Genesis Revisited II (InsideOut Music, 2012)
The music of progressive rock-era Genesis (meaning up to the album And Then There Were Three) has been celebrated with various tribute albums that were very uneven, featuring high quality material as well as awful renditions. The double set Genesis Revisited II is a whole different concept. To begin with, it’s an album by guitarist Steve Hackett. He was a member of Genesis during most of the band’s progressive rock era stage (the other guitarist was Anthony Phillips). This means that the music of Genesis is treated with the respect it deserves.
Steve Hackett is not only a superb guitarist, but also a notable composer. He contributed to some of Genesis’ most memorable material. For Genesis Revisited II, Hackett selected some of the finest cuts from various Genesis albums as well as material from his first solo album Voyage of the Acolyte, which sounded just like a Genesis album and even featured Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford.
The voice of Peter Gabriel is one of the most revered and imitated in the progressive rock world. Instead of choosing Peter Gabriel sound-alikes, Hackett invited several well-known vocalists from various progressive rock bands, and other genres, who bring new perspectives to favorite classics. These include Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), John Wetton (King Crimson, UK), Simon Collins (Phil Collins’ son), Amanda Lehmann (Steve Hackett Band), Conrad Keely (…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead), Francis Dunnery (It Bites), Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard), Nad Sylvan (Agents of Mercy, Unifaun) and Nik Kershaw, and Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth).
Although many of us have listened to the original Genesis versions featuring Peter Gabriel on vocals, the new renditions are fairly remarkable in most cases. A few times I had to listen to the pieces several times before my ears and mind adjusted to a whole different vocal style and tone. After that, the double becomes pure listening pleasure.
The music, of course, will sound familiar. Hackett has varied it lightly with new exciting arrangements that showcase his talent as a guitarist on various types of guitars and guitar techniques.
On the instrumentalist side, Steve Hackett is joined by many of his regular collaborators as well as new musical friends. The impressive list includes Roger King on keyboards; Amanda Lehmann on guitar, Christine Townsend on violin, viola; Dave Kerzner on keyboards; Dick Driver on double bass; Francis Dunnery on guitar; Gary O’Toole on drums, percussion; John Hackett on flute; John Wetton on bass, guitar; Phil Mulford on bass; Rachel Ford on cello; Roine Stolt on guitar; Steve Rothery on guitar; Nick Magnus on keyboards; Neal Morse on keyboards; Jeremy Stacey on drums; Nick Beggs on bass, Chapman stick; Steven Wilson on guitar; Rob Townsend on saxophone, flute; Jakko Jakszyk on guitar; Simon Collins on keyboard; and Lee Pomeroy on bass, Chapman stick; and all members of Hungarian band Djabe.
Genesis Revisited II is an extraordinary recreation of the best music by Genesis, one of the most esteemed progressive rock acts of all times. Steve Hackett delivers and outstanding performance and leads an ensemble that features some of the finest progressive rock vocalists and instrumentalists from various generations. For certain, one of the best releases of the year.
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