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Steven Wilson Insurgentes album cover
3.82 | 1210 ratings | 49 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Harmony Korine (5:08)
2. Abandoner (4:48)
3. Salvaging (8:17)
4. Veneno Para Las Hadas (5:57)
5. No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun (8:37)
6. Significant Other (4:31)
7. Only Child (4:24)
8. Twilight Coda (3:25)
9. Get All You Deserve (6:17)
10. Insurgentes (3:55)

Total Time 55:19

Bonus tracks on 2008 Headphone Dust 2nd CD / 2009 Kscope double LP:
11. Port Rubicon (4:24)
12. Puncture Wound (4:18)
13. Collecting Space (5:10)
14. Insurgentes (Mexico) (4:45) *
15. The 78 (4:47) #

* Writen and recorded on 28th February in Ex Templo de Santa Teresa La Antigua, Mexico City.
# Hidden track, missing on 2009 Kscope double LP

Line-up / Musicians

- Steven Wilson / acoustic & electric guitars, acoustic & electric pianos, organ, sampler, synths, Mellotron, harmonium, glockenspiel, celesta, bass, drums & keyboard programming, percussion, musical box, ambient noise, guitar loops, strings arrangements (3), vocals, producer & 5.1 mixing

- Clodagh Simonds / vocals (6)
- Mike Outram / electric guitar (5,8)
- Dirk Serries / guitar drones (3,9)
- Sand Snowman / acoustic & processed acoustic guitars (2,8), recorders (4)
- Michiyo Yagi / 17-string bass koto (10,13)
- Jordan Rudess / piano (4,5,8)
- Theo Travis / wah-flute (2), clarinet (4,11), saxophone (11)
- Tony Levin / bass (5,6,13)
- Gavin Harrison / drums (tracks 1-3,5-7,9,11-13), cymbals (4)
- London Session Orchestra / strings (3,11)
- Dave Stewart / strings arrangements (3)
- Susana Moyaho / spoken words (7,11)

Releases information

Artwork: Carl Glover for Aleph with Lasse Hoile (photo)

2LP Kscope ‎- KSCOPE808 (2009, UK) With 4 bonus tracks

2CD+DVDa Headphone Dust ‎- hdswcd18 (2008, UK) 2 bonus discs: CD w/ 5 bonus tracks;
DVD-Audio w/ full album both in DTS 5.1 & 24-bit/48kHz Stereo mixes
CD+DVDa Kscope ‎- KSCOPE114 (2009, UK) Bonus DVD-Audio w/ full album both in DTS 5.1 & 24-bit/48kHz Stereo mixes

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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STEVEN WILSON Insurgentes ratings distribution

(1210 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

STEVEN WILSON Insurgentes reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by LiquidEternity
3 stars Insurgentes marks an interesting first step into Wilson's solo album catalog, very much sounding like the outcome of a careful producer and songwriter--careful being the operative word.

Few will undoubted come to this album without having first heard some (or likely a good number) of Wilson's other projects: Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, No-Man, Bass Communion, IEM, or any combination of those. It is more or less impossible to review Insurgentes without comparing it to these musical outlets. As it is, however, fans of the fellow will undoubted recognize in this solo outing the same traits that endeared Wilson to them in the first place. Here we have the occasional heaviness of Porcupine Tree, the gentle melodies of Blackfield, the soft and heartfelt atmosphere of No-Man, the harsh elements of noise in Bass Communion and IEM, and the pristine recording and mastering found in all of them. But the problem with Insurgentes is that it really does not go much beyond that. Wilson here creates an album comprised of the meat of all his projects, merging them together. All that's missing is the individual flair. It is, in short, not really experimental at all. True, he does tie noise and drone and ambient music together with semi-pop choruses and parts, but in the end, Insurgentes sounds like Steven playing to his strengths. If you are a fan of his other stuff, chances are you'll like some or all of this record. But don't expect anything wonderfully new or different. Same man, similar music. The first layer of sounds and effects may sound different from a lot of his stuff, but underneath, we have simply an average output from Wilson, who remains a very popular figure in modern prog.

The album opens with one of the more standard Wilson tracks, Harmony Korine. This song is built on a melancholic but not dark soundscape, propelled by a pulsing electric guitar. Here we first begin to experience the flavor of this album: gradually building behind the song is a wall of noise. Wilson's distorted falsetto vocals fill out one of the more memorable vocal melodies on the album. On the heels of that comes Abandoner complete with a drum machine, acoustic guitars, and a sort of dripping static in the background. Again, throughout the album the production is excellent, and here is no exception. The vocals are gentle and sparse. Towards the end a lot of dark noise enters, closing out the song in a heavy and somewhat creepy shot of silence. Salvaging is quite similar to Abandoner, except the music is more atmospheric for the majority. Minimalist vocals on top of a building electric guitar drone turn to some strings halfway through keeping the song quiet. The last chunk of the song finishes out with a strong salvo of solid noise and aggressive (but simplistic) drums, very much in the vein of how the previous song ended. The album segues then to Veneno para las Hadas , a song composed mostly of piano and gentle bass. The vocals are strongly reminiscent of those in No-Man (and also, coincidentally, The Sky Moves Sideways).

The album's only true standout track, No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun, comes in next with a laid back Tony Levin bassline and some thorough drumming from Gavin Harrison. Mike Outram contributes a long, harsh guitar solo throughout the opening, much in the vein of Frank Zappa. This is something quite different from Wilson's normal, as he does feature guitar solos in plenty of his Porcupine Tree offerings, none of them are nearly so long, technical, or complex. This stunning intro lasts for nearly four minutes, dropping off to just bass, quiet drums, and half-spoken vocals. Distorted guitars leave and reenter the song at several points, and the heavily distorted Wilson vocals convey angst and general unhappiness. Jordan Rudess donates here a gentle, tasteful, and quite stunning piano break, in the vein of The Start of Something Beautiful. The song fades away, only to explode once more with the heavy opening riff until the conclusion. While the rest of the album is mostly average Wilson material, No Twilight is essential listening for any fan of his, especially those of Porcupine Tree. The heaviest track on the album, it is also the only one where Wilson truly explores some different flavors than he has before. Significant Other is a melancholic, moody song with some nice vocal melodies and performances by both Wilson and the lovely voice of Clodagh Simonds, turning a mostly Blackfield tune into an atmospheric and haunting tune. Chances are if it did not play right after No Twilight, it would be one of the standout tracks on the album.

Only Child is a bass-driven tune with the expected atmospheric overlay. Here is perhaps the strongest clean-vocaled track on the album, though the music itself is mostly grungy. The song does not really go anywhere, though, promising a powerful chorus section but merely playing through some noise and then returning to the verse. Jordan Rudess returns with beautiful piano in the track Twilight Coda, which with some mellow acoustic guitars adds a slightly Latin feel to the album (which is long overdue, the name of the album referring to an avenue in Mexico). The noise builds up to a final crescendo like on several other tracks before it and most notably on the next song, Get All You Deserve (though on Twilight Coda it fades away again before the end of the song). Get All You Deserve is likewise built on piano. The vocals are fairly melancholic and straightforward, pointing the song to the heavily drummed chaotic noise finale. Coming off this wall is the album's conclusion, Insurgentes. The title track here would be a stunning song were it not more or less a new version of Collapse the Light into Earth. As it is, it is a beautiful and shocking ending to this somewhat dissonant album, providing almost a feeling of relief. True, it fits well, but plenty of fans of Porcupine Tree will not be thoroughly impressed with what this track has to offer. Oddly enough, Wilson chose this track, with a title in Spanish, to insert the koto, which fits surprisingly well.

In the end, this is a fairly solid album. It could almost pull another star, but in the end an average rating seems only fair. Fans of Steven Wilson's other projects will invariably find something interesting here and almost definitely should at least give it a listen or two, but I'd advise newcomers to first check out some of Porcupine Tree's or No-Man's top albums first.

Review by Prog-jester
2 stars With only one collab's review before mine - and already in top-2008 albums!

Steven Wilson does know how to write good stuff, it's obvious. When PT entered the Hall of Pop Music in 2002 with 'In Absentia', I was aready aware of what they may achieve. Look at them now - a perfect pop band in prog circles, psychedelic, heavy and dark enough to be adored by teens (especially with these eno videos like 'Way Out Of Here') yet still proggy. What would you expect from a band which is becoming so popular these days? Exactly - a leader's solo album. Who cares that it sounds exactly like any PT outtake compilation (something between BLACKFIELD's pop songwriting and BASS COMMUNION's noise ambient effects, to be precisely correct), when you can get different editions of it! Collector's holy cow, yeah. There are some songs worth checking ('Salvaging', 'No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun' and instrumental 'Collecting Space'), but if you're not much into PT-related stuff, I wouldn't recommend it to you. It's not like boring, dull or monotonous (but seriously I would use all of these epithets if I could!!!) - it's just another Wilson's CD. To be honest, I see no point in releasing solo albums which sound almost exactly like your full-time band's albums...or maybe PT fans will see the difference.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I've been living with an MP3 version of this album which I was given access to having pre-ordered it last December. Now my hard copy has arrived I thought it time to give it a review whilst listening to it in best quality audio.

For his first solo album, at least in name anyway, Wilson has produced a strong album drawing on influences from most of his many projects. There's elements of Porcupine Tree's eclectic mix of prog, though drawing more from their pre-metal influenced material, the melodic Blackfield and even some ambient textures courtesy of Bass Communion for starters. So while Insurgentes is not particularly original, sitting somewhere in the middle of previous projects, it is nevertheless a welcome addition to his prolific output.

Overall it's a moody and atmospheric album, immediately evident on opener Harmony Korine. Wilson's melancholic vocals and sweetly melodic and repetitive guitar line soon give way to powerful psychedelic riffing making for a wall of sound approach. One of my favourite tracks is Salvaging with its repetitive and driving bass riff and ringing guitar; simple but effective. A mid song lull for a string section turns into a dischordant drone to finish.

