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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 | 1114 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

zeqexes
5 stars I didn't know how Steven Wilson could ever top Grace for Drowning, but he seems to have done it here on his 3rd solo album The Raven That Refused to Sing. A 55 minute affair, this album has 6 tracks, 3 of them over 10 minutes.

This time around Wilson has gotten together a band of some remarkable musicians (Guthrie Govan and Marco Minnemann included), and recorded the entire album with them (unlike Insurgentes and Grace for Drowning). They're all extremely talented and each of their playing is astounding on this album.

The album is based around stories of the supernatural. Wilson was influenced by writers such as Edgar Allen Poe while writing the lyrics for this album.

Luminol opens the album with a bang, with a funky bass line and interesting drums. There are flute and guitar solos, and it's overall just a magnificent prog extravaganza. Each band member gets their moment to shine. The lyrics concern an old busker who suddenly dies, but then continues busking, even in his death.

Drive Home is the TRTRTS equivalent of a Grace for Drowning song like Deform to Form A Star or Postcard. It has a very beautiful verse melody, a trend continued in the chorus, and throughout the whole song. The strings add a nice touch to the song, and the phenomenal guitar solo tops it off. The lyrics concern a man who is trying to understand and get past his wife's death, who died in a car crash.

The Holy Drinker's lyrics are about a hypocritical man who claims to be righteous and holy, but is an alcoholic. He challenges the devil to a drinking game, and of course loses. The music is very representative of the themes in the lyrics, especially at the end of the song. The track is over 10 minutes long, and like Luminol, is fantastic, jazzy but still aggressive prog piece which will go down as one of Wilson's best songs (which is saying something).

The Pin Drop is the shortest track on the album, at just over 5 minutes, but packs a punch. It's an amazing piece, with a stunning soprano saxophone solo, lush vocals and guitars, and a nice feel to it overall. The lyrics concern the idea that the sound of a pin dropping can instigate people to unleash the fury that they have, in this case, between a husband and his wife.

The Watchmaker opens with a very Genesis feel to it (think the beginning of Supper's Ready), with beautiful acoustic guitars and singing. The song continues in a very proggy fashion, and ends phenomenally. This song has quite a 70s feel to it, at least until the end section. The music goes nicely with the lyrics about a watchmaker who kills his wife after 50 years of being together. But, of course, they've been together for 50 years, why would she leave now? She ends up pulling the watchmaker to his death too.

The Raven That Refused To Sing is arguably Wilson's best song. Yes, you read that correctly. It's outstanding, even on this astounding album, as a masterpiece of a track. It's an emotional rollercoaster if you can connect to the lyrics, which are art even on their own. The words sung are about a man who lost his sister when he was very young. His sister would always sing to him when he was afraid or worried. A raven starts to visit his garden, and he believes that if he can get the raven to sing, he will have proof that the raven is his sister trying to talk to him. The actual music is astounding. This is one of those 12.5/10 songs.

The album has a very lush, 70s sound to it, thanks to legendary engineer Alan Parsons, who worked on the Beatles' Abbey Road and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

Overall: This album is an astonishing effort by Steven Wilson and band, and will go down as one of his best ever albums, if not the best. 11/10 (but I can't do that, so 10/10 will have to do).

zeqexes | 5/5 |

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