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Steven Wilson - Grace For Drowning CD (album) cover


Steven Wilson


Crossover Prog

4.21 | 1653 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars It almost seems silly calling this Steven Wilson's second solo album when he has solo projects like BASS COMMUNION and I.E.M.. Of course each project is different from the other, including this one under his own name. Steven has been quoted as saying that when he made "Insurgents" he was listening to a lot of 80's music such as JOY DIVISION and THE CURE and he felt that that style came out on the finished product. On "Grace For Drowning" Steven has been no doubt influenced by his re-mixing of such KING CRIMSON classics such as "Lizard" and "Islands" and that Jazzy flavour has come through here. In fact when he tours his band will feature a lot of Jazz musicians. I have my ticket for the Toronto show tucked away. I read an interview with Steven where he said he's kind of bored with making heavier music through guitars.There's very little of that on here, instead he gets that heavy flavour through horns, woodwinds, orchestration, keys etc. He talked about how ART ZOYD, UNIVERS ZERO and early KING CRIMSON achieved heaviness in this manner as well. This is a dark album, and it is a Rock album, but it's played for the most part by Jazz musicians.

"Grace For Drowning" is mellow with sparse piano and vocal melodies. A short intro track. "Sectarian" features strummed guitar which gives way to drums and electric guitar. It kicks in rather heavily after a minute.The heaviness is incredible a minute later as mellotron comes and goes.The mellotron certainly gives this tune and others a seventies vibe. A calm after 3 minutes then the keyboards echo as drums continue. It kicks back in heavily after 6 minutes as the mellotron again comes and goes. A calm with horns ends it. "Deform To Form A Star" opens with laid back piano as the vocals arrive for the first time on the album. A relaxed sound here. It's fuller with mellotron and vocals 2 1/2 minutes in. An instrumental break with guitar leads after 3 minutes.Vocals are back before 4 minutes. Again it's fuller on the chorus as themes are repeated. "No Part Of Me" has these intricate and fast paced sounds.Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes. Some heavy guitar before 3 1/2 minutes then the drums get louder. It settles after 5 1/2 minutes to end it. "Postcard" opens with piano as reserved vocals join in. It gets fuller at times then settles back each time. I like the line "All that matters disappeared when I lost you". "Raider Prelude" is a short ominous piece with mellotron-like sounds. "Remainder The Black Dog" ends disc one and this one has Steve Hackett playing some guitar.The dark mood continues as processed, reserved vocals come in. Drums follow then the guitar makes some noise followed by dissonant sax. It kicks in around 4 1/2 minutes but not for long. It kicks in again after 6 minutes then settles again. It's quite psychedelic after 8 minutes with drums, flute and sax standing out.

Disc two begins with "Belle De Jour" a mellow but beautiful instrumental. "Index" was inspired by the John Fowles book called "The Collector".This is dark with drums and reserved vocals. It kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes then settles back as contrasts continue.Some strings too as samples end it.

"Track One" opens with reserved vocals and gentle guitar. It becomes fuller reminding me of THE BEATLES. It turns heavy before 1 1/2 minutes then settles late. "Raider II" is a 23 1/2 minute monster. It's minimalistic early on as almost spoken words come in. It kicks in hard before 3 minutes with mellotron.Vocals follow. Creepy lyrics here. Love the flute before 4 1/2 minutes. It kicks in again then we get an uptempo section after 8 minutes where they rip it up.The contrasts continue. I really like the dissonant sax after 19 minutes as they kick ass. It's insane before 20 1/2 minutes. It ends in a haunting manner. "Like Dust I Have Cleared from My Eye" ends the album with reserved vocals and guitar but it does get fuller with organ and drums. A calm 4 1/2 minutes in then it becomes spacey.

I don't think i've seen a modern album praised as much as this one has been. It's almost universal and yet it's taken me a long time to appreciate. I put it away for a couple of weeks after this review and here I am back in early November to bump it up to 5 stars. My first listen after those two weeks was the most emotional one I had with it. My appreciation continues to grow as I continue to not want to put it away. Brilliant is the word for this recording and it could go down as one of the all time greats along with those legendary seventies classics. We'll see. I still prefer "Insurgents" though.

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |


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