Perhaps best of all is the King Crimson inspired (there's a clue in the title) No Twilight Within The Courts Of The Sun. To add to the Crimson authenticity Wilson has also managed to recruit Tony Levin to play bass on this (and Significant Other). For much of the song it has an insistent and repetitive riff, starting quietly and building with Wilson supplying some jarring arbitrary sounding lead work. It's over 4 minutes before the vocals come in and a lull towards the end gives a false sense of security as the song explodes into life for a final assault. There's also some fine drumming from fellow Porcupine Tree member Gavin Harrison who plays on most of the album.

On the more melodic side are Get All You Deserve and Significant Other which both have a haunting beauty but still have time to delelop into a noisy finale. Only Child is another very strong track with its driving top heavy bass. Once again quite a repetitive groove prevails, like much of the material giving the album a kind of hypnotic vibe.

I enjoyed this album very much, if not quite as good as the best Porcupine Tree have to offer, then on par at least with most of their albums. Anyone who's enjoyed Wilson's work in the past will surely want to check this out, especially those who prefer Porcupine Tree before the Opeth inspired metal influences started to creep in.

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars A collection of characteristically dark/light contrasts and moody songs from SW, familiar ground for fans of his various works, but nonetheless achieving a high level of quality and identity in its own right thanks to expert composition, atmosphere, and production. This isn't just another Porcupine Tree album, and it is certainly too menacing to be No-Man or Blackfield release-- it's an excellent blend of everything great that goes into all of them.

Overall, Insurgentes has a very ephemeral sound, one which drifts through soundscapes that can become intensely heavy, dark, and powerful and others soft and delicate. These transitions abound throughout all of the songs. While this is pretty much the trademark Wilson sound, he achieves here a greater degree of intensity and mood than those found on most of his other projects. Fear of a Blank Planet for example, is undermined by its lyrical content and obligatory metal chugging, which often did little to service the song-- there's none of that here. Transitions are organic and take their time to build, such as the menacing Get All You Deserve, which starts with gentle vocals and piano and crescendos to truly violent intensity.

Wilson's heavy guitar is aggressive and highly ambitious, with lots of manic shredding and distortion effects (think his updated soloing on Hate Song). No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun is the best example of that here, which is a noisy and threatening bit of avant-garde unlike anything he's done in PT for a long time. There are few memorable melodies, and no fist-pumping guitar solos. Guest musicians add a great touch as well.

Ambient sections are more prevalent, and quite good, and maintain the album's dark energy without disappearing into the background. This is either good or bad, depending on where you're coming from; fans of SW's No-Man work will probably find this album way more intense and creepy than they'd expect. I enjoy both, but feel like Insurgencies has more going on within its tapestry of dark sounds. SW's vocals are clean but subtle-- no sing-alongs or hooks. His voice complements the composition, and never really stands out or steals the listener's attention.

Talking about the album any more belabors the point, given Porcupine Tree's popularity; many fans of FOABP already have their copy of this album. But, I encourage fans who gave up on Wilson after PT went more mainstream to give this one a try-- it is more thoughtful and subtle than Deadwing of FOAPB, and hearkens back to Wilson's earlier work. There's even a reprise of Sky Moves Sideways tucked away in Veneno Para Las Hadas.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Review by Chicapah
4 stars When an artist as unbelievably prolific as Steven Wilson at long last finds time to step away from the group effort format (even when they've been the acknowledged leader of said cooperative partnerships) and issues a solo work, the listener needs to dispose of all preconceived notions and be willing to accept the art wholly on his terms. Otherwise, don't go there. For, unlike his associated bands that have an image to uphold as well as a commitment to respect the wants of their loyal fan base, in most cases the individual is serving up offerings that are intended only to please their own ears and express emotions and impulses that are extremely personal. With "Insurgentes" I feel as if I'm covertly peeking into Steven's diary of innermost thoughts and yearnings, especially when the lyrical content is so unusually sparse (poignant words being an aspect of his songs that I've always admired in particular). The lines sung are very subjective and abstract for the most part, as if they only mean something to him. And that's okay. Like I inferred, it's his blank canvas propped up on the easel here, let him paint it any way he wants. We are here to observe.

While other reviewers have referenced, with good reason, Nine Inch Nails, Peter Gabriel and several other entities as being major inspirations for many of these tunes, I can't honestly label any track (with the exception of one) as consistently sounding like someone else's music. This is unmistakably Wilson's baby from start to finish, let there be no doubt cast. Like a handful of colorful crayons that have melted in the hot sun and coagulated together into a collage of swirling hues, Steven's influences and preferences run throughout the tracks but never completely infiltrate or dominate them. Here Wilson doesn't have to answer to anyone (including us) and the result is a CD of high quality composing coupled with undeniable studio expertise, just what I expected from a musician as talented as this.

In a move reminiscent of his approach to constructing the brilliant "Fear of a Blank Planet," the album begins with ringing guitars for "Harmony Korine," an accessible rock number that sports an 8/4 time signature performed with a semi-waltz feel that's deceptively seamless. Steven and the incomparable Gavin Harrison on drums are the sole contributors but they fill up the room with bold, ferocious sounds. It's also a great example of how deftly Wilson uses and manipulates the contrast of light and dark shadings in his music. On "Abandoner" he utilizes programmed drums for the foundation and goes on to create layers of cool, dreamy atmospheres where interesting atonal snippets hover and circle constantly. Then an incredibly dense and monstrous amalgam of guitars and synthesizers descends like the muscled arm of God Almighty, decapitating your senses. In the end only the original, virgin melody survives the cleansing flood.

"Salvaging" is one of the most experimental and boundary-stretching tunes Steven's ever put together. It begins in a drone motif based on a simple repeating riff as he sings moodily about "God always shouts/and you always kick/through passionless hours/yeah, you make me feel sick." just as wicked, sharp-edged guitars begin to strike like lightning bolts all around. Things get heavier and more intense as a stinging solo buzzes your head like an angry hornet before King Silence raises its scepter and decrees a halt. An ingenious orchestral score (arranged by SW and Dave Stewart) floats in like a soft, white cloud and provides beauty amidst harshness. It's like a golden epiphany of absolute clarity. Later on Gavin's thrashing drums reenter and a terrific symphonic "rise" occurs to lift you upward like some kind of surreal rapture. It is greatness. But the next cut is no slouch, either. "Veneno Para Las Hadas" has a serene start, then a throbbing bass pulse guides you like a passenger aboard an amusement park boat ride drifting through a phosphorescent cave. Jordan Rudess' piano playing is touchingly delicate and serene sounds waft through like fog banks as Theo Travis' clarinet and Sand Snowman's recorders blend into a phenomenally smooth salve for the soul.

Up to this point Mr. Harrison has been kept on a short leash but on "No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun" Wilson takes the shackles off and lets him run free. The most aggressive song on the album, it's initially akin to waking from a drug-induced coma or groggily coming out of a demonic nightmare as its tricky time signature seemingly derived solely from the weirdness of the central riff (a challenge that poses absolutely no problem for drum-man extraordinaire Gavin) terrorizes like an infuriated poltergeist. The track dives down and splashes up a bleak background for some sinister vocals where he obtusely intones "I see what I suppose/I breathe what I dispose/black wheels get yellow in the sand/I steal every idea that I can." and then follows with a lighter segment. Tony Levin's bass lines are fabulous here (I expected nothing less) and when Rudess' piano slides in surreptitiously to reinforce the pleasant progression Jordan lulls you to sleep with gorgeous trills and fluent streaks. But in the end Wilson swings his heavy hammer once again and slugs you with a deafening onslaught of the thematic riff in full force.

"Significant Other" may be as close to a love song as Steven can venture and it's only fitting that it comes off as sort of a Blackfield outtake. It owns a simple but lovely melody line and it will behoove you to pay attention to the subtle bass runs Levin comes traipsing through with because they're amazing. He's one of a kind. The verses are sweet, the choruses are tense, Harrison gets busy toward the end with some passionate drum fills and for the finale Wilson lets the bottom drop out, leaving you with the sound of a lonesome music box playing. "Only Child" is the weakest tune of the bunch, though. It's an honorable tribute to Kurt Cobain, to be sure, but the overwhelming Nirvana vibe is a little too obvious and the depressing dirge grows old in a hurry. But the magical instrumental "Twilight Coda" arrives just in time to resuscitate the flow. This demure, relatively short and spacey piece intrigues and mesmerizes the mind and Steven's tactful employment of filtered noise is masterfully done.

"Get All You Deserve" begins in a Trent Reznor-ish industrial haze where an ominous piano stands conspicuously alone. The track steadily grows ever more menacing as gigantic guitars plunge into the fray before a cacophony of dense aural confetti blows up like an atomic bomb's mushroom canopy to obliterate all that is decent and moral in the mortal realm. "Love more than you can know/have more than you'll ever need from me/get all that you deserve in this world." he sings. I can understand why many might not like the song's blunt brutality but I'm floored by it. The title tune and closer has quite the opposite effect. A calming piano and Michiyo Yagi's 17-string bass koto make this number a unique gem. It's as soft as a prayer and just as intimate. By the fade out you feel like a desert drifter who's been given a drink of reinvigorating spring water.

