With 15 tracks covering over 15 years of Steve Hackett's solo career, The Unauthorised Biography makes more a splendid cross-section of his guitar bravura. Hackett's solo repertoire ranges from delicate, romantic pieces to full-blown progressive rock extravagance, taking the heaviest cuts from albums such as Voyage of the Acolyte, Defector, and Spectral Mornings to name a few. His progressive tendencies are represented best by the glimmering "Ace of Wands" and the haunting but curious guitar currents of "The Air Conditioned Nightmare." The cleverly titled "Hackett to Pieces" is the album's best rock piece, while his refined style of play can be heard on tracks like "Hoping Love Will Last," with Randy Crawford on vocals, and on "Hammer in the Sand" with its European ambience. "Icarus Ascending" has Richie Havens helping out on vocals, with Chester Thompson behind the kit, while Phil Collins sings and plays drums on the dazzling "Star of Sirius." Steve Hackett's adroitness at creating movements to invoke mood and atmosphere in an instance are brought to the surface throughout The Unauthorised Biography, but best of all, this set outlines his expertise as a guitarist away from his Genesis years.
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AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne