout the track but the highlight for me is the ever so impressive, and exceedingly catchy, chorus where Al gets to really open up with his vocals. Progressive rock meets funk-metal, it really grooves as it ebbs and flows and is possibly my favourite track on the album so far. A haunting, ethereal piano note takes flight in your mind as Reflections begins, the track then really takes off with a passionate guitar section and the drums and bass join in to give us an enterprising, intricate fast paced instrumental that really flows, imagine some 80’s Rush and you won’t be far away from the mark. Just sit back and let these impressive musicians take you on a marvellous musical journey. A delicately played guitar opens the ballad-esque beauty of Nothing Lasts Forever, a wistful, melancholy song where Al’s plaintive vocal plays a key part in engendering a feel of nostalgia and loss. Mention Neo-prog and you seem to get short shrift nowadays but when at its best, like it is here, it is quite fantastic and This Winter Machine seem to dip in and out of the genre at will and go full blown when Leigh’s brilliant keyboards and John’s fiery guitar take on the story. A really wonderful piece of music that touches your soul.

“A short while later they move into a small house together and at first its great and they’re happy. 

After a few weeks and months he notices she’s being mocked in public for her relationship with him, and she loses her job. He also loses his. Insults are painted on their door in the night. 

For her benefit, he waits til the middle of the night, packs a small bag and leaves her a note on the bedside table and leaves. He goes to join the march for better clone rights with the older guy they met at the bar. 

She wakes in the morning and sees the note he left that has just 3 words – ‘Nothing lasts forever’ and in panic she runs to find him.”

The Light opens with more delicate piano and Al’s hushed vocal awash with some ethereal synth, like water gently flowing down a stream. A refined, short, song that induces a state of calm reflection and contemplation and leaves you relaxed and hopeful for the future.

“She sees him at the front of a march, standing side by side with the clone from the bar, heading towards the government buildings. The clones carrying signs and banners asking for freedom and equality. She calls out to him but he doesn’t hear or see her, and as she does the police descend on the crowd of Clockwork Men and she see’s him vanish under cloud of batons and shields. She screams. His fate unknown.” 

Falling Through A Hole In The Sky,the final part of this enthralling story, begins with a gentle, flowing section where all these impressive musicians set the scene for what is to come. Al’s vocal becomes more passionate and stentorian and rises and falls with the tempo of the music as our Clockwork Man’s journey and fate reach their conclusion. John then hits us hard with a potent riff and the ever influential rhythm section of Alan and Dave ramps up the atmosphere, increasing the tension. Things really reach the heights with the stunning, lengthy guitar solo that closes out the track and this majestic and inspiring piece of work.

‘The Clockwork Man’ is modern, neo-tinged, progressive rock at its finest and most involving, perfectly created and performed by a band who have found their feet after three accomplished releases and have delivered their finest work yet. This Winter Machine now stand at the forefront of modern neo-progressive rock and can be rightly proud of a concept album that can stand the test of time with some of the best that have gone before.

Released 6th October, 2023.

Order from White Knight Records here:

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Review – Unitopia – Seven Chambers

“I often think in music, I live my daydreams in music, I see my life in terms of music.”Albert Einstein.

That quote is really how I see music and why I started this website in the first place, I love music and spend the vast majority of my time listening to it. Progressive rock is one style of music that I really resonate with, to me, when it is done well, it is the modern version of classical music or musical theatre, both genres where the music can be so expressive.

Well, without spoiling the conclusion of this review, this new, much anticipated, album from legendary antipodean progressive band Unitopia definitely falls into the ‘done well’ category…

As the follow-up to 2010’s ‘Artificial’ and 2012’s ‘Covered Mirror Vol. 1 – Smooth as Silk‘ (a superb assortment of classic/prog rock reinterpretations), ‘Seven Chambers‘ is Unitopia’s first new outing in over a decade. Founded by vocalist/songwriter Mark “Truey” Trueack (United Progressive Fraternity) and multi-instrumentalist Sean Timms (Southern Empire,DamanekUPF) in 1996, Australian progressive fusion Unitopia have always been among the most renowned and distinctive bands of their ilk and era.

During the interim, each member kept busy with various other projects, and according to‘s Essentials’ Mark Monforti, the method of getting the group going again was endearingly fortuitous:

“A few years ago, Steve Hackett was exploring studios and players for a show in Australia, and he contacted Timms about using the studio that he and Truey still owned. That got Sean and Truey talking about possibly working on new music together. Then, I reached out to them about doing some shows. They went exceedingly well, which sort of solidified the fact that Unitopia needed to come back.”

With Timms and Trueack reunited, the duo decided to expand Unitopia by bringing in fellow UPF maestro Steve Unruh, guitarist Dr. John Greenwood, drummer Chester Thompson (Frank ZappaWeather ReportGenesis) and bassist Alphonso Johnson (Weather ReportSantanaDavid Gilmour).

With the powerhouse duo of Timms and Greenwood on creative duties, aided and abetted by Trueack and Unruh’s songwriting skills, Unitopia have delivered something rather special. It is a truly remarkable and immersive musical experience, wonderful musical theatre at its absolute best. The songs just ebb and flow magically and the musical virtuosity on show is totally mind blowing.