The brazen, uncompromising cover photo reveals volumes about this eclectic collection of tunes and their designer. For "Insurgentes" Steven Wilson has donned a gas mask, signifying that he has quarantined himself from the polluted, overtly-commercial environment of the present age and is giving us a sample of his unadulterated imagination and creativity to do with as we wish. For those of us who enjoy most everything he produces, this is no exception. I'll admit that I won't reach for it as often as I do PT's "Fear of a Blank Planet," "Deadwing," or even "Blackfield II" but that doesn't mean I'm disappointed in this album. Not at all. It's everything I thought it would be and more. Thanks for sharing, Steven. 4.3 stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars "Insurgentes" is dark, atmospheric and melancholic. Then again would you expect anything else from a Steven Wilson solo album ? I don't know if i've ever heard an album sound as good as this, and i'm talking about sound quality here. Now I know i'm a fan of dark, atmospheric and melancholic music, I mean SINKADUS and ANEKDOTEN are my heroes along with PORCUPINE TREE, but Steven has made an album here that while it boasts lots of variety, it also maintains that melancholic mood throughout. I'm also completely blown away by how powerful this is at times.The contrasts of sad beauty with violent energy is breath-taking. Lots of noise, drones and electronica as well. Some have compared this to the latest NINE INCH NAILS or PORTISHEAD records and for good reason.

"Harmony Korine" is the song that was instantly a favourite for me, it didn't need to grow on me at all.The keys and Gavin's drumming sound great to open as Steven comes in vocally before a minute. When the fuller sound comes in it's incredible ! There contrasts continue. When it kicks in each time it's so uplifting and emotional. "Abandoner" opens with this electronica sound with a beat as reserved vocals and keys come in. Lots of atmosphere after 3 minutes when the vocals stop. It builds to a powerful wall of sound. "Salvaging" opens with guitar drones as this heavy bass line comes in with drums. Vocals join in almost speaking the words. Guitar noise comes and goes. When the vocals stop before 3 minutes it seems to get heavier. Killer sound ! Vocals return.It settles with strings after 5 minutes.This reminds me of Post-Rock. A heavy and dark wall of noise comes in around 7 minutes to end it.

"Veneno Para Las Hadas" opens with what sounds like a Post-Rock mood to me. A beat comes in with piano then reserved vocals.This is sad and beautiful. It becomes emotional 2 1/2 minutes in when it brightens. I can't help but be moved. Theo Travis plays the clarinet here. "No Twilight Within The Courts Of The Sun" is the first song where I thought of PORCUPINE TREE. It's during the intro that I was reminded of them with the drums, bass and guitar sounds. It's building as the guitar rips it up after 2 minutes, a blistering attack ! Check out Harrison too ! A calm after 4 minutes as whispered vocals come in. It kicks back in then settles again after 5 minutes with keys, bass, guitar and drums. Great section. It explodes back in one more time to end it. "Significant Other" is a brighter tune to start out. Even the vocals seem happy, ok not really. Haha. Some guest female vocals that are so angelic on this one. It becomes powerful after 1 1/2 minutes then settles back as contrasts continue. It really kicks in after 3 minutes. Tony Levin plays bass on this song.

"Only Child" has a good beat with some fat bass lines as vocals join in.This song gets better as it plays out. Lots of bottom end in this mid paced tune. "Twilight Coda" opens with lots of atmosphere. A fuller sound arrives after 2 minutes. Killer atmosphere on this one. "Get All You Deserve" is another song with plenty of atmosphere as piano is slowly played. Fragile vocals join in. It also gets fuller 2 minutes in. Check out the atmposphere 2 1/2 minutes in. It kicks in at 4 minutes and it builds to an explosive wall of sound. Amazing ! "Insurgentes" is simply a beautiful, sad song with piano and reserved vocals early. Harmonium later and some 17-string bass koto.

No weak or even average tracks here.Trying to pick a top three was impossible for me. I've seen this get a 10 out of 10 and a 5 out of 5 in a couple of music magazines.You can add me to that list.

Review by lazland
4 stars I've waited quite some time before writing this review. I wanted to see if my initial impressions were borne out by repeated listens. I'm glad to say they were. This is a fine debut solo LP from one of the leading lights of the new wave of progressive rock. If you love Porcupine Tree, then I think it's safe to say that you will get a lot of pleasure out of this.

The thing that strikes you about the LP is the contrast in moods. Sometimes light and breezy, but in the main very dark, sometimes oppressively so. That is not meant as a criticism, it is just how it is.

There are many highlights on this LP, which contains tracks that are very well written, beautifully performed, and exceptionally produced.

There is an exceptionally melancholic and sad, but quite beautiful, passage of play on Veneno Para Las Hadas. The instrumentals remind me of Floyd at their best.

Significant Other is a more commercial song that features some choral effects married to a great riff and strong bass line.

The title track is a fantastic mellow piece, with some haunting lyrics and vocals accompanied by a very simple, but effective, piano backdrop.

These are but a few examples. Wilson's stature as one of the great guitarists of modern times is absolutely assured with this work. It varies from the nakedly aggressive to the tender, many times in the same track. The moods created by the album demand that you listen, and listen carefully, to appreciate it fully.

I don't think I can add any more to the 74 reviews of this that precede mine, but I rate this an easy four stars - an excellent addition to any prog collection, and utterly essential for fans of the man's work with Porcupinne Tree.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Noisy and dreary is how I would describe this completely disappointing purchase. Previous to this album, I was under the belief that anything Steven Wilson crapped out in the studio was gold- not so anymore. The music here is either quiet and boring, or drenched in guitar that effectively amounts to white noise.

"Harmony Korine" This is familiar territory for fans of Porcupine Tree- quiet riffs, repetition, and then heavier parts fused together to make a solid track. Perhaps this track was intended to "sneak" the rest of the album onto the unsuspecting fan of Porcupine Tree, because everything hereafter is very different.

"Abandoner" Wilson's unmistakable voice croons over a drowsy beat and not unpleasant acoustic guitar. Eventually, noisy walls of guitar sludge over the music like a heavy, toxic ooze.

"Salvaging" A dark, looming rock track, full of heavy guitar and bass juxtaposed with Wilson's soft singing makes this tolerable, but not memorable. Gorgeous strings abound on the second half of the track.

"Veneno Para Las Hadas" Sleepy swells of sound and a simple bass thudding along make for pleasant but completely uneventful music. It sends me to sleep. The literal translation of the title is "Poison for the Fairies."

"No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun" A nice bass groove with some interesting and quiet drums set the beginning of this, as Wilson's grating guitar cuts through the mix. It just becomes noisier and noisier until it is practically screeching. This is not the work of a genius. It's more in the vein of a loud and obnoxious garage band next door. After almost four minutes of this business, Wilson's dreary vocals return, but at least he stopped playing his guitar. The last few moments are an avant-garde mess, but at least its quiet. Oh wait, no it isn't. Just as I turn up the volume to hear what's going on exactly, I get assaulted by overdriven guitars and noise.

"Significant Other" Wilson's much more enjoyable side returns here on this peaceful track. Thankfully, the guitar is clear and clean, and the vocal melody is rather delightful. Too bad that's short-lived. The loud guitars come back at the end, as though they were a necessary ingredient.

"Only Child" This song has a pretty good bass riff and some interesting sounds, but overall, it's fairly repetitive and uninteresting. I just bob my head along with the beat.

"Twilight Coda" Every time this track came along, I missed it.

"Get All You Deserve" Soft piano and Wilson's falsetto make for more dreary and disinteresting fare. Then, of course, the strident guitars come in and dominate the mix until everything is swamped in white noise.

"Insurgentes" The title track is another snoozer, but I prefer the boring nature of the last track to the noise the overshadows the rest of many of the songs. As usual, acoustic guitar, piano, and Wilson's quiet voice make up the last one.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "When you're're sleeping......"

A pulsing, glowing bath of the sweetest possible melancholy. Sinewy one moment, fragile the next. Haunting.

While you can find a million different assessments of the "Insurgentes" sound across the internet, you will have a difficult time finding information about the lyrical themes of the album. And I love that, because ultimately it allows the listeners to come to their own conclusion. Taking in this aural feast again and again I sense there are underlying concerns about decay, deception, and disillusion. He talks in interviews about the tragedy of the download culture on the art of music, and how ripping a few tracks from an album to create a playlist means that the artist's conceptual work is lost, the marriage of the songs together presented in the gatefold LP or CD to be devoured as a complete work. (Will kids in the future open something like DSotM, hold it in their hands and study it as they listen to the album start to finish?) But beyond any single issue, I believe this music could be about the loss of promise in much more serious matters. Being the same age as SW and recalling the promise of the time we grew up in, this is music that to me laments the lost potential, that rages at the manner in which the last several decades have squandered that promise through the tragic combination of ignorance and greed. That certain something that was present in that neighborhood of my youth, a joy and security between the people living there, that seems only a shadow of what it used to be in the neighborhood I now inhabit-one not much different in locale. While that's an essay for another place this is music that brought those thoughts into my head-this is music that expresses well great beauty, sadness, hope, and rage. The fact that Wilson labored over this album in the very childhood bedroom he grew up in, in his parent's home, makes it all the more poignant to a person like myself who enjoys pondering the connection between the child we were and the man (or woman) we became. I am not claiming Wilson shares my thoughts here of course, I am just saying that this album in particular is an incredibly therapeutic one for such personal soul searching. Right off the bat the work is special on a personal level. This is an album that reminds me of Richard Wright's "Broken China" or a John Frusciante album in terms of emotional style, but it is more successful than those in my opinion.

From a musical perspective it is even better, a work that I believe will hold up over time as well as any Porcupine Tree release. It is such a giant of gorgeous atmospheres, unique arrangements, and sad melodies. I will lay out four simple reasons that "Insurgentes" is a most luscious feast. First you have Wilson's hypnotic, gentle voice and impressionist lyrics. Second, the things they (SW and guests) do with guitars on this album are mind-blowing. In the climax of "Significant Other" (my favorite track) is the most stunning skyward spiral of supernatural musical energy I've ever heard. It is like a scream blasted straight to the heavens and then drops right into a fragile glockspiel to finish-God it's beautiful. It takes you to another place. Not to mention the absolutely conversational playing between minutes 1-2 on "Abandoner" as both the acoustic and electric talk to you, they are notes/sounds that speak, simple as that. Third, the background atmospheres of this album which are like the filtered, heavy light of a film made by some visionary European art-house director: fog, light, dark, sweat, metal, earth, colors, wind, it's all there swirling around you in every track, making the album one long piece of blissfully disorienting collage. Bob Weir once joked about how he told a sound engineer that he wanted the "sound of heavy air." Wilson achieves such sound accomplishments throughout. Last, moving the sound beyond to the next level is aided by delicate use of piano, strings, and even ethereal female voice. My only criticism of Wilson musically is for his choice to bring Harrison into this project as the drummer, regardless of his undeniably giant talent. I think this is an album that cried out for a percussion sound as far from PT as possible. There are a few sections where it sounds ridiculous having that "busy" GH drum sound over the material at hand. But on the whole this is a very successful release that covers many different styles individually and morphs into something even more satiating as a total work. I love it because it does explore sound, it is adventurous, and yet it maintains a sense of melody, never losing itself to pure abstraction. Personal, imaginative, memorable.

"With each release, Wilson added another layer of complexity to his band's sound and style; with Insurgentes, his first proper solo album, Wilson takes everything he's learned with Porcupine Tree and a host of side projects (most similarly Blackfield and Bass Communion) and rather than simply peel the layers back, instead collapses them all onto themselves." []

This is one of the interesting moments of 2008 for any progger. The sound quality is as good as it gets allowing the full impact of the sonic treasures to reveal themselves after several plays. The artwork inside the book is a little obvious for my tastes but I find the album cover itself perfect on many levels.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I gotta say Steven Wilson keeps surprising me with what his music is going to sound like and with this album I was plesantly surprised. Although it sounds a tad bit self-indulgent Steven Wilson has some of the best songs he's ever written on this album. Harmony Korine is an example sounding like a mix between Arriving Somewhere But Not Here and Moon Touches Your Shoulder. All of the songs kind of have that gentle feel like Porcupine Tree songs such as My Ashes, Sky Moves Sideways, and as mentioned before, Arriving Somewhere But Not Here and Moon Touches Your Shoulder but have a sound thats more electronic yet doesn't sound to modern. He is still tipping his hat to the classic prog bands still mainly Pink Floyd but there are hints here and there of Krautrock and even VDGG. I almost feel sorry for not rating it higher but the music just didn't stick with me long even though it is wonderfully performed. Some tracks that stick out to me are Harmony Korine, No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun, the title track, and Get All You Deserve.
Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I bought this on a whim because impulsive buying goes well with planned purchases, gives the experience some diversity in searching for that ever elusive thrill. I was motivated by reading sinkadotentree's review ,as well as finnforest's both rating it 5 stars and as it evolves often into a necessity, I jumped on it . I , like my pal, have a strong admiration for the prog Castaways basketball guru Steve Wilson , mesmerized by his prolific output and mostly by his determined , at times even rabid, quest for different sounds and textures. Many will wonder as I did initially why this isn't just a PT album and yet there are obvious differences that repudiate such a notion. This is way moodier and less aggressive than the recent band material and certainly not as vaporously dance as his No-Man gig. A more personal and even more profound recording that has mystery dripping from the speakers , "Harmony Korine" flops along with a harsh raindrop guitar rambling, with syncopated drumming from the imperial Gavin Harrison , massively colossal mellotron walls swerving within the angelic vocal pleading. The chorus is deadly melancholia, weaving ceremoniously some distant and unbridled angst, while the axe rages as if spewing radiant phosphorus, thus becoming the first guitarist to exalt beyond what Fripp could only foresee and cleanly incinerate with his six-string. "Abandoner" is a scratchy electro-voyage into a minimalist theater of pain and despair, Wilson seemingly cocooned in deep swaths of muted musings on the human condition. We are far removed from the Porcupine's quills! This is plain creepy and I love it! The epic 8 minute + "Salvaging" features string arrangements by Dave Stewart (The Hatfield/Egg-man or the Eurythmics fella? Don't know for sure.) and permeates within a deep droned dirge , guitar slashes bloodied as monster riffs combine with the beastly drums. There is a magnificently restrained mid-section (where the violins enter) that exudes sheer refined foresight. A true prog moment is to behold, as it turns back into the sonic abyss. Lost in deep space, I am! "Veneno para las hadas" is a strangely unique piece that breathes inconsolably, Jordan Rudess piano rivulets on a dreamy voice, dribbling inexorably amid the sweeping atmospherics and insistent effects, all with elaborate effortlessness. There are some Eno- esque passages, what with all the gentle synths coloring the horizon, Wilson searches for the glorified summits of prog manifestations and succeeds, even though he is said to severely dislike the term progressive. Well Stevie, this is prog! "No Twilight within the Courts of the Sun" is perhaps aimed at the Frippian allusion I made earlier because the guitar here is disarmingly researching all kinds of creative sounds that would make Robert blush with admiration. Wilson tortures his instrument with rabid abandon, ripping the skin off his callused fingers, blistering and exalted. Another 8 minute job that is the musical equivalent of savage mutilation, the Tony Levin squirreling around with Harrison 's nuts and generating unparalleled rhythmic euphoria , showing why Wilson is for real, regardless of what he does to his Tree! Sheer magnificence and my fave piece here adding another Rudess piano solo to the fray! The final seconds are a heavy basher, a nuclear washing machine gone haywire. "Significant Other" is the lighter side of the ball, a breezy affair that keeps things vaporous and temperate, as he croons mellifluously as the guitar hardens into a cosmic gel, howling vocals only adding to the ecstasy, Levin shepherding the way towards a glockenspiel adieu. "Only Child" is a tighter romp, very binary in nature, spearheaded by broad effects that create a certain malaise, a Wilson specialty under any of his multiple guises, closer to some of the Manzanera solo album efforts. Phil would be proud. "Twilight Coda" is a short that serves as a meditative bridge towards the next piece, the haunting "Get All You Deserve" that seeks to relive the latter day Talk Talk minimalism until half way through when the mood suddenly gets hot and sweaty. Mark Hollis would be proud! The closing title track has all the suave classiness that one comes to expect, a delectable triumvirate of piano, koto and voice, illuminating a beautiful melody that mortifies the spirit. Mission accomplished , a record that will take many more listens to really hit the mark, highly introspective and luxuriant.

Yes, this is a dense quagmire of sound that may confuse some Porcupine fans but it's a Wilson solo album and its pretty obvious why! Its brilliant .5 insurgents

Review by Zitro
4 stars What is it? A more liberated Steven Wilson breaks free from the trappings of ambitious prog rock during late Porcupine Tree, releasing a less conceptual set of songs that often experiment with industrial music (as in Nine Inch Nails). Given the prog rock failure that was 'The Incident', the drastic change of sound was a smart move and possibly another sign that the band was nearing its breakup.

Voice (4 stars) ? Steven Wilson does revisit vocal techniques that he used well during the middle stages of Porcupine Tree: vocal harmonies, hook-driven choruses, fragile downbeat singing. The greater emphasis on the latter, while adding to the dreary feel of the album, sometimes lead to scarcity of distinctive melodies.

Sound (4.5 stars) ? Steven Wilson outdoes himself with even greater sound production, making this record feel highly polished yet organic. You can hear the many intricacies while listening on headphones. The greater emphasis on industrial music gives it an edge and the several cacophonous walls of sound throughout the disc manage to be disorienting yet gorgeously produced. The lack of Porcupine Tree as a band is rarely missed, given the great musicianship and instrumental arrangements involved, but the longer jam-oriented "No Twilight ?" maybe sounds too different with the guitar being too jarring for a Porcupine Tree fan.

Songs (4 stars) ? Given that "Insurgentes" is a more experimental album, the songs vary in quality. The opener "Harmony Korine" is a success and among the most well-known songs as a solo artist, thanks to not overcomplicating its simple direct nature and catchy pop hooks. "Abandoner", "Salvaging", and especially "Get All You Deserve" are far more experimental down-tempo compositions showcasing Steven Wilson as a sound engineer to great effect, particularly when it explores disorienting soundscapes bordering on white noise. The gorgeous "Twilight Coda" and "Insurgentes" are minimalist in concept, but subtly intricate in instrumentation. At times, the results are not as grand, with a 6-minute long ambient instrumental with little to say followed by more instrumental [heavier] work in a longer piece "No Twilight" for which I have mixed feelings due to its over-reliance on repeating an odd-metered prog metal riff that worked best as a bass line halfway through. The composition gets jazzier with piano, but awkwardly transitions back to that very same riff. Basically, the middle third of the album is the weakest, also including a decent but forgettable ballad with guitar riffing that is too noisy for it, and a grunge song that works fine, but nothing beyond that.

Key Tracks: Harmony Korine, Salvaging, Abandoner, Get All You Deserve, Twilight Coda, Insurgentes

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Insurgentes" is the debut full-length studio album by progressive rock artist Steven Wilson. The album was released through Kscope in November 2008. Steven Wilson is mostly known in progressive rock circles as being the frontman and guitarist in Porcupine Tree. He is also involved in a long list of other projects including artists such as Blackfield, No-man, Bass Communion and I.E.M.. "Insurgentes" is however the first album released as a solo artist under his own name.

The music on the album is unmistakably the sound of Steven Wilson. Dark and melancholic progressive rock. The music on "Insurgentes" differs just enough from the music of Porcupine Tree to justify calling this album a solo effort but there are many similarities between "Insurgentes" and latter day Porcupine Tree. In addition to Steven Wilson on vocals, guitars and keyboards there are a couple of rather prolific guests on the album. Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison plays the drums on the album, Tony Levin lays down a couple of bass tracks and Jordan Rudess plays piano on a couple of songs. Other than Gavin Harrisonīs contributions on the drums, most guest appearances on the album works as spice though and not as fundamental parts of the compositions.

