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


Steven Wilson


Crossover Prog

4.30 | 1868 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars It would seem that Steven Wilson divides progressive rock music critics. Some consider him derivative, while others approve of his contemporary reflections of the genre. The current Progarchives ratings illustrate this dichotomy very well. One moment his most recent album is on the verge of making the top ten albums of all time, the next it is discarded to the low thirties (not that this is a lowly achievement). Two or three negative opinions impact on an otherwise growing trend to consider the album one of the best of all time.

"The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)" is one of the best things, if not the best thing, that Steven Wilson has ever done.

Progressive rock needs its torch bearers, and apart from recent reprises by Van der Graaf Generator, King Crimson, Rush and Jethro Tull (Ian Anderson) there are arguably few that bring the triumphs of the past into the present. The arrival of the Punk movement all but destroyed Progressive music. Take a look at the top 30 prog albums of all time on this website and almost all come from that earlier time. Arise Steven Wilson ? a child of the 80's who found his love of 70's prog (coupled with Donna Summer!) to be the founding influence on his musical journey into the present.

His music may sound like some of the greats from earlier times. Why wouldn't it? Re-mixing albums from the masters and rekindling Floydian soundscapes in his earlier works will always have people believe that. However, his music remains contemporary ? it is firmly grounded in the present and provides his perspective and talents on what music should sound like ? whether that music be progressive, jazz, fusion, drone, heavy or not. Parts may seem borrowed, but they are his compositions and his playing and his interpretations of previous influences with his ideas of the current. Any new band is always compared with those that have gone before. That is not a bad thing ? but new music should always be considered in its own right.

Alan Parsons and Wilson have ensured that the analogue, band-driven approach has produced a warm sound that blends the harsher elements of heavy guitar and thumping bass with the subtler melodies on jazz piano and flute. It would be a harsh critic that could listen to the final results in surround sound and not appreciate the amazing separation and clarity of instruments that it brings.

Wilson's studio band (almost the same as his previous touring band), are consummate professionals and masters of their craft. Ironically, allowing them to construct some of the more melodious parts of the album ensures that this album is more cohesive and accessible than his earlier works. Some describe "The Raven" as boring and without passion. This is in stark contrast to the many reviewers of the title track on Youtube that admitted to being heavily affected by music that is beautiful and sad at the same time. Holzman's piano with Wilson's writing on the track brings a rare combination of melancholy and grace. Govan's solo effort that concludes Drive Home is sublime ? and as others have noted it ranks up there with Comfortably Numb.

Derivative? Perhaps. Reflective and inspired by the greats of progressive rock? Yes!

Get the album and be your own judge. Maybe like many here you will consider it a masterpiece and rank it accordingly. This album deserves to be firmly placed in the top twenty of all time.

DBJ2020 | 5/5 |


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