In a world where the darkness seems to be overwhelming the light, it is a salve for the soul to hear an album with as much emotional depth and sheer musical beauty and bombast as this. The music is the light that fights back the darkness and gives us hope and that’s what truly great music can do and why music really can mean more to you on a daily basis.

Mark’s powerful and emotive vocals are wonderfully stirring and effective, especially on songs like Broken Heart where John Greenwood’s magical guitar playing can first be heard. The keyboards dance like little gems of sound in your mind and the ever so cultured rhythm section of Chester Thompson and Alphonso Johnson is a lesson in less is more except, of course, when more is more! The deeply thoughtful Something Invisible opens up into something strident and vibrantly dynamic where the music wends its way around your psyche like it’s almost alive. I honestly don’t think I’ve heard an album as meaningful as this in quite a long time, every note is perfectly placed and the vocals are sinuous and full of heart and soul. One of the things I really love about this album is the use of strings, Steve Unruh’s violin especially is utterly charming and full of intellect and vitality. Bittersweet is just that, the wistful guitar and piano that open the song, along with Truey’s delicate vocal are as sweet as they come, tinkling on your mind. Things get more darker and edgy in the second half of the song, very free form jazz influenced, but almost with a wry smile in the background, you just have to admire the fantastic songwriting again.

Mania is deliciously dark, there’s a sense of foreboding from the primeval opening and the crunching guitar, Mark’s vocal goes up in intensity, he really has such an expressive voice and when he sings a chorus it absolutely soars. Twelve minutes of sombre, brooding music that is brilliantly executed by all, it’s a real powerhouse of a song and an almost exhausting listen as the emotion in the track bleeds directly into you. John’s fervent guitar work is superb and, once again, Chester and Alphonso step up to the mark superbly, a highlight of the album for me. There’s refinement and elegance throughout this exquisite album and that continues with the elegant The Stroke Of Midnight, wistful and contemplative, it’s sheer grace and style are a joy to behold. Mark’s voice is as smooth as they come and the music just flows so elegantly. As a lesson in songwriting, it is nigh on perfect and the violin section will make the hairs on the back of your neck rise, it is utterly mesmerising.

If you have an album that is supposed to be progressive rock, then it needs to have an epic, or in the case of Unitopia, two epics to finish the album! First Helen gives us nineteen minutes of sheer musical brilliance with wide ranging musical styles all asked to turn up and blend in together and, boy do they ever. Symphonic rock, gypsy violin, flamenco guitar chops, heavy rock, they just keep coming. It’s a musical melting pot of sheer wonder and the band just seem to having so much fun playing it. The highlight for me is a marvellous section where Steve Unruh plays a beautiful flute alongside a stylish Elizabethan harpsichord and it just made me smile. The album closes with the widescreen wonderment of The Uncertain, a scintillating musical work that crosses the boundaries of musical theatre, classical music, progressive rock and contemporary music with abandon to deliver eighteen minutes of dazzling, intense brilliance. Mark’s vocals dip into each genre with ease as he shows off his fantastic talent and Steve delivers a violin solo that is utterly riveting and enchanting, this is six musicians working in perfect harmony, almost symbiotic and delivering the performances of their lives.

Unitopia have returned with one of the stand out releases of the year. It may be over a decade since we had any music from this uber-talented collective but, in this reinvigorated from, it would appear that they are back and even better than before. ‘Seven Chambers’ is possibly the ultimate expression of modern progressive rock and one of the highlights of this year, it just doesn’t get much better than this!

Released 25th August, 2023.

Order CD from Burning Shed here:

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Review – Everything But The Girl – Fuse – by Dr. Rob Fisher

“Do you sing to heal the broken hearted?” wonders Tracey Thorn with a tone of whimsical curiosity, “Or do you sing to get the party started?” Emerging from the darkness, approaching the microphone, she confesses “I like the mic, and I like the dark, I like the mood, and it lights a spark.” (Karaoke, Track 10).

It has been 24 years since Everything But The Girl were last in the spotlight. An unexpected low-key announcement on Twitter in November 2022 lit a spark with news that work on an eleventh studio album was complete and ready to be released in April of this year. The result? Fuse. A remarkable album, infused with a staggering emotional depth and poignancy that resonates with the turbulent moods and experiences of the last few years. The deft lyrical incisiveness combined with crisp, laconic sketches of modern life bestows a haunting empathy and heartfelt compassion which is profoundly moving and, at times, overwhelming.

An almost painful rawness and vulnerability form a pervading presence across all the songs on this album. The heavy dubstep beat, the tremolo bass and the lyrical references of opening track Nothing Left to Lose (Track 1) provide a seamless connection with the spirit of previous albums. Yet the despondency and resignation of the space filled by Thorn’s vocal is unmistakable: “I need a thicker skin / This pain keeps getting in.” There is also abandonment and isolation: “Tell me what to do / ‘Cause nothing works without you.” The pressing need is to forget the hollowness and lose yourself, just for a while, in the warmth of the moment: “Kiss me while the world decays / Kiss me while the music plays.”