There are 10 tracks on the album and if you have the limited edition (limited to 3000 copies), which was released through Headphone Dust, there is a bonus CD with 5 extra tracks and a DVD in addition to the original album. A 4 x 10 inch vinyl version (limited to 1000 copies) is also available through Tonefloat.

"Insurgentes" is an album with a flow that works best if you listen to it as a whole. Thatīs the way an ambient track like "Twilight Coda" works best. While there are some heavier rock parts on the album too, the music is predominantly ambient, atmospheric and emotional and itīs probably the fans of Steven Wilsonīs most ambient/atmospheric material that will enjoy this album the most. "Insurgentes" is a pretty diverse album though. Just take a listen to how a song like "Get All You Deserve" evolves from a quiet and melancholic Radiohead sounding opening to a massive wall of layered sounds towards the end, the beautiful title track, the changing stylistic directions of "Salvaging", the radio friendly "Harmony Korine" or the great "No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun". The latter features an almost 4 minutes long guitar solo intro, an ambient vocal middle part and a beautiful piano ending. While there are great variation on the album itīs consistent when you view it as a whole and the dark and melancholic atmosphere which is dominant throughout the album also is a contributing factor to the great flow of the album.

"Insurgentes" is a very well sounding album featuring an organic, detailed and warm sound. The sound production is actually quite brilliant. Upon conclusion "Insurgentes" is an excellent album by Steven Wilson. Itīs an album that might feature experimental ideas and playing but keeps those elements on an accessible level. Solo albums by creative artists like Steven Wilson are often outlets for wild experimentation and avant garde ideas and donīt always meassure up to the quality level of an artistīs main act(s), but thankfully "Insurgentes" isnīt one of those. So sit back, relax and disappear into the dream (sometimes it sounds like a nightmare though, which in this case should be perceived in the most positive way possible). A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars From the man that never sleeps. The album of the year!

Insurgentes finds Wilson in a boundless creative mood, stretching his legs in jazzy, trip, ambient and more then once also in new wave territories. The format is much loser and freer then it has been on recent Porcupine Tree albums and reaches far beyond normal prog territory.

Of course it's recognizably Wilson. I mean, you should not expect the man has suddenly developed a deep baritone or made a reggae album. But the music is very different from Porcupine Tree's recent prog approach. So I'm hardly surprised the album doesn't click well with all prog purists. In fact, this album had better been promoted to an entirely different target audience instead. (Hmm, can you notice I had a meeting with marketing this morning?) Anyway, I'm sure this album could have reached many of the open-minded Cure, Depeche Mode or Portishead fans out there that have been hiding out in their caves for the last 20 years deploring the downfall of good dark music.

Yes dark and gloomy it is. And because every track is so excellent I'll even kick my lazy bum into action and do some kind of song by song overview! 'Harmony Korine' is our link with Porcupine Tree. It's a pop-sensible take on Fear of A Dark Planet with an absolutely gorgeous chorus, easily obliterating all things Muse in its course. 'Abandoner' finds Portishead veering off into pure white noise directions. 'Salvaging' is a very gothic track with an entrancing bass line that reminds me of something 80's but I can't put my finger on it. I'll let you know if I ever find out. 'Veneno Para Las Hadas' is one of the brilliant ballads on the album. It uses the same slide guitar loop that Wilson used on his recent revision of The Sky Moves Sideways. 'No Twilight' is the odd proggy beast of the album. Starting with a strong free-jazz guitar solo that fades away into a dark minimalist middle part. Wilson is really at his balladry best on Insurgentes. 'Significant Other' is another winner that stays far away from the cheap melodrama that Lazarus fell blindly into. With the dazzling chorus it sits right next to Heartattack in a Layby. Next comes '17 Seconds'. Or no ? 'Only Child' it is called here! The closing 3 pieces are just some more proof of Wilson's rule in creating stunning ambient ballads.

As if all that wasn't enough yet, there's some extra tracks for special edition owners. Of particular interest are 'Collecting Space', the superb Depeche Mode/Nine Inch Nails study 'Untitled' and 'A Forest'. Oh no wrong again. 'Puncture Wound' it is called I believe. The sneaky Cure-thief!

Hot on the Heels of the prog masterpiece that was Fear of a Blank Planet, Wilson is back with this more introvert but equally appeasing masterpiece of new dark experimental prog wave. Yes, I like genres that feature only one album in their ranks. So, needless to say it's the best album in its genre :-)

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Straight to the point: this is not the kind of album that I can sincerely recommend you to buy or enjoy through lending the CD from your friend. Am I too extreme to say that it's gonna be a waste of time listening to this album. While for my case, I purchased this CD through amazon with one major assumption (that turned out to be a great fallacy) that Steven Wilson is a pretty BIG name behind the masterpiece 'Fear of A Blank Planet' album of Porcupine Tree. Not only that, look at the supporting musicians with great names from progressive scene like Tony Levin, Jordan Rudess, Theo Travis and Wilson's Porcupine Tree mate Gavin Harrison. Those factors had successfully built a very solid rationale for me not think twice to click the item from a series of amazon recommendations for me. What happened then? It's a completely a waste of time! It did not take me enough spirit to have a second spin after I listened to the full album with great patience due to the pretty slow and intensely dark nuance the album tried to deliver. I then skipped the album by spinning other albums like Saga, Simon Says and couple of prog albums that I had at that time. I tried to spin again this album, occasionally, with my concerted effort to understand the subtleties of soundscapes where Mr Wilson had built his expertise in this arena. But still .. I could not lie to myself ?that this album is completely nothing in it! Soooo ...booooooring my friend ....

Do you still say that I have been generous in giving rating?

Let me tell you straight, The reason why I have been holding my thoughts about this album for more than three months .... it's because of Steven Wilson name! I pushed my boundaries very hard trying to understand what he means with this album but .. I am so sorry, I don't get it Mr Wilson. I was well intimidated by the fact that some of my colleague collaborators had put relatively good to excellent (in fact masterpiece!) ratings of this album. What's wrong with me then? Am I nut if I can not still understand the music? I have been struggling these days....should I give it a one star rating or two? What about three? No? definitely it's not a three star! So's in between 1 to 2 stars, really. Am I mentally ready to say it as one star album? It's a thought provoking for

Well, Fish did say in 'The Web' that ....'the decision has to be made', I have to take my standpoint as well....

Let me start with good things because you have been hearing bad things through the above phrases, haven't you? The soundscapes production of this album is excellent especially if you are audiophile, you will enjoy the mastery of Mr Wilson experimenting his sound thoughts through this album. There are interesting sound effects produced here in there throughout the songs delivered here. I also enjoy this because I feel like I am in the music room when I listen to the soundscapes. If you are familiar with Porcupine Tree, I think the root of this album is coming from Porcupine Tree style, it's 90% similar to any Porcupine Tree album with exception of 'In Absentia'. The rest, you can guess what it sounds like.

The bad things are on the composition which, in my humblest opinion, is very poor. It seems like Mr. Wilson had never thought it very hard on how creating such a robust composition. Well, when I say composition it's about the combination of multi dimensions like melody line, harmonies, complexity, change of style, and structural integrity. This album scores very low on complexity, change of style and melody. All tracks presented in this album are basically very simple and majority of them are repeats of chords that have made me feeling 'bored' with the music being played. I do not demand that complexity must be high, at least being moderate. Why? It's a prog music man .. if there is nothing as being complex, you must categorize it as pop music and nothing wrong with it. On change of style, this album has nothing in it. For each track there is no change of style or maybe very minimum. The way to understand this is that you can guess how the song will finish by knowing the intro because it's basically many repeats. On melody, actually it's not fair to say that there is no melody here with this album. Yes, there is, for example on the opening track 'Harmonie Korine'. But?it's not a solid melody. I especially feel depressed and pathetic listening to the concluding track that is the title track 'Insurgentes'. What Mr Wilson is trying to do anyhow?

In Conclusion...

I appreciate Mr Wilson's rebel to challenge the music industry codes nowadays as he meant with the word 'insurgentes' which is a Spannish word meaning 'rebellion'. If that is his true intention, I see this album as a composition with no direction and it sounds like a jamming of his own one-man band even though he has recruited big names in prog music like Tony Levin and the rest. He has failed to capitalize the full potentials of great prog musicians right here in this album. He can play the whole album without the help of those musicians. What for he was hiring Jordan Rudess playing such simple piano work? I don not understand. Is it for marketing gimmick? Let me tell you, Mr Wilson, at the end of the day, the music itself that counts!

And if this is the kind of rebel he has been trying to do in prog music, I am so sorry that I make my stand clearly here that I am NOT going to follow his direction. Full stop. I'd rather keep on proggin' with the like of The Tangent, The Flower Kings, Simon Says, Pain of Salvation and many great names in prog music.

Please do not feel offended as I express my honest opinion. Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars OK, let's assume that most of people will get/buy/lend this album, because of Steven Wilson's fame from Porcupine Tree. That's my case also. And I still remember my first listen of Insurgentes, I heard PT all over the place (album), couldn't get from my mind that it's just another album of theirs. Indeed, that's probably normal, Steven is one of the most active musicians here (I wonder why he wasn't included in Transatlantic, he wouldn't do shame here with his history) and also one of those, whose voice is simply, unforgettable. I also heard few groups, where when listening vocals, I realized: "Hey, it sounds like Steven Wilson.", simply influential he is.

And after all, it's not bade to take this as another of SW works. And I like, admire and respect the way, how he can handle all this mood changing. From heavy guitars to soft, slowly sung lyrics, from ethereal sounds like from mist, where you just barely know what it means combined with dreamy piano and not so less dreamy Wilson's voice. Somebody simply has this gift. When comparing it to for example "Lightbulb Sun", there are tracks like "Russia on Ice" and second half forms songs like "Four Chords that Make a Million".

