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

THE RAVEN THAT REFUSED TO SING (AND OTHER STORIES)

Steven Wilson

 

Crossover Prog

4.31 | 1110 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ThumpinBass
5 stars The Golden Age of Steven Wilson?

I don't know how Wilson does it, but he has crafted an album that might even be better than the 2011 masterpiece, Grace for Drowning. While arguably Grace for Drowning had a few tracks that were unnecessarily elongated, all of the songs here on The Raven feel just the right length - they don't overstay their welcome (such as Raider II in Grace for Drowning).

The album wastes no time getting its listener's attention in the opening track, Luminol. It somewhat reminds me of Sound Chaser from Relayer in the way the opening is presented. Nick Beggs' bass playing is a true highlight for me (obviously, look at my username for crying out loud). The use and application of the flute and sax by Theo Travis is pure brilliance.

Drive Home could be the equivalent to I Talk to the Wind by King Crimson. The storm you heard in Luminol slows down, and what you get here in Drive Home is a beautfiul, fairly simple song with very warm, strong melodies, as well as songwriting. I agree with others' posts stating that this song would've fit in very well with Blackfield, if it were not for the jam session that goes on during the final three or so minutes.

The Holy Drinker took some time for me to appreciate. The first time I heard it, the only word that came to mind was bombast. The opening is a tidal wave of virtuostic playing which constantly comes back to a main driving chord. This is one of those songs that just gets better and better for me with every listen. There is so much going on in the song the first time you hear it though, that it can be a bit overwhelming. Take your time with this one.

The Pin Drop opens with Wilson singing in a way that I've never heard from him sing before. Is it just me, or is Wilson getting more confident lately and trying new things (his singing style in this song, doing death metal style growls in Raider II, and wow, have you seen him on stage lately? Some of his animations in the Get All You Deserve DVD are hilarious)? Some of these ideas work for me, and others do not. His singing here most definitely does. Apart from that, this farily short song has some very catchy lyrics and riffs that get stuck in your head very easily.

I would consider The Watchmaker to be the "prog epic" of this album. The song opens with some beautiful, somewhat enchanting guitar work that makes me think a little of And You and I by Yes. After several minutes of captivating melancholic playing and singing, the song starts to add more layers. One thing about Wilson that I have noticed (but by no means am putting him down for) is his use of humming. I knew somewhere in this album we would get a section of "la da da da das", which there are in this song for several minutes, and is very moving the way it is incorporated with the context of the music. Finally, the ending comes to a dazzling crescendo that was perfectly built up towards. Very gratifying.

The final song, The Raven That Refused to Sing, was the song I had been waiting for. I had heard so many great things about this song on progarchives, as well as other reviewing sites. Even Steven Wilson himself in an interview said he thinks this song is one of the greatest songs he'd ever written.

I completely agree with him.

It is very hard for me to write in words what this song means to me. It is warm, tender, gorgeous, and very, very, emotional. The use of symbolism of the raven by Wilson is a perfect fit for the subject matter of the song. If you are going to shed a tear while listening to this album, this will probably be the song where it will happen. It is one of the strongest, if not, strongest closer to an album I've ever heard.

Steven Wilson is without a doubt creating some of his strongest work of his career right now, and I feel fortunate to be living during this time to experience it. I have no disbelief that, especially after this release, Wilson will be regarded as one of the greatest prog artists to ever live. Perhaps in ten or twenty years he will even be often mentioned right alongside legends such as Yes, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Genesis, and Jethro Tull. Is this as good as it gets? Possibly.

Truly a masterpiece of progressive rock music - 10/10

ThumpinBass | 5/5 |

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