The fear of being alone and feelings of emptiness continue with Run The Red Light (Track 2). Our hopes, our dreams of ‘making it big’ are a show bravado to cover our vulnerability. The refrain points to the (false) comfort of losing ourselves and escaping in the moment: “Run a red light / Forget the morning / This is tonight.” The chorus is recycled with both Thorn and Watt singing, the latter’s voice Auto Tuned to add a robotoic texture. The theme continues in No One Knows We’re Dancing (Track 6), a hot, noisy afternoon underground nightclub, sweat dripping from the ceiling, while ‘normal’ life continues above. Amid the isolation, we crave company, companionship, just some sense of connection with others.

The noise, the desperation, the seeming heartless indifference of the things that happen to us, threaten to consume us. Emerging from the experience of lockdown, Lost (Track 7) is a recurring arpeggio accompanying a mundane litany of losing your place, your bags, your client, your job, and your friends until, at the lowest point of all, we encounter the three times repeated “I lost my mother / I lost my mother / I lost my mother’. Loss: the feeling of being lost, is consuming. At the very place, deep down, where things matter most. Where everything is supposed to make sense.

Don’t be fooled, however. This album, the music, the songs, are most certainly not an ode to depression or a wallowing in self-pity. Far from it. Inner Space (Track 9) filters and masters Thorn’s voice to sound like the inside of her head. We are lost even to ourselves, we do not know ourselves, we do not understand who we are. “The dark is an alien place / Interior space”. But there is also defiance. In what appears to be a swipe at the menopause, she sings “And no, I don’t bleed / And yes, I am freed / But what is that worth? / Are we all about birth?”

Despite everything, the album calls on us not to give in, not to give up, not to beat ourselves up for the mistakes we make. Lost itself is a call to carry on, to keep going, to not succumb to calling yourself a loser: “I just lost it / (Call yourself a loser and they will too) / (Don’t go down that road, don’t go down that road).” When You Mess Up (Track 4) is about all the uncertainties of being ourselves as we grow older and not punishing ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made. “In a world of micro-aggressions / Little human transgressions / Forgive yourself”. Do more than that: “Have a drink, talk too loud / Be a fool in the crowd / But forgive yourself / Forgive yourself.”

Forever (Track 8) brings this home, using a ‘four-on-the-floor beat’ to punch home the message. “Do away with cruelty / Do away with pain / Do away with playing games / For short term gain.” We need to work out what is important, what matters and whom we value most. “No more games / Start thinking what you’d save from the flames / What you’ll desire / When everything’s on fire / And who’ll be around / When everything’s burned down?”

These are the things that matter. The song fades away to “Give me something I can hold on to forever.” And that, in a nutshell, is the sheer majestic strength and triumph of this album. It finds us where we are. It befriends us. It resonates with our fears, our anxieties, our troubles. It puts an arm around us and says don’t worry, life is difficult, we all struggle, and that’s ok. Everyone is going through it. You’re not the only one. Don’t be too hard on yourself; stop beating yourself up. Keep going. Focus on what matters. Oh, and don’t forget – have fun!

Musically, the crystal-clear sound stage creates cavernous spaces within which Thorn’s voice can tell the stories which brought them back to the recording studio. In the time they’ve been away, Thorn and Watt have had two children, followed solo careers, experienced lockdown all the while struggling with the passing of the years. Thorn’s voice remains incomparable, breathtaking, even better than it was. Watts’ arrangements perfectly accompany, cradle and showcase not just the inherent beauty of her voice but an instinctive feel for how less is more and how space itself is all you need for the musical magic to emerge.

Let’s finish where we started. Emerging from the darkness, approaching the microphone, Thorn asks: “Do you sing to heal the broken hearted?” A firm answer comes back: “Oh, you know I do”. She asks again: “Or do you sing to get the party started?” The definitive response comes back: “And you know I love that too.” It’s never either/or. Music can and must be both/and. Fuse is precisely how music enables both/and to become possible. It is the perfect finish to what will be, without a doubt, my album of 2023.

Video for Website
Run a Red Light:

1. Nothing Left To Lose 3:46
2. Run A Red Light 3:39
3. Caution To The Wind 4:07
4. When You Mess Up 3:48
5. Time And Time Again 2:52
6. No One Knows We’re Dancing 4:09
7. Lost 3:25
8. Forever 3:41
9. Interior Space 2:24
10. Karaoke 3:54

Tracey Thorn – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Ben Watt – Drum Programming, Programmed By [Sound Programming], Piano, Synthesizer, Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals, Recorded By [Additional iPhone Recordings]

Artwork –, John Gilsenan
Mastered By – Miles Showell
Producer, Arranged By – Everything But The Girl
Recorded By, Mixed By – Bruno Ellingham

Label: Buzzin Fly Records
Format: CD, Vinyl, Digital
21st April 2023



Steve Hackett – Genesis Greats, Lamb Highlights & Solo

Legendary guitarist Steve Hackett announces the dates for his 2024 UK tour: Steve Hackett – Genesis Greats, Lamb Highlights & Solo.  The tour takes in 15 dates across the UK culminating with a visit to London’s Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday 23rd October. To mark the 50th anniversary of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Hackett is including a selection of highlights from this iconic Genesis album. Tickets go on sale on Friday 29th September at 10am   