And I'm also going to point out some negatives. Boring album full of nothing, long passages of boredom, that's difficult thing. Because it's matter of point of view. I enjoy them when certain conditions are fulfilled, for example they shouldn't be boring, they should be managed well to be interesting and when talking about being interesting, they have to offer something unique and special. Post-anything solo in beginning of No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun with jazzy background is it for example. It's like studying bacterias, you have to use microscope and concentrate, see the small things that can cause a lot of troubles. Same (even opposite) thing here, you have to listen closely, watch for these elements, little parts of greater puzzle, because they're here and will reward you with one, important thing. You will like this album.

4(+), because after long string of PT albums, I see a lot of original thoughts, new ideas and opposite of boredom. But it depends maybe too much on noise and silence, more than would be appropriate.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Insurgentes' - Steven Wilson (8/10)

What does Steven Wilson's 'Insurgentes' and a turkey dinner have in common?

They both put you to sleep.

Don't fool yourself; this is definately not a Porcupine Tree album under a different name. Steven Wilson has used this solo record to explore all of the facets of his music, not just the typical style that is heard in much of the Porcupine Tree material. There are a few songs a la Porcupine to entice listeners, but there is also stuff that resonates his other projects, particularly his drone project 'Bass Communion.' All of these styles are melded into something that is mellow and noisy.

The first few times I listened to this album, I literally fell asleep. Not to discredit the album, but it is very quiet for the most part, and it risks slipping into the realm of background music. Some of the stuff sounds like something that you could expect from Steven Wilson typically (the soaring 'Harmony Korine'), other material sounds almost exactly like The Mars Volta ('No Twilight In The Courts Of The Sun.')

The album's production is generally very thoughtful (as is most of Wilson's material) except a few moments where either by fault or intent, the mixing suddenly goes out of whack and certain tracks become twice as loud. The best example of this is in the 'climax' of 'No Twilight.' Hurts my ears every time.

The album doesn't work out to be one of the brightest moments in Steven Wilson's career, but it is interesting to see the man work without the parameters expected of Porcupine Tree. Highlights include the first track, 'Harmony Korine' (which has a mind blowing video courtesy of Lasse Hoile,) the title closing track, and 'Venero A Las Hadas' which at first passed me as being excessively boring and mellow, but it took me a few listens to see how aesthetically beautiful it sounds. Very dreamlike and lucid.

All fans of Porcupine Tree should at least check out the album, because it is really good. I cannot expect this sort of varied, calm music to be everyone's thing, however.

Do not expect a Porcupine Tree record with this one!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars When this album came out I gave it very little attention or credit as I was too ensconced in Steven's Porcupine Tree approach to prog. At first I was turned off because my previous connection to Steven had been through the Porcupine Tree releases and this felt like a direction I did not like--more simplisitic, straightforward rock, especially when compared to the final PT release, the extraordinary "Fear of a Blank Planet." Over the years I have given this album some attention and it has grown on me.

Four star songs: 6. "Significant Other" (4:32) (8.5/10); 10. "Insurgentes" (4:04) (8.5/10); though simply based, there are some excellent displays of musicianship in #5. "No Twilight Within the Courts of The Sun" (8:38) (8/10); 4. "Veneno para las hadas" (6:01) with Jordan Rudess' delicate piano work (8/10); 2. "Abandoner" (4:43) (8/10); 1. "Harmony Korine" (5:07) (7.5/10); 8. "Twilight Coda" (3:28) (7.5/10); 3. "Salvaging" (8:17) (nice strings, Dave Stewart) (7.5/10); 9. "Get All You Deserve" (6:20) (7.5/10), and; 7. "Only Child" (4:27) (7/10).

Stiil, only a good album; three stars; recommended fans of all things Steven Wilson.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Insurgentes is fueled by an intense and dark internal fire. It has a life of its own. A strongly atmospheric and rather personal exposé, it comes across as vivid and naked in its urgent, intense delivery and truly stands out in comparison to what I've previously heard from the man.

Skillfully combining various atmospheric and texture-heavy types of music like ambient, shoegaze, post-rock, noise rock and industrial with progressive and alternative rock is what we're dealing with here. And a fair bit of experimental aptitude in putting all these disparate influences together and making it all feel cohesive and valid. I find it appealingly hard to generalize and summarize. It's a fractured, eventful experience, but connected by broad brush-strokes of shared moods and instrumentation.

Waves of soaring melancholy and gritty frustration collide with a strangely melliflous and appealing sense of sorrow on Insurgentes. It comfortably juggles bleak introspection, intimacy and isolation with more direct and expressive outbursts, but always remains firmly rooted in the darker, more conflicted part of the emotional spectrum. You won't find a lot of happiness here. Instead the warped, near-dystopian urban alienation and isolation would find a perfect physical companion in a cold drizzle over your smoggy, disintegrating industrial wasteland of choice. Gloomy. But never dehumanized. There's immense passion (and longing!) that lie just beneath the surface, ready to come to the surface when given an opening. The stark contrast just makes it all the more heart-wrenching and cleansing when it shines through.

Luscious, bitter-sweet delicacies from a distantly ringing, picked guitar and a fragile piano, musical box, glockenspiel or other contraption generate soundscapes of childlike innocence and nostalgia. Atmospheric synthesizers mystify and set the scene. Suddenly everything erupts in lashes of triumphant guitar glory. A shimmering, vibrating wall of sound, striving for the light. Primal, screechy mess meets tender melodiousness. A wash of processed noise over a trip-hop rhythm segues into a more ambient and melodic electronic voyage. Snarly, repetitive bass riffs and dexterous, fluid and fiery guitar soloing and some disciplined, angular guitar riffs. Strings! All of a sudden there are lush and beautiful strings! An indistinct fusion of soaring guitar and electronics next to abrasive, industrial noise that grows into vortexes of insanity. Back to a mellow and melancholic ballad, with a gifted mix of pop hooks and atmosphere. Some scathing, heavy guitar passages that recall King Crimson, complete with nervous and slightly ominous keys as contrast. Dreary and oppressive background noise buzzes and hisses under a plaintive, minimalistic piano and some vague, fractured and screechy guitar. Thundering, lingering chords hang doom-like over anxious, ever more invasive floods of jarring electronic drones.

A potent, but possibly toxic brew.

Additionally, I adore how structures fall apart, dissolve and expand into texture and ambient brilliance rather than conform to Wilson's characteristic stop/start, mellow/heavy, dark/light, spacey/riffy dualisms. They're still there, but borders are blurred and composition freer, choosing to expand and bring forward more tangential sounds and colours that otherwise would have been confined to a background role. It's a freer, more organically evolving group of compositions. The attention to detail is stunning and everything feels like it's in its right place, but it never comes across as planned, calculated or expected. And that goes for the moods and emotions on the albums as well. They come together in nuanced, complex and often contradictory ways that perhaps more than anything add to the sprawl and emotional impact of Insurgentes.

5 stars. Some serious stuff.


Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams
4 stars I rediscovered this first Steven Wilson cd listening to the cd/dvd edition with a surround sound. After listening to his recent releases i didn't remember clearly how was his first output. But after listening this 5.1 mix, i can only say that this is pure Steven Wilson without the Jazz element present in some of his late stuff. This cd as big guest musicians, like Tony Levin, Jordan Rudess and Gavin Harrison. "Harmony Korine" is a intense and heavy opener. "Abandoner" display his love for the electronic and techno style with some hypnotic sounds in a strange atmosphere. "Salvaging" is slowly building the melody culminating in a wall of guitars, a string orchestra finale and a loud drums sound at the end. "No Twilight Within The Courts of the Suns" bring some metal sound with a Porcupine Tree style, some guitar heroics and a surprising heavy ending after a moment of silence. "Significant Other" is a song that is building up slowly the melody again here with some intense atmosphere showing the talent of Steven Wilson to alternate between the quiet and the heavy. "Only child" is more accessible and different, but still good. "Get All You Deserve" start quietly with the piano to create that big guitar riff and intense drumming in a post apocalyptic atmosphere. This atmosphere is what i felt through out this hour of music. It's a dark journey, with some melancholic feel but also some kind of rebellion of a man against adversity to become what he is.
Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars While Porcupine Tree effectively began as a STEVEN WILSON solo project skirting along for a while pumping out the latest Pink Floyd 2.0+++, the mastermind behind the successful project desired to create band dynamics by collaborating with similarly inspired musicians but by the time 2007's 'Fear Of A Blank Planet' was released, WILSON was beginning to feel the band's creative edge waning and fulfilled his desire to return to a solo career only this time under his own name. He spent a great number of hours in many studios across the globe ranging from Israel and Japan to Mexico City which is where he found the name for his debut solo release INSURGENTES derived from Avenida de los Insurgentes which is the longest avenue in all of the Mexican capitol city. After a taste of total control once again, WILSON would join his former bandmates for one more final album before embarking on his own musical journey. INSURGENTES is the point where he began to expand beyond the Porcupine Tree sound and incorporate more disparate influences into the mix.

While clearly rooted in his Porcupine Tree space rock days, WILSON's debut release takes more liberties and find new ways to express his unique stamp on space rock by adding post-punk elements as well as shoegaze as well as the expected Pink Floyd elements that had always been one of the main driving forces. With Joy Division type riffing and fuzzy haze effects remnant of My Bloody Valentine, WILSON found a new way to unleash his signature detached atmospheric branch of melancholic progressive rock complete with all the addictive melodic hooks you would expect from a STEVEN WILSON release. INSURGENTES delivers all the goods that any Porcupine Tree fan would come to expect and then some with heavy guitar riffs that reel you in and let you sink into a deep depressive atmospheric bath of synthesized contemplation about life's existential quandaries all dressed up in some of the most polished production and symphonic elements that exist in modern rock music.

