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Steven Wilson - Insurgentes CD (album) cover


Steven Wilson


Crossover Prog

3.83 | 853 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Steven Wilson: Insurgentes [2008]

Rating: 6/10

Insurgentes is the debut solo album from British musician Steven Wilson. This man needs little introduction; as the frontman and primary songwriter behind the highly successful Porcupine Tree (as well as several diverse side projects), Wilson has cemented himself as a titan of modern progressive-rock. Although Wilson's music has not had the same sort of impact on me that some of his peers' work has, I have always had an immense respect for his ability to amalgamate various styles into a distinctive and unique sound. Insurgentes shows him separating these individual components into distinct compositions. As a result, this album sounds like some sort of Steven Wilson sampler; metal, ambient, electronica, alt-rock, and psychedelic-rock all make stylistic appearances here. I suppose that this is a logical approach to a debut solo album, but the final product ends up sounding disjointed and, to be frank, rather boring. There are some superb songs here, but the album as a whole is bogged down in a dull sense of flaccid melancholy.

The opener "Harmony Korine" sounds like a Porcupine Tree track, with memorable guitar riffs, catchy vocal lines, and a melancholic atmosphere. "Abandoner" ventures away from this sound, with an electronic beat and subtle acoustic guitar twanging. This is the side of Steven Wilson that I like the least; it sounds tired and uninspired to me. "Salvaging" is a major highlight of the album. This track combines ambient music with an insanely catchy chugging metal riff to create an interesting and memorable piece. "Veneno Para Las Hadas" is an atmospheric piece of slow-paced melancholia. Wilson certainly isn't a stranger to such things, so this track sounds a bit rehashed. The subtle reeds in the background are great, though. "No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun" is another highlight. There's a surprising Mars Volta influence here, particularly in the guitar playing. The heaviness is executed perfectly, the vocals sound spot-on, and the piano work is fantastic. "Significant Other" follows the same formula of many other Wilson pieces: stark juxtaposition of heaviness and ambience with sad vocals. It's not particularly interesting. "Only Child" is another fairly dull piece, with uncreative riffing and standard vocal work. "Twilight Coda" is an atmospheric instrumental that would have worked better on a film soundtrack. "Get All You Deserve" is the album's low point. This track is a pitifully boring piece of plodding manufactured sadness. The title track ends the album with some nice atmosphere, but it still sounds rather dull and repetitious.

Even though Insurgentes is a fairly diverse album, it still sounds oddly homogenous. The aesthetics and atmosphere of each song are nearly identical, and it grows rather tiresome. There are a few fantastic tracks that make it impossible for me to label this album as anything less than good. However, I cannot deny the immense boredom that many of these tracks invoke within me. Wilson does manage to illustrate some of the reasons why he is so highly regarded, and hardcore fans will probably eat up this album. Moderate fans like me should tread more lightly, however. Personally, the music displayed on Insurgentes represents some of my least favorite elements of Wilson's multifaceted musical personality.

Anthony H. | 3/5 |


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