Steve Hackett’s timeless guitar-work was woven throughout Genesis’ classic 70’s catalogue of albums. In recent years he and his outstanding touring line-up of Roger King (keyboards), Nad Sylvan (vocals), Jonas Reingold (bass, backing vocals), Rob Townsend (saxophone, flutes, additional keyboards) and Craig Blundell (drums) have brought many of these albums back to the concert hall to great acclaim. Special guest, Amanda Lehmann will be joining the whole of the UK tour on guitar and vocals.  Many fans have also been asking for more tracks from The Lamb to be included. What better way to celebrate half-a-century of this remarkable album than to include a selection of Lamb Highlights alongside some of Hackett’s finest solo work and unmissable Genesis Greats.

“I’m hugely looking forward to the 2024 UK tour,” says Steve Hackett, “including ‘The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’ favourites as well as other iconic Genesis numbers along with solo gems. It’ll also be exciting to return to the wonderful Royal Albert Hall!”

Steve Hackett – Genesis Greats, Lamb Highlights & Solo tour dates 2024:

Wed 2nd October                  Aylesbury      Friars Waterside         

Thurs 3rd October                 Portsmouth   Guildhall 

Sat 5th October                     Bristol             Beacon 

Sun 6th October                    Cambridge    Corn Exchange 

Mon 7th October                   Birmingham   Symphony Hall

Wed 9th October                   Liverpool        Philharmonic

Thurs 10th October             Cardiff            St David’s Hall

Sat 12th October                   Guildford        G Live

Sun 13th October                  Stoke              Victoria Hall

Tue 15th October                  York                Barbican 

Wed 16th October               Nottingham   Royal Concert Hall 

Fri 18th October                    Glasgow        Royal Concert Hall 

Sat 19th October                  Gateshead    Glasshouse

Sun 20th October                  Manchester   Bridgewater Hall

Tue 22nd October                 Reading         Hexagon

Wed 23rd October               London          Royal Albert Hall 

Tickets go on sale on Friday 29th September at 10am.

About Steve Hackett

Steve Hackett joined Genesis at the beginning of 1971 and gained an international reputation as the guitarist in the band’s classic line-up alongside Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins. Hackett’s intricate guitar work was a key element of Genesis’ albums from Nursery Cryme (1971) to Wind And Wuthering (1977) including the iconic Selling England By The Pound.

After leaving Genesis at the end of 1977, Hackett’s solo career, which now spans more than 30 albums, has demonstrated his extraordinary versatility with both electric and acoustic guitar. Hackett is renowned as both an immensely talented and innovative rock musician and a virtuoso classical guitarist and composer and this was recognised in 2010 when he was inducted into the Rock And Rock Hall Of Fame. He has also worked alongside Steve Howe of YES in the supergroup GTR.

Hackett’s compositions take influences from many genres, including jazz, classical and blues. For his studio works The Night Siren (2017) and At The Edge Of Light (2019) Hackett has also explored the influences of world music. Recent tours have seen Hackett celebrate his time with Genesis including a spectacular 2018 tour in which he realised a long-held ambition to perform the works of Genesis live with his band and an orchestra. 

The lockdown enforced by the 2020 global pandemic has proven to be a particularly creative period for Hackett. He began by releasing Selling England by the Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live at Hammersmith, a live recording of 2019’s hugely successful tour celebrating that Genesis classic together with the 40th anniversary of one of his most-loved solo albums. Lockdown also gave Hackett the opportunity to write and record two new studio albums in 2021: the UK Classical Chart hit Under A Mediterranean Sky and the hit rock album Surrender of Silence.

Hackett and his band enjoyed a return to touring with Genesis Revisited – Seconds Out + More! (2021) and Genesis Revisited – Foxtrot At Fifty (2022). Subsequently, the live album Genesis Revisited – Seconds Out + More!, released in 2022, became Hackett’s most successful-ever live album reaching number 28 in the UK Album Chart and achieving highest-ever chart positions in several European countries.  He recently released the live album from the 2022 tour – Foxtrot at Fifty + Hackett Highlights – Live in Brighton.   Hackett takes the Foxtrot at Fifty Tour to the USA from 3rd October through to 18th November.


Review – Built For The Future – 2084 Heretic

Built For The Future have been around since 2015, releasing two very well received, Sc-Fi themed, progressive albums, ‘Chasing Light’ (2015) and ‘Brave New World’ (2021). The albums are produced and performed by Patric Farrell, with vocals by Kenny Bissett.

Their new album, ‘2084: Heretic’, is a take on George Orwell’s 1984 dystopian future, as it parallels to our current times. 2084 is our future. As told through Orwell’s views and language. The album is said to be darker and heavier than anything the band have done before.

With Patric writing all of the music and Kenny providing vocals and melodies, the duo decided to return to the shorter song format and focusing on a more direct delivery and a heavier, alternative, sound.

What is immediately obvious is a very strong 90’s influence on the sound, Patric’s Fender Jazz bass really brings to mind that exciting Manchester vibe of the Happy Mondays and the like, add in Kenny’s Sci-fi intoned vocal delivery and the dominance of the Mellotron and you really get something unique and rather brilliant.

