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Steven Wilson - Insurgentes CD (album) cover


Steven Wilson


Crossover Prog

3.81 | 978 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Steven Wilson's 'Insurgentes' is a very dark, downbeat album with a black cloud of pessimism circling around it. It gets very bleak after a rather beautiful opening track 'Harmony Korine'. It is a blinding opener played in 8/4 and with Porcupine Tree nuances, and then the lights go out on 'Abandoner' that is so dark it is veritably chilling. The distorted sonic drones that emanate are disturbing but hold the interest. 'Salvaging' is a lengthy entrancing slow piece with Wilson chipping in on vocals with a downbeat monotone voice. The synth strings are very ethereal and take on a serene quality like music from a dramatic movie. There is a rather eerie passage of drones and effects at the end; perhaps as creepy as Wilson gets.

Following all this bleak atmosphere is 'Veneno Para Las Hadas', opening with a very slow vocal over patient spacey keys and a pulsating beat that pumps along and maintains a degree of tension. The incomparable Jordan Rudess is guest keyboardist on this along with 'No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun', a song with a King Crimsonish title and overall feel, that opens with Mike Outram's sporadic guitar bursts and an odd drum beat, perhaps a more progressive vibe than previous tracks. The fractured melody sounds like a King Crimson meets Porcupine Tree track. The proggish time sig is wonderful and it has a very long intro riff with Frippian squeaky guitars until it all cuts abruptly and Wilson whispers some reflective words. It builds to a louder chorus utilising the same shattered time sig. this may be the highlight of the album along with the opening track. It ends with backwards effects and then a shock of distorted riffs that begin unexpectedly until it all breaks down like a viny record slowing down to stop; a great track.

'Significant Other' has a softer feel with nice guitar reverb and Wilson in his melodic gentle mood. This has excellent guitar phrases and has an uplifting vibe, though with an edge of gloom on those descending chords. It ends with experimental music box chimes. 'Only Child' has a more pop feel with a 4/4 beat, and solid melody with lyrics musing on Kurt Cobain, though Wilson's vocals are subdued like Thom Yorke. 'Twilight Coda' is an acoustic and keyboard instrumental with a bleak outlook.

'Get All You Deserve' is 6 minutes of thoughtful songwritinng; the sparse piano and high register vocals create an atmosphere of isolation and depression. When the reverberating guitar chimes in the sound is augmented with a sense of dread or impending doom and it feels like Nine Inch Nails entered the studio and took over. The album ends on 'Insurgentes' that meanders along with slow vocals and an urgent piano.

Overall this is way bleaker than anything I have heard from Wilson, even more so than 'Grace For Drowning'. While that release worked on a number of levels and provided a diversity that became a masterpiece to my ears, 'Insurgentes' plods along and has a depressing or strange oppressive effect. I was surprised at how disturbing parts of this is, in fact it tends to have an oppressive air of gloominess that pervades throughout. I prefer other Wilson projects but I am still in awe at the way he creates intense atmospheres and a wall of sound that builds from sparse arrangements. Not recommended for everyone, this is nevertheless a work of considerable passion with a penetrating air of estrangement.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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