Often called the lost Genesis album, Steve Hackett made this while he was feeling pushed aside from the songwriting within the band. It's a listenable, melodic affair, dominated by lyrical instrumentals. These romantic pieces, like "Hands of the Priestess", are coloured by gentle woodwinds and webs of acoustic guitar, and filled out by Mellotron to give that distinctive Genesis sound. Phil Collins even lends a vocal to the ethereal mush of "Star of Sirius".
It's not all pastoral tinkling, and there are a couple of energetic perpetual-motion instrumentals like "Ace of Wands" and "A Tower Struck Down" to liven things up. The album is concluded by the grandiose "Shadow of the Hierophant", which starts with a typical symphonic Mellotron sound followed by a floaty operatic vocal by Sally Oldfield. The long final crescendo seems to be enhanced by gradually turning up the volume in the mixer, instead of just playing the instruments louder or filling out the sound. It's a strange idea, and doesn't quite work, although the tune is rather bloated anyway.
Not as memorable as Genesis's best stuff, but still recommended for early Genesis fans and anyone who likes melodic prog in general.
May 3, 2004