The urgent, driving nature of opener Memory Machines with Kenny’s at times strident and, at others, elegant guitar playing and the bang on tempo drumming and you could literally be in a world of machines. The bass and guitar riff at the start of The Thought Police has a real Inspiral Carpets note to it and the whole song has a cool, laid back vibe to it, I must admit I am really digging the drums on this album and the bass is ever so cool. Argot opens a little harder with an early Rush vibe to the riffing and some delicious, effects laden, guitar. Central to the concept of an Orwellian-like future that the band are trying to portray is Kenny’s unique vocal delivery. For some types of music, his voice wouldn’t really work but here he has found his home and that voice is perfect for the music.

The excellent songwriting continues with Proletariat, a dream like, thoughtful track that seems to mesmerise and mystify at the same time. Almost brooding in tone but with a chink of light just out of reach to signify hope, it’s a powerful piece of music. Supernatural has a edgy, risky feel to it from the get go, your joining something that doesn’t tow the line, you’re a rebel and you will fight for your freedom. Powerful guitars, moody keyboards and a dynamic rhythm section all combine on this musical thrill ride. That edgy feeling returns with Diaspora, a deliciously dark and heavy intro that brings to mind a dystopian underworld leads into Kenny’s powerful vocal and continues in the background. Then, from out of nowhere, comes a superb chorus that wouldn’t be amiss on a Tears For Fears album. It’s a track with a Jekyll and Hyde nature and one that makes an impressive statement.

Zeit sees Patric’s bass go all Peter Hook, it’s a modern day New Order song that just sounds so good. The way that Patric and Kenny get this brilliant sound with influences from all around and different decades is just incredible. The ebb and flow on this track lends it a feel of nostalgia and wistfulness and makes it one of the stand outs on the album. That nostalgia and longing continues into the mellotron heavy wonder of The Collective where Kenny’s voice is seeking solace and has a touch of remorse. A meaningful, profound song that leaves its mark. Title track Heretic is another driving piece of music that has the 90’s written all over it and I think it work so well with this concept, the guitar and bass are superb and exude energy and intensity. Things come to a close with the epic 101, based on Room 101 from the original Orwell novel. Ten minutes of profound wonder that hypnotises and draws you in to its embrace to leave a mantra running through your mind as the song comes to a close and the last note plays out. Like the best longer tracks, it always holds your attention. The lengthy, subdued and elegant, guitar section and the fractious, staccato piece play off each other perfectly to deliver a clever and inventive piece of music.

Built For The Future have returned with a highly accomplished piece of musical theatre, a concept album that promises a lot and delivers in every way. ‘2084: Heretic’ brings the band to another level entirely, their musicianship and songwriting is sublime and I am sure will just continue to get better and better. A highlight of the year for me!

Released 17th August, 2023

Buy from bandcamp here:

2084:Heretic | Built for the Future (

Nick Fletcher Interview with John Wenlock-Smith

I took the opportunity to talk with the ever affable, Huddersfield based, guitarist about his forthcoming new album release ‘Quadrivium’.

JWS: Good afternoon Nick, how are you doing?

NF: I’m doing very well thank you!

JWS: So let’s talk ‘Quadrivium’, What’s it all about Nick?

NF: Well the album which is fully instrumental with no vocals this time (due in part to be unable to locate vocalists who could sound right for the albums themes), it’s based upon Plato’s four noble arts, Mathematics, Astronomy, Geometry and Music. This album, ‘Quadrivium’, links three of those; Astronomy, Mathematics and Geometry, under the overall one of music, as the whole album is, in effect, music. It may be a lofty concept yet I feel it is a valid one.

JWS: It is definitely an interesting one and I found it interesting that drummer Anika Nilles hardly appears on the opening track and then her presence is strongly felt thereafter.

NF: Yes, that was a deliberate decision to ease her in gently, I think it works?

JWS: Yes, I agree, how did that tie up come about?

NF: It’s a long story so I’ll give you a shortened version of it, I was going the see Jeff Beck but the tour got cancelled because of the pandemic. It was rescheduled, which also got subsequently cancelled as well. When it was rescheduled once again, I couldn’t get a ticket, however, a friend of mine told me I’ve got tickets but we can’t go, do you want them for half price?

Well, I almost bit his hand off to get them, this was in May 2022 and when the band came onstage I was surprised to see that Vinnie Colaiuta was not amongst them, instead this young girl was on drums. I thought, what!? As I really like Vinnie as a drummer but, with the first songs, I could see why see was there (those first songs were Rumble and Isolation, the latter with Johnny Depp on guitar).

After the concert I looked her up online and got in touch to see if she would play on my next album. I heard nothing for a while and I thought she’s probably busy or not interested, so forgot about it. Then, out of the blue, I got an email saying “Hi Nick, sorry for the delay in replying but I was checking you out and, yes I would love to play on your album.”

I was gobsmacked I can say, so we talked and shared the music and Anika did her parts in Germany where she is based (in Berlin) and the results can be heard on the album. Anika has all the skills I was after, she can go from a whisper to a scream within the same track, she is a percussive powerhouse. I am very proud of the parts she played for this album, she is a phenomenal talent and I am proud to introduce her to the world on this album.

