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Steven Wilson - Insurgentes CD (album) cover

INSURGENTES

Steven Wilson

 

Crossover Prog

3.83 | 644 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars A collection of characteristically dark/light contrasts and moody songs from SW, familiar ground for fans of his various works, but nonetheless achieving a high level of quality and identity in its own right thanks to expert composition, atmosphere, and production. This isn't just another Porcupine Tree album, and it is certainly too menacing to be No-Man or Blackfield release-- it's an excellent blend of everything great that goes into all of them.

Overall, Insurgentes has a very ephemeral sound, one which drifts through soundscapes that can become intensely heavy, dark, and powerful and others soft and delicate. These transitions abound throughout all of the songs. While this is pretty much the trademark Wilson sound, he achieves here a greater degree of intensity and mood than those found on most of his other projects. Fear of a Blank Planet for example, is undermined by its lyrical content and obligatory metal chugging, which often did little to service the song-- there's none of that here. Transitions are organic and take their time to build, such as the menacing Get All You Deserve, which starts with gentle vocals and piano and crescendos to truly violent intensity.

Wilson's heavy guitar is aggressive and highly ambitious, with lots of manic shredding and distortion effects (think his updated soloing on Hate Song). No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun is the best example of that here, which is a noisy and threatening bit of avant-garde unlike anything he's done in PT for a long time. There are few memorable melodies, and no fist-pumping guitar solos. Guest musicians add a great touch as well.

Ambient sections are more prevalent, and quite good, and maintain the album's dark energy without disappearing into the background. This is either good or bad, depending on where you're coming from; fans of SW's No-Man work will probably find this album way more intense and creepy than they'd expect. I enjoy both, but feel like Insurgencies has more going on within its tapestry of dark sounds. SW's vocals are clean but subtle-- no sing-alongs or hooks. His voice complements the composition, and never really stands out or steals the listener's attention.

Talking about the album any more belabors the point, given Porcupine Tree's popularity; many fans of FOABP already have their copy of this album. But, I encourage fans who gave up on Wilson after PT went more mainstream to give this one a try-- it is more thoughtful and subtle than Deadwing of FOAPB, and hearkens back to Wilson's earlier work. There's even a reprise of Sky Moves Sideways tucked away in Veneno Para Las Hadas.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Prog Leviathan | 4/5 |

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