INSURGENTES is a beautiful musical journey through the heavily dissonant, melodically engaging with pleasant symphonic attractions suddenly bursting into a terrifying drone and noise segment (such as the superb track 'Salvaging.') as well as rueful ballads trading off with angular guitar freak outs that reverberate to the heavens and back. This debut shows WILSON in a contemplative and reflective mode as he traverses through the sonic web of sound that he weaves so skillfully somehow knowing exactly how to juxtapose every note with the correct tones, timbres and performance dynamics. INSURGENTES is one of those albums i can truly get lost in as it makes me feel like it is a sound cloud that has engulfed my very essence and i'm a part of its existence while it's playing, a quality very few other releases can achieve. The atmospheric ratcheting up of emotions that result in deftly developed crescendos displays WILSON's perfectionist tendencies. Each and every little detail seems to have been ruminated upon for its most sublime effect. This is one that is best experienced very LLLOOOUUUDDD!!!!

Review by The Crow
3 stars Before the breaking-up/hiatus of Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson released his first album under his own name giving us an enjoyable but not really memorable experience.

Wilson managed to reunite a bunch of great musicians to help him recording this album. The legendary Tony Levin on bass, the habitual Theo Travis, the gifted Porcupine Tree's drummer Gavin Harrison, Dream Theater's Jordan Rudess... Impressive, just like the great sound of the album achieved by Steve Wilson himself.

But the problem is that despite the undeniable quality of the album and production, the music does not reaches the great level what Porcupine Tree was achieving at this moment. After things like Deadwing and Fear of A Blank Planet, Insurgentes just can't compete. But let's talk about the songs!

Harmony Korine must be a Porcupine Tree leftover because it has the band's trademark, despite being a little too repetitive. A good song anyway. But Abandoner is some kind of downfall... An electronic base, a good work of Theo Travis, but nothing more. Just dull and not surprising at all.

Salvaging is darker and ominuos, and also better. The second half of the song is psychedelic and ambiental, till the drums appear again to end the song properly. Veneno para las Hadas is another ambiental tune, with good melodies but utterly intrascendent. But No twilight between the courts of the Sun is another highlight. Long, dense, great drums and maybe another Porcupine Tree's leftover.

Significant Other brings excellent vocal melodies and another wall of sound towards the end of the song. Only child is my personal favourite here with its strong bass line. Unfortunately Twilight Coda is another pointless song, just a transition to Get All you deserve, a very melancholic song with a strong No-Man feeling wich also gains intesity towards the end. I think Wilson uses this formula too much in this album... A song that starts in a mellow and interesant way wich gains in decibels in the last minutes. A lot of songs have this structure on this album and the result is a bit foreseeable in my opinion.

Insurgentes closes this album beautifully, in a very intime way.

Conclusion: Insurgentes has its flaws. In my opinion too many to consider it an essential addition to any prog collection. But the followers of Steve Wilson will surely be very pleased with an album that collect a lof of ideas and direction that this great musician had till the publication of this album 2008.

It lacks a clearer direction, proggression in its songs and a bit of hook, but Insurgentes it's nevertheless a good album.

Best Tracks: Harmony Korine, Salvaging, No Twilight Between the Courts of the Sun, Only Child, Insurgentes.

My rating: ***

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Steven Wilson's first studio full-length solo album released under his own name is Insurgentes, released in 2008. In respect to Porcupine Tree's discography, this was between their albums "Fear of a Blank Planet" (2007) and "The Incident" (2009), which are their last two studio releases. The music on "Insurgentes" reflects the feel of the music from both of these albums; dark, sinister and an effective use of dynamics. Wilson believed that music didn't have to be loud to be evil and dark, and he proves that beyond all doubt in this album. However, as is the case with all of Porcupine Tree's albums in their later years, the music is also strikingly beautiful and emotional.

The big difference here between SW's solo album and PT's albums is that this one is almost unapologetically sinister where is PT's albums you often got bits of sunlight and hope in them, there just isn't much of that to grasp onto in this album. That's okay, because that is what Wilson does best. "Insurgentes" has a very powerful punch to it that echoes in your head long after you stop listening. The album itself was recorded in several different studios worldwide. One of those places is near Mexico City which is where the avenue that the album is named after is located; Avenida de los Insurgentes.

This excellent album is very dynamic, is quite dark and foreboding, yet it is pensive and lovely at the same time. It's this style that made Wilson so popular among heavy prog lovers. Wilson says he took inspiration from many different styles including shoegaze, post-rock, drone rock and etc for the songs on this album. He also brings along a lot of guests to help out on the album including Gavin Harrison, Tony Levin, Jordan Rudess, Clodagh Simonds, Theo Travis and many others.

Harmony Korine - Mid-tempo and dark with a jangling and descending riff supporting a familiar Wilson vocal tune. Heavy, repeated guitar chords build tension while sudden cut-offs provide some silent seconds to catch your breath. Sounds very much like it could have been a Porcupine Tree track.

Abandoner - Electronic percussion brings in a simple keyboard backing. Dissonant acoustic guitar plays against the simple synth as Steven's eerie vocals carry the tune. The minor key evokes the feeling of unease and later, eerie guitar quietly announce a sudden explosion of heavy darkness that seems to come out of nowhere. Dark and forboding.

Salvaging - A slow, steady beat along with a pounding bass pushes this one forward. Again, more of Steven's dark and dismal beauty permeates this track which brings in heavy guitar riffs in early. After 3 minutes, heavy, fuzzy guitar blasts forth over the pounding bass riff which continues to build tension. Vocals return at 4 minutes, then the whole thing quiets down to synths, a drum beat (which soon ends) and then things take an almost orchestral turn. Beautiful, chiming guitar notes echo above the strings as this lovely section continues. However, after a while, the strings sound threatening and then plodding percussion and heavy dissonant droning takes over and pulls this track reluctantly to it's ending.

Veneno Para Las Hadas - This one turns more atmospheric and pensive and the vocals take the melody against this more minimal background. The music swells slightly as it nears the middle and the repeating bass note in the background brings in tension as a lovely synth melody plays, but doesn't take over. The softer sound continues and finally the chord resolves around 4 minutes in. The rest of the song mirrors a bit of hope as the song softens to a soft and muted piano as it ends.

No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun - Soft, but rambling percussion and sudden loud guitar outbursts make this one a bit trance-like. The bass builds the main riff in the background, getting louder and louder and the guitar gets more forceful. It all crescendos to a dark and heavy groove while the guitar literally wails over the top of it all, and it still builds in intensity and loudness. After 3 minutes, the climax is reached and things become quite dark and intense as it pushes forward. This suddenly drops off around 4 minutes as it gets quiet with just a bass, soft percussion again, and whispered vocals which soon take on a hesitant melody. Things build and suddenly break off quickly throughout as Wilson plays around with dynamics as he does so well. The arpeggio of the piano is quite appealing also in the last half.

Significant Other - A nice, smooth track that has the feel of "Lazarus", heavenly and lovely, but still dark and foreboding at the same time. This almost has an alt-metal feel to it. The beat is steady this time and has that Pink Floyd feel to it that we all love from SW. It does manage to get quite loud towards the end however as everything is pushed to the brink to suddenly break off to soft chimes.

Only Child - A steady, straight ahead beat and a solid bass line support the vocals as guitar effects swirl around it all. There is a somewhat noisy instrumental break and intensity is built up for the 3rd verse.

Twilight Coda - Slow, peaceful, yet somewhat menacing short instrumental using mostly acoustics and lots of atmospheric effects.

Get All You Deserve - Slow and pensive, Steven's falsetto vocals with dark piano with some echo. It's not until past the halfway mark before loud guitar chords and heavy percussion comes in, then it slowly crescendos into a noisy ending.

Insurgentes - Somewhat similar to the feeling "Collapse the Light into Dark" from In Absentia. Repeated piano chords and a nice vocal melody, however some soft guitar joins in later. It's a nice coda to the album.

As is the case with Porcupine Tree albums, this album also came in a limited edition which contained a 2nd CD with songs recorded in the same sessions but were left off the main album. There are 5 more tracks included on the second disc and 4 of these five were included on the vinyl edition as Side D. These tracks continue in the same vein as the rest of the album, but you can never get enough of a great thing, so you'll want to hunt down the extra tracks. "Port Rubicon" is a study in dynamics going from soft and pensive to slogging and noisy heaviness. "Puncture Wound" is more straightforward, but the synths take on the menacing and dark tones here. "Collecting Space" is a great instrumental, that might sound a bit unfinished, but it is understood why it was left off because it sounds a bit out of place and "sunnier" than most of the album. The stringed koto is worth the trip as it sounds really cool. "Insurgentes (Mexico)" is a different version of the song from the regular album. The last track is untitled but is actually the b-side to the "Harmony Korine" single which is called "The 78".

This is really a hard hitting album which fans of the latter Porcupine Tree albums will probably also love. It follows a lot of the same formulas as those albums with dark and dynamic songs which range from quiet and pensive to loud and heavy sometimes without warning. I find it even darker and more brooding than those albums, but it still brings me the same satisfaction. I do miss some of the bright sections that keep the PT albums from being overly depressing however, and that tends to drive the overall rating down for me, but the album is still one that I play quite often anyway.

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
3 stars Steven Wilson, one of modern prog's most prolific and celebrated artists. The leader of many projects like his mixes of popular bands like King Crimson and Gentle Giant, and musical experiments like Storm Corrosion and Bass Communion. He is best known for his efforts in the band, Porcupine Tree. Not only is he well respected in the progressive rock community but also in many other Music communities such as ambient fans, metal fans, even pop and jazz fans. He is really prolific and considerably so. It wouldn't be a surprise that a solo career of his would be instantly gratifying and successful. However every career starts somewhere, whether it's a slow start, or a quick scale to the top. With this release, I feel like it's the former rather than the latter.