JWS: She is joined by some familiar names like Dave Bainbridge and Tim Harries, Along with your regular collaborator Caroline Bonnett who, along with being the producer, also provides keyboards.

NF: Yes, I’ve known Dave since we were both 19 and Caroline from my earlier career as a session musician for mainly Christian music artists like Dave Bilbrough and Martin Joseph, amongst others.

That Jeff Beck concert was fantastic, Jeff was a totally unique player with his own identifiable sound and style, he was a master of his art and it almost made me want to give up playing as he was so good!

JWS: I saw Jeff in Birmingham in 1982, his concert was like a guitar masterclass really, totally remarkable. He’s start a solo and something new would come out of it or that’s how it seemed to me. So, on to the new album then…

NF: Yes, well it begins with a track that is referenced in the last track of my previous album, ‘The Cloud Of Unknowing’ and the latter part of that album’s last track The Paradox Part 2, which is reprised on this album in the opening track, A Wave On The Ocean Of Eternity. In addition, The Fifth Parallel uses repeated harmonics within the track.

The album takes you on a journey through life to death, from the earth to the outskirts if the solar system. It is a journey best undertaken in a single setting so that various soundscapes can be fully heard and appreciated fully. You will find all of the styles I employ, fast, emotive, soft and heavy, although you won’t hear any whammy bar effects as I don’t use those, nor do I use any tapping techniques. I feel that this lick is a trademark of mine, it hopefully marks me as being different and yet still, hopefully, I remain interesting to listen to.

The album changes moods often within the same track and my collaborators have made this album a worthwhile listening experience.

JWS: I’d have to agree, it’s a wonderful release and one of the albums of the year, many thanks for talking to me and all the best.

NF: Thank you John, I much appreciate the comments, look after yourself.

‘Quadrivium’ was release don 15/9/23 and you can order direct from Nick’s website here:

ONLINE STORE | Nick Fletcher Guitar (

Review – Nick Fletcher – Quadrivium – by John Wenlock-Smith

‘Quadrivium’ is the latest solo release from Sheffield based, highly acclaimed guitarist, Nick Fletcher who, as anyone who has seen him can testify, is a very accomplished player who can not only shred with the best of them but is also a player of taste and style. So, it is with little wonder that even Steve Hackett regards him very highly, possibly sensing a kindred spirit and, finding in Nick, a musician who strives to be the best he can be, whatever the situation in which he is found.

Well this album is particularly fine, it is entirely instrumental and it is very fusion focused. Within its tracks you can find many references and nods to those gods of fusion, from Al Di Meola, Alan Holdsworth, Pat Metheny and, of course, Jeff Beck, to point out the obvious ones. There are also a whole slew of others that Nick has drawn upon in his style and playing and this is all put together perfectly into a melting pot with this album emerging as the result. This release is a musical journey that demands listening to as a whole, you need to clear fifty-five minutes in your schedule and settle down to enjoy this masterful slice of fusion pie. It is also an album that uses lots of atmosphere and nuances to punctuate is dreamy sound, in between the bluster there are gentle moments of almost serenity occurring, this gives the album an even pace and allows individual contribution to shine, like the excellent bass work of Tim Harries who is there at every turn, propelling or  pushing the bear along as needed. His sympathetic playing adds greatly to the overall dynamics and sound, he also provides a solid platform for Nick’s fiery guitar flights of expression and frees him to really soar,

This is fusion for today with nods to the past but generally forging ahead in new directions and pathways, it is extremely musically strong and focused. I doubt if you will hear another fusion album that burns this hot, it is almost incendiary such is the firepower contained within its grooves, this is blistering in its intensity and depth of vision. Now, if fusion doesn’t usually grab you then, don’t worry as this is more than just fusion, it has great rock sections as well and some truly jaw dropping guitar playing, enough to make you sit up and even to put away your own guitar in envy. The album has eleven tracks ranging from the very brief Ziggurat Of Dreams Parts One & Two to the longer tracks like Aphelion and The Journey To Varanasi, the songs changing in style, often within the same track.

Nick is aided by several of his good friends like Dave Bainbridge and the aforementioned Tim Harries, who provide excellent keyboard and bass support. On the drums Nick has enlisted Anika Nilles (who was previously in Jeff Beck’s last band and is also a drum teacher and has her own band as well). She is very much an up and coming fusion star in the making and adds strong syncopation and delicacy along with the powerhouse drive as required. Anika is like a young Billy Cobham in style at times, in short, she is a truly exceptional talent and really makes her mark here.

The album has a theme as Nick is very interested in philosophy and especially the works of the Greek masters, Plato, Aristotle and the like. This record is based on Plato’s four noble arts, these being mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy.  Well, the music relates to either mathematics, geometry or astronomy and the whole album is music, the fun is spotting which track relates to which! There  is a lot of fun to be had by doing that, so I won’t actually tell you and leave you to find out for yourself but look at the track titles for clues. The use of Google might be of use in this task, at least you will learn something new in the process.

