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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

4.33 | 971 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mr. Mustard
5 stars After the hype his album had received, and for my love of Porcupine Tree, I had to give in and get this album. Needless to say I was not disappointed. One thing I've always enjoyed about Steven Wilson with his work in Porcupine Tree was that they were never musically stagnant, that is to say they went through a number of periods or eras, starting off with the psychedelic leanings of Pink Floyd, but eventually progressing through periods of pop, alternative, and metal inspired music. This album keeps with this trend, where Wilson explores a more jazzy and symphonic sound. The biggest thing I noticed off the bat was the unmistakable classic prog sound and influence, especially King Crimson. That is to say the album is drenched in mellotron to lend it that more symphonic feel, but also has harder- edged guitar with some darker moments to give it a King Crimson feel. Nonetheless, the album is truly an original adventure for Wilson and company, with each and every member contributing his unique sound to the record.

The album opens on a high note with 'Luminol.' This is a rather diverse track, starting with the energetic opening filled with killer bass riffs and pounding drums. But this segues into a gentler, atmospheric section with some guitar, flute, and Steven's vocals. The following piano solo has a very jazzy and relaxing feel to it. The final few minutes is a crescendo of mellotron and infallible musicianship that yields a very symphonic and dramatic feel, something for which there is much of in this album.

Drive Home is another great song which I view in two main parts. The first few minutes is a very melodic section with piano and vocals from Steven. Again, the mellotron is great here, and provides a very symphonic and dramatic atmosphere. The latter half of the song is perhaps one of the best guitars solos I have ever heard. Goven certainly brought something special to the album, and this is proof. The solo ends the song on a very, tense and uneasy, yet inspirational note with his impeccably emotional playing.

The Holy Drinker is another rather diverse song with an overall darker mood. The opening is quite chaotic before settling down into a nice melody. There a plenty of metal riffs throughout similar to Porcupine tree, which contribute to the songs harder, darker edge. The saxophone and flute work is also noteworthy.

'The Pin Drop' may be the weakest song on the record, but may also be least derivative of classic prog, mainly taking on a more alternative sound Porcupine Tree are often known for.

'The Watcher' is another lengthy song filled with twists and turns. The opening section is serene with acoustic guitar, some clean electric guitar, mellotron, and Wilson's vocals. But of course, the tune picks up a more chaotic edge around four minutes in, filled with flute and sax wandering over a cool riff, before returning to the more stable style of the beginning, and ultimately ending in a dark dramatic fashion.

The final song couldn't be a more perfect closer to the album. The title track is simply a masterpiece, beautifully simple, and emotionally evocative. It is sad, yet encouraging. Everything is perfectly in place, from the gentle piano and vocals to the dramatic mellotron chords. It is best just sit back and let it paint a picture in your mind.

As I've mentioned, I am very impressed by this release. In my opinion this gives even In Absentia, Deadwing, and Anesthetize a run for their money. One would think after all of his genius in Porcupine Tree, Wison would have run out of ideas, but as evidenced he still has enough to create one of the most exciting and emotionally powerful albums of modern prog.

10/10

Mr. Mustard | 5/5 |

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