Let's start with the positives. I really dig the darker and more melancholic sound that this album exudes. It's well thought out and free form, it's quiet but loud at the same time. I also think the experimentation on this album is pretty interesting. You can tell Steven Wilson was trying new things on this album, at least somewhat. Steven's vocals are pretty tight too, lots of highs and lows, and it captures the music greatly and the tone he clearly wants to convey. I definitely feel the emotions Wilson is showcasing on this album. It is also pretty textural, a lot more use png quieter moments rather than loud and bombastic scores of the songs on his future releases. It's quite impressive on how differently this album can go from quiet and sad to loud and angry on a dime, while other bands would prefer to have some kinda build up, which is definitely a quality of life accomplishment that Steven provides.

But this album has quite a bit of problems. One such problem is that it feels like Steven Wilson is trying to make another Porcupine Tree record instead of it's own thing. Plus a good number of songs like Veneno Para Las Hadas and Get All You Deserve are fairly boring and forgettable. I can definitely tell Steven really was passionate about this album, but it was clearly at a time when he was passionate about Porcupine Tree which mixed with this album's sounds, making it rather unoriginal. I wouldn't mind if this was just a Porcupine Tree album, but this being a solo album makes this feel a tad weird next to his later works like The Raven That Refused To Sing and 4 1/2.

This is a weird album for me. It has a good amount of moments that are memorable and nice to me, but there are just some aspects that make me scratch my head. I would recommend this if you want a little bit more of that Porcupine Tree sound, but I wouldn't recommend this as the first Steven Wilson album to check out. It's fairly good, but it's not great.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Perhaps we should have seen the long Porcupine Tree hiatus between The Incident and Closure/Continuation coming, because prior to knuckling down with Porcupine Tree to tackle The Incident, Steven Wilson put out this solo album which suggested that he was more than willing to continue exploring dark prog territory without Porcupine Tree themselves (though Gavin Harrison does swing by to provide drums on some tracks).

Indeed, Insurgentes prompts the question of "What's the difference between a Steven Wilson solo album and a Porcupine Tree one?", which is harder to answer than you might think. After all, early on Porcupine Tree was very much a Steven Wilson solo project, and it was only really during the sessions for The Sky Moves Sideways that it started evolving into being an actual band. That said, with Wilson being the most prominent vocalist and exerting significant sway over Porcupine Tree's songwriting and aesthetic, one might question what he'd find to do on a prog- oriented solo release which he couldn't already perfectly happily do on a Porcupine Tree album.

To my ears, Insurgentes at first sounds like an exploration of a path not taken by Porcupine Tree themselves. It reminds me a lot of where the band might have gone had they stuck with the Radiohead-adjacent, indie-electronic New Prog sound of the era of Stupid Dream, Lightbulb Sun, or Recordings, rather than going the more prog metal- adjacent direction they took on In Absentia onwards, but still with a similar trajectory towards darker and grimmer sounds rather than staying in the wistful dreamscapes of their late 1990s era. Bit by bit, though, heavier material creeps in, until by Salvaging we're in a sort of doomy post-rock world; if early Porcupine Tree was prone to neo- psychedelic dreaming, this is getting into a very bad trip indeed, though the soothing conclusion to the title track suggests that calmer weather is coming.

As with Porcupine Tree, Insurgentes presents a very modern approach to prog, informed by the past but making no attempt to mimic it. Like I said, it feels like in a parallel universe it could be a Porcupine Tree album, had the project evolved down a different route, but as it stands I'm glad to live in a timeline where we have both Porcupine Tree's metal-tinged mid-2000s direction and this striking artistic statement from Wilson as a solo artist.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Steven Wilson's solo career began before Porcupine Tree's disbandment, in 2008, with the release of Insurgentes. Compared to Porcupine Tree's output, Insurgentes is more rooted in alt-rock than metal, and there's a greater electronic footprint. It's got some weird, dissonant moments mixed in among t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2904184) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Monday, April 3, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The very first and most radical. Crazy, creepy, uncompromising, brave, desperate. Underline all of the above. Thank God, in our time (it was in 2008) there are madmen who can leave their "comfort zones" and release a hard and unexpected disc. And exactly the disc, for Steven Wilson is a vinyl d ... (read more)

Report this review (#2482053) | Posted by Devolvator | Thursday, December 3, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars It was only a question of time when Steven Wilson issues a proper solo album and here we are. Not surprisingly, this album bears some similarity to the previous work with Porcupine Tree, such as the first track of the album, Harmony Korine. Abandoner sounds first like a track by Pineapple Thief, ... (read more)

Report this review (#1948206) | Posted by sgtpepper | Saturday, July 14, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 3.5 Stars. Dark new beginning Insurgentes was a big surprise to most fans of SW. While he had produced solo material via IEM and Bass Communion, they were created only so that Wilson could project his more experimental and obscure ideas elsewhere. However Porcupine Tree was his main band that wa ... (read more)

Report this review (#1047732) | Posted by LakeGlade12 | Sunday, September 29, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 10/10 First of all, if you are thinking that this is another album Porcupine Tree, sorry to disappoint you, boy. That's Steven Wilson in its essence. Showing its myriad influences, which here include experimental music, shoegaze, alternative rock, drone and stuff. Each of their three album ... (read more)

Report this review (#982826) | Posted by voliveira | Thursday, June 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Steven Wilson released his first solo album under his own name (he had released solo albums before, but they were under some sort of other name, eg Bass Communion), named Insurgentes in 2009. Some people were a bit confused as to why he would do this, as Wilson had explored pretty much all the ... (read more)

Report this review (#913457) | Posted by zeqexes | Thursday, February 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "INSURGENTES" is the beginning of Steven Wilson's solo career, and a solid effort to say the least. You can easily spot out some New Age influences, experimental, electronic, progressive, jazz, fusion, etc. There are so many influences here! That's one of my favorite things about Steven, thoug ... (read more)

Report this review (#567905) | Posted by theRunawayV | Monday, November 14, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I really would like to give this one star, but judging by the glowing reviews I see all over the place (and from friends whose opinions on music I greatly value), I must be missing something. I hear simple musical progressions, repeated over and over again, one per track for the entire album, a ... (read more)

Report this review (#548424) | Posted by infandous | Tuesday, October 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Insurgentes, released in late 2008, marked the first solo effort of the endlessly prolific Steven Wilson, to great excitement among fans of his numerous other projects and collaborations. As of this writing, the accompanying documentary (directed by Lasse Hoile) is about to be released, to simil ... (read more)

Report this review (#297573) | Posted by ergaster | Sunday, September 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is the first official solo album by SW, althought he has already released numerous records under other pseudonyms or in other projects like Blackfield, No-man, Bass Communion and I.E.M. This one however is different, and significantly better (imo) than any of the other SW solo projects.I act ... (read more)

Report this review (#256446) | Posted by idiotPrayer | Wednesday, December 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is definitely a Steven Wilson album. It sounds like a Steven Wilson album: the song structure and style is very reminiscent of his work in Porcupine Tree and Blackfield (unfortunately my knowledge of Wilson's work dries up after those two projects), and it sounds like him when he sings ... (read more)

Report this review (#235028) | Posted by Una Laguna | Tuesday, August 25, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 'Insurgentes' is an album which every progressive fan must get hold off. A very dark, beautiful album (like SW's work from PT and Blackfield) with moments in songs that will send a chill down your spine. The vocal melodies in all the songs are melodic, catchy and something that gets stuck to yo ... (read more)

Report this review (#221391) | Posted by BLITZKRIEG | Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Between 3 and 4 stars depending on what sides of Steve Wilson we are in for ! As a first review (ever) on Progarchives, I choose the latest of one of my favorite artist these days : Steve Wilson's Insurgentes. Insurgentes is really a side project of musical pieces that might appeard separatl ... (read more)

Report this review (#212207) | Posted by Ultime | Thursday, April 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Where does one draw the line between a Steve Wilson solo album and his bands like Porcupine Tree or Blackfield? It can be hard to tell. Having been listening to this album on MP3 for the passed couple of months, and finally now on CD, I feel that many of the songs on this album could easily fi ... (read more)

Report this review (#205954) | Posted by proggesser | Tuesday, March 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album brings a few things to mind after listening to it over and over with the bonus disc. It is the patented Steven Wilson sound and style of song writing. I feel a heavy Nine Inch Nails influence on the general feel of the album, if NiN was prog alot of songs would sound just like this. Al ... (read more)

Report this review (#202051) | Posted by WindKun | Sunday, February 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Ethereal, ambient, moments of brilliance. Steven Wilson travels some new territory, and imprints his sound in this great effort. I am reminded of previous efforts The Sky Moves Sideways and Up the Downstairs, not to say that the record here is different. A follower of Wilson Co. will take from ... (read more)

Report this review (#199515) | Posted by Timdano | Saturday, January 17, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Though I agree with what some fellow reviewers have said (about some of the songs being at home on Wilsons other projects), I overall feel that this is an awesome solo effort. I found all of the songs to be warm and inviting, unlike the cold and distant, yet technically brilliant, FOABP. I enjoy ... (read more)

Report this review (#195059) | Posted by pagan97 | Friday, December 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Here it is the album I have been pretty excited about for a while. Steven Wilson the solo album! Harmony Korine - This song is the most powerful song on the entire album. The song starts off very smooth. It is not until the chorus that the song really starts to pick up. This song very muc ... (read more)

Report this review (#194656) | Posted by michaelwk8 | Monday, December 22, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An excellent collection of songs with fantastic production...some very beautiful moments... obviously there are PT, No-man and Blackfield moments....and some parts that remind me of Red by King always great vocals...and less than happy lyrics. Although I like his collaborations... ... (read more)

Report this review (#194608) | Posted by Peachy | Sunday, December 21, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars =Why are all his songs so SAD...? Because they make him HAPPY! - and me, too ...!> Steven Wilson, Undisputed Master of the Genuine Beauty that is/are Porcupine Tree, Blackfield and numerous other projects, once was asked why all of his songs are so truly SAD. His answer? - Because they make m ... (read more)

Report this review (#194301) | Posted by Antennas | Thursday, December 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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