I always feel that, for me personally, knowing and understanding the background to a music piece aids my enjoyment and enriches it significantly. Not for nothing is the maxim that knowledge is power quoted. However, don’t let the concepts behind the music stop you from listening to this extremely masterfully delivered release, instead let knowledge lead you onwards in your journey from the inner soul to the edges of the universe, life and beyond, onwards into eternity. A very entertaining and illuminating concept for certain but also a very worthy one for our modern age.

There are so many highlights on this album from the gentle introduction of A Wave On The Ocean Of Eternity that had me in mind of Beck’s The Final Peace, with its emotive guitar lines. The Indian styled The Journey To Varanasi has some very heavy guitar parts featured prominently, in all it is a very rewarding listen and does bear repeated listening thereafter as it has many depths to be uncovered as you absorb the music fully. I also appreciate that this album ends as it begins, delicately as the circle is completed.

This album is really rather a revelation in sound as it sounds absolutely gorgeous and is extremely well recorded and produced, with a full and clear production that allows room for everything to be clearly heard. There is excellent definition with good separation between the instruments, alongside which you have really great sympathetic and skilled performances from everyone that all combines to make this an astonishing musical accomplishment. Kudos must also be given to Nicks co-producer Caroline Bonnett who aids him in this crafting so diligently and adds some fine keyboard work too.

‘Quadrivium’ is an absolute stormer of an album, most impressive and very highly recommended and is my fusion album of the year so far. There is so much to discover, to embrace and to enjoy in this mighty fine stew.

Released 15th September, 2023.

Order the album from the artist’s website here:

ONLINE STORE | Nick Fletcher Guitar (

John Wenlock-Smith Interviews Steve Hackett

JWS: Good morning Steve, how are you?

SH: Morning John, yes I am good, thank you.

JWS: You’ve just come back from South America haven’t you?

SH: Yes, we’ve done three weeks over there and spent the last week back here recording. In fact, I’m putting the finishing touches to a new album this very day.

JWS: What is that going to be?

SHIt is a new rock album.

JWS: So any nice long tracks for me to enjoy on this?

SH: Well I am trying to link it all together so it’s a continuous journey. I was actually talking to Jo about that earlier, about how much space do we leave between things. There a short guitar instrumental that I think my mother will like, it’s only short but it has the trill of the guitar that makes it exciting, There was a guy I was playing with in South America called Luis Fernandes and his band Genetics, I’d call him a jazz rocker really, we were trading solos, it was a lot of fun.

I was playing with my Fernandes (guitar), I have two of them, one was Gary Moore’s but I think mine is actually sounding better than his at the moment. These things change as guitars sound different every day. It’s very strange how it changes from day to day and, you know, I can tell the difference. Others say it sounds like it normally does but I can tell when it’s responding differently, some times its the electricity but other times it something else but I can tell.

I’ve just had to get my Iron Man pedal refined, it had stopped working, so I’ve had it rebuilt. It’s actually more of a treble booster that gives you a bit of an edge to your sound and it’s all good now after failing in South America.

JWS: So I’ve heard the new ‘Foxtrot at 50’ live album, I have to say it sounds really good, very clear sounding with good clarity to the vocals too.

SH: Well that’s because we had it mixed by Chris ‘Lord-Alge’ to get that clarity of sound. I’ve not heard the Blu-Ray of the concert yet though, I’ve seen it but not heard it properly. That’s all up in Norfolk at the moment but I’m expecting it to sound equally as good though.

JWS: We saw that tour in Buxton at the Opera House and we thoroughly enjoyed it, especially as it is such a great little venue, very old and very intimate.

SH: Yes that is a great venue, as is Holmfirth in Yorkshire, where they filmed ‘Last Of The  Summer Wine’. That is similar to Buxton, plus Buxton is easy for my brother John to join us as he lives in Sheffield.

JWS: I think John was with you when we saw you.

SH: Possibly, I am very pleased for how things are working out so well for him at the moment, his band, The John Hackett Band, are getting more recognition and getting good reviews, he deserves it and they are an excellent band musically too.

JWS: Actually my wife and I got married in part because of you.

SH: Really, why’s that?

JWS: When we first met we were talking and she asked what I did in my free time and I said I write music reviews and do interviews. Then I told her that I had spoken to you and she said the exact words my brother had said, “Steve Hackett from Genesis rang you!”

Then, when you did the first Genesis Revisited 2 shows in Manchester, we came along and she was overwhelmed by it all. She was very emotional, especially for Firth of Fifth, and the guitar solo reduced her to tears of happiness and joy, it was such an emotional time for her, she really enjoyed it so much.

SH: See, my mother says that I think the guitar solo does that to her, it seems to get to people, it’s a lovely melody to play as it sounds a little bit like Erik Satie. Of course, Tony Banks wrote it on piano and it has a kind of eastern melody a million miles away from what it sounds like on the guitar. It’s almost like an adagio where the guitar functions like a voice, it takes me back to my Quiet World days.

That solo seems to do things to people so a german, two French people an English guitarist and an English man came up with the whole thing. When I play that solo I feel quite secure in knowing that it’s a really good piece of music. With a nod to Bach and Erik Satie and even Ravel in the piano solo!

JWS: Anyway Steve, I think my time has gone so I’ll say thank you for your time, we’ll speak again soon I hope, keep well.

SH: Yes thanks John, you too, au-revoir for now.

Review – Steve Hackett Foxtrot At Fifty + Hackett Highlights: Live in Brighton

2022 Saw Steve Hackett fully re-emerging from the spectre of frustration over a few difficult years thanks to the pesky worldwide pandemic that affected much of the wield and disrupted how we lived and interacted with each other. It was, indeed, a turbulent, nay difficult, time for many, which saw lots of planned activities being thwarted.

So what did Steve do? he decided to mark the 50th anniversary of this ground-breaking album by touring it with his band, first playing a set of his solo material and then, in the second half, playing ‘Foxtrot’ in full and in sequence, along with a few other select tracks to round it out to a full two hour show. I have to say this set certainly makes an impression, you may ask why do we need another meander through the Genesis archives or do we actually want or need one? Well, on the evidence of this fine live document the answer is a resounding yes! We do both want and need this documented in such style.

On this album you will find Steve and his band are on top form and really making their mark with the sublime music and enthralling the added demographic audience of Brighton in the process. Okay, there is nothing new here, recent but not actually new, but still this is so beautifully recorded and wonderful sounding that it brings fresh insight and the realisation of the sheer quality of the material being performed. Steve especially is on very fine form here making his guitar sound sumptuous and masterful at the same time. His tone on Spectral Mornings alone puts many other players to shame, such is the clarity of the album. It is truly exceptional in sound, crystal clear with great separation between the instruments and clear vocals and harmonies bring heard, it’s almost like the band are in your front room, so good is the sound.

Standouts of the first set for me are The Devil’s Cathedral with it’s dark tones, hint of menace and some suitably gothic touches in the tale of an ambitious theatrical understudy who takes thing into his own hands to achieve success, a lively spirited take on Spectral Mornings and an urgent Every Day. Along with this are an effect laden A Tower Struck Down with all sorts of creaking noises occurring This has a swagger and muscular thrust to it missing from other live versions, it really crackles with energy and menace and it really sounds excellent and extremely well performed. There is also, of all things, a bass solo, thankfully this doesn’t overstay its welcome unduly and, in addition, it does reveal Jonas Reingold to be an inventive player, his addition of a well known riff will make you smile.

Camino Royal comes over very well, this song with it roots in New Orleans music and benefits greatly from the jazzy interludes of Rob Townsend’s woodwinds before a blistering guitar solo from Steve takes the track forward, a wonderful piece that most definitely impresses greatly. Then we have the final part of the short set of Steve’s own material with a shortened section of Shadow Of The Hierophant that features Amanda Lehmann on vocals. This is only a truncated version though, not the  full length one. However, even so, it is still great to hear this in any form as it is such a graceful number. The clever use of dynamics really makes this a memorable version of this slow burn of a song, it builds in its intensity very well indeed, all reaching towards its heady conclusion. Then oddly, on the CD, we have the evening’s final two songs Firth of Fifth and Los Endos.

Firth of Fifth needs little introduction really but here we receive another fine rendering of this all time classic song. Once again, the vocals are clearer than on many other versions, all of which lends a fresh appreciation for this majestic track and, as always, the manner in which it builds up to that guitar solo, possibly the most famous one in the whole Genesis canon, when it arrives you are rewarded not only by the solo but also the busy bass that underpins it so eloquently and adds to it impressiveness. This in itself is a new revelation to the jaded listener, another impressive take on a classic song, utterly sublime. We have the short but very impressive drum solo from Craig Blundell that leads into Los Endos which is faithfully reproduced here, with lots of input from Rob Townsend.

The second disc contains the rest of the ‘Foxtrot’ album in sequence and begins with the excellent and stylish power of Watcher Of The Skies with it’s menacing mellotrons that create an atmosphere of impending doom most convincingly and more than adequately. Nad Sylvan has been on top form throughout these sets and he really comes to prominence here delivering a near perfect vocal performance. At times a lesser known and certainly less celebrated track but here it is well covered and the eloquent bass from Jonas Reingold raises its profile dramatically in a really delicate and moving rendition. Next we have the ever relevant political comment of Get ‘Em out by Friday, about unscrupulous landlords evictions of undesirables (in this instance, refugees). Well, fifty years after it was written, nothing has changed, landlords are still doing the same things to gentrify and basically make even more money.

Can Utility and the Coatliners follows and this almost pantomime track is lively enough but I don’t really get it, somehow its meaning is hidden from me. The brief solo classical guitar piece Horizons is the forerunner to the album epic, and much loved, Supper’s Ready, which here receives a very warm welcome and we are treated to a wonderful version of this astonishing track with all its parts performed to the always high standards that Steve expects. This is a masterfully delivered take on the classic and brings this album and concert to a close.

The Blu-Ray is equally as fine and has a 30 behind the scenes sections which are well worth seeing. Overall this set is excellent and the Blu-Ray makes it even more worth the money. It is another fine milestone in Steve’s career and, with new music well underway, watch this space.

Released 15th September, 2023.

Order direct from the artist here:

Steve Hackett | Steve Hackett (