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Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) CD (album) cover


Steven Wilson


Crossover Prog

4.30 | 1858 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

2 stars I guess I'll have to be the one to say it?

For me, reviewing album's I don't like has always been an absolute uphill struggle. It very hard for me to review album's as it is, mostly because I feel I need to know them back to front before I can review them. What I'm trying to say is that I usually quite like the albums I review.

Sometimes though I feel I need to write a review for an album I don't like in order to expose more light on albums which I bought and didn't enjoy them much, so that people who do consider buying an album can at least hear the naysayers. I belong to the naysayer camp. "The Raven That Refused to Sing" is a not a bad album but one that puts me in such a state of apathy and boredom I have almost come to hate it (saucyyyyy).

So yes, I have never been a fan of Steven Wilson, or Porcupine Tree, or Blackfield, or anything he has made other than half of "Fear of a Blank Planet" and his beautiful cover of Cardiacs's "Stoneage Dinosaurs". I feel that his work is many times solid, but almost never remotely interesting, or refreshing and unique enough for me to actually give it more than two listens. I was tempted to buy the album, for pretty much one dumb reason alone. The album cover is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. If it wasn't such a mediocre album I would've probably stared at it all day. That gothic-y :O face gives me the creeps and can bring up many thoughts.

The album itself, as you probably understand, isn't worth the purchase though. It starts very positively with the awesome intro to "Luminol"- the intro is a ridiculously tight and groovy bass and drum thing and it's pretty sick. It's when the synth comes in which I was starting to re-evaluate my thoughts, but still had hope. It was when the quiet section came and then the mellotrons and Fripp sounding guitars started was when I started burning my own house. OK those parts are alright but then a really average and not really needed guitar solo comes in and kind of spoils the song for me. Things don't get much better with "Drive Home". It is an alright ballad with some pretty keyboards but the production on Wilson's voice is overbearing and not really needed in my opinion. On the other hand, "The Holy Drinker" opens with a pretty awesome fusion King Crimson style jam that's alright, but the hard rock verses are terrible, but are salvaged by their beautiful second part where the aural keyboards add a really nice touch. The jams are a deal breaker for me. I generally don't like solos, maybe because I'm a bassist and pay close attention to the rhythm section and feel that if they're just there to support some other guy's noodling I stop paying attention. "The Pin Drop" in my opinion the worst song on the album. The melodies don't really do anything for me, and the lyrics are awful ("It was not meant to be like this/ Drifting off without a kiss"?????.).

Luckily "The Watchmaker" has some very strong instrumental parts with great drum fills that make the song very enjoyable, though it is too long. The final ballad "The Raven That Refused to Sing" is actually a very touching song. With powerful lyrics and a strong harmony, I can enjoy it as a good ballad. On the other hand, it is plagued like most of the album with pretty hallow production- something I didn't expect from Wilson. The piano is really weak and lacked I certain oomph I would've wanted.

Well, as you can see, this is review doesn't much beyond skin deep. It is because I feel it impossible to dig beneath this albums fairly shallow surface, my apathy constantly pushing me away. Wilson continues to be irrelevant while being undeniably a very able musician and producer. He has not reached out of his or anyone's comfort zone instead creating a horrifically solid old-school progressive rock album. It isn't nearly enough for it to be worthwhile.

I do hope that one day Wilson will take his very much existent talents to new and interesting places because I think he has the ability to create some truly mind-bending music. Currently though, he's pretty comfortable making albums prog-heads will bob their heads too.

P.S.: Enough with the goddamn flutes already, I've had more than enough of them.

frippism | 2/5 |


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