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STEVEN WILSON

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Steven Wilson biography
STEVEN WILSON, perhaps most widely known for his role as the frontman for the popular act Porcupine Tree, is an artist from the UK who, through his various side projects, has spanned a vast number of musical ideas and concepts. Some of the styles he has been known to utilize are heavy prog, psychedelic, electronica, post-rock, ambient music, drone, metal, and art rock. Furthermore, WILSON is intensely focused on production values, dynamic mixing and mastering, and all other sorts of building albums that sound best in high-quality systems. In short, WILSON has always been an artist that appeals to audiophiles and fans of meticulously produced music. This shows up strongly in each of his bands and projects, but it plays even more of a role in his solo efforts.

Though some of his earliest musical recordings were demos that predated even Porcupine Tree, his solo releases did not truly start appearing until his "Cover Version" singles began in 2003. Essentially releasing one a year, each "Cover Version" contained a particularly unconventional song that WILSON chose to reproduce and one original song by WILSON. Also, in 2004, WILSON put out his experimental electronic album "Unreleased Electronic Music Vol. 1." Neither the "Cover Version" singles nor "Unreleased Electronic Music" feature any other performers, aside from some input from THEO TRAVIS on the latter.

That trend changed at the end of 2008, however, when WILSON released his first full-length, proper solo album, "Insurgentes." Featuring, among others, PORCUPINE TREE drummer Gavin Harrison, Prog bass legend TONY LEVIN, current DREAM THEATER keyboardist JORDAN RUDESS, and saxophonist/flautist THEO TRAVIS, "Insurgentes" proves rather quickly that it is not simply another ambient or electronic release. Toying with many of the styles that can be seen in PORCUPINE TREE, "Insurgentes" is a mature, laid-back album marked by less metal and more noise than PT's later albums. WILSON has stated that the album draws a lot of influence from shoe gazer, post-punk, and drone music.

Essentially, before "Insurgentes," WILSON used his solo moniker for a final catch-all for some of his music, making it difficult to draw comparisons to other bands. Nevertheless, "Insurgentes" makes it possible to site some bands with similar sound. Of notable similarity or inspiration are RADIOHEAD, JOY DIVISION, GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, THE MARS VOLTA, and other WILSON projects such as BASS COMMUNION and PORCUPIN...
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4 1/24 1/2
KSCOPE 2016
Audio CD$8.47
$9.01 (used)
Hand. Cannot. Erase.Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Import
KSCOPE 2015
Audio CD$7.99
$12.47 (used)
4 1/24 1/2
KSCOPE 2016
Vinyl$20.66
The Raven That Refused to Sing: And Other StoriesThe Raven That Refused to Sing: And Other Stories
Import
KSCOPE 2013
Audio CD$7.91
$7.25 (used)
Insurgentes (CD & DVD)Insurgentes (CD & DVD)
Kscope 2009
Audio CD$10.09
$12.95 (used)
Grace for DrowningGrace for Drowning
Import
Kscope 2011
Audio CD$6.71
$3.96 (used)
Get All You Deserve [Blu-ray]Get All You Deserve [Blu-ray]
Multiple Formats · Blu-ray
Kscope 2012
Blu-ray$11.60
$15.96 (used)
Cover VersionCover Version
Kscope 2014
Audio CD$9.71
$13.68 (used)
Drive HomeDrive Home
Import
Kscope 2013
Audio CD$9.55
$13.44 (used)
TransienceTransience
KSCOPE 2015
Vinyl$22.18
$32.48 (used)
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STEVEN WILSON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STEVEN WILSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 831 ratings
Insurgentes
2008
4.19 | 1414 ratings
Grace for Drowning
2011
4.32 | 1537 ratings
The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
2013
4.31 | 893 ratings
Hand. Cannot. Erase.
2015
3.70 | 133 ratings
4 ˝
2016

STEVEN WILSON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.28 | 157 ratings
Catalogue/Preserve/Amass
2012

STEVEN WILSON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.52 | 128 ratings
Insurgentes - The Movie
2010
4.60 | 253 ratings
Get All You Deserve
2012

STEVEN WILSON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.84 | 99 ratings
Nsrgnts Rmxs
2009
3.02 | 79 ratings
Cover Version
2014
3.18 | 30 ratings
Transience
2015

STEVEN WILSON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.74 | 38 ratings
Cover Version
2003
3.64 | 36 ratings
Cover Version II
2004
3.72 | 39 ratings
Cover Version III
2005
3.69 | 39 ratings
Unreleased Electronic Music
2005
3.89 | 35 ratings
Cover Version IV
2006
3.44 | 39 ratings
Cover Version V
2008
4.48 | 66 ratings
Harmony Korine
2009
3.66 | 51 ratings
Vapour Trail Lullaby
2010
3.60 | 39 ratings
Cover Version 6 plus full collection bundle
2010
3.71 | 7 ratings
Demos
2010
4.16 | 43 ratings
Postcard
2011
4.00 | 18 ratings
Cut Ribbon
2012
3.91 | 85 ratings
Drive Home
2013

STEVEN WILSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.31 | 893 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by raven31

5 stars 'Hand. Cannot. Erase.' is one of the greatest triumphs of Mr. Wilson in several respects. First and foremost, this album shows that Wilson succeeded in assembling his electronic and ambient textures and virtuoso performance in brilliant forms. Clearly, he could make records that were supposed to be lauded by prog fans following the approach of 'Raven', which had complex structures and one of the finest performances in modern prog genre. Making such albums, however, could be artistic failure; admiration guaranteed by following the rule might imprison his strengths in making layered and constructed sounds and the results of that choice would make 'Hand.' a generic record. Fortunately (I might have to say expectably) Wilson took fresh sound elements and influences from electronica and contemporary classic music to make the latest full album (we could recognize BoC, Murcof, and Arvo Part etc. in the album) and his arrangement between those current experiment in genres and classic prog influences is in the greatest form he has ever achieved.

Lyrically or thematically the album covers broad and urgent issues; social alienation, freedom, and modern technology etc.. What makes these themes interesting is, however, not the theme itself but how Wilson narrates that kinds of familiar issue. Based on the real haunting story, the theme of album is clearly more concrete than Wilson's last attempts to deal similar issues; furthermore, he adopted various representations, images, and motifs from novels and movies (from Kafka to 'Under the Skin') and mixed those various fragments with superb sound design. For instance, 'Ancestral' is like Sirens voices extended by modern classic music and death metal. 'Routine' could be considered as melancholic poetry read by Kate Bush. The deluxe edition of this album provides much more interesting and imaginative experimentation in that direction.

Needless to say, the production is top-notch and performances are brilliant. The more you listen to the album, the more elements worth delving into you will find. Highly recommended.

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.31 | 893 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

3 stars I'm a bit late to the game in terms of listening to this album but modern prog is hardly something I've been making an effort to keep caught up with.

What I found after finally getting around to hear Steven Wilson's work for the first time (aside from his remasters of 70's classics) is an album that delightfully exceeded my expectations. The production is top notch, as can be expected, and the music isn't too shoddy either. The album contains a mix between shorter, more pop-oriented tunes and longer symphonic prog tracks with a good balance between electric and acoustic textures. The songwriting is strong and some of the solos are quite emotionally moving, especially on Home Invasion/Regret #9, which I believe to be the peak of the album. As with many modern prog releases, "Hand. Cannot. Erase." suffers from the typical problems. The biggest is something that modern prog bands are awful for, which is excess. There are some moments that can be trimmed shorter and quite a bit of padding that isn't really necessary. As well, it sounds a bit derivative at times; some Yes here, Genesis there, Pink Floyd all over, but it doesn't distract and Wilson definitely plays up his influences as sources of strength. The only other complaint I really have, and goes hand in hand with the derivative bit, is that this album doesn't really break new ground. It's something that we've all heard before, a symphonic-ish/crossover-ish/metal-ish/neo-ish prog record that sounds like Joe Satriani playing revamped Genesis material with added ambient Pink Floyd stretches.

All in all this album is somewhere in between a 3 and a 4 star rating, an album that any prog fan could enjoy but not one that they need to have to complete their collection. I'll settle with 3 stars for a good piece of work that does the job.

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 4 ˝ by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.70 | 133 ratings

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4 ˝
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Modern progressive music icon and workaholic Steven Wilson could have rested on the popularity of his very well-received `Hand. Cannot. Erase' and `The Raven that Refused to Sing' albums and successful tours of recent years, (or better yet, got to work on a long awaited new Bass Communion album, hint hint!), but noooooo! He jumps right back a few months later with a superb budget-priced 37 minute compilation entitled `4 1/2', a reference to it being a stop-gap release before his next proper studio album. Sounding like a perfectly coherent true album as opposed to simply a selection of outtakes and newly completed original fragments that it is, it's comprised of three vocal driven tracks and just as many purely instrumental pieces that should please the faithful Wilson devotees that lap up his every release, but it also holds a few genuinely exciting and unexpected welcome surprises buried within as well.

The highlight of the disc is the opening almost ten-minute stunner `My Book of Regrets', an unpredictable mix of indie-rock, observational lyrics with a deceiving poppy chorus and plenty of proudly prog-rock instrumental flourishes over a range of tempos and numerous soloing spots. But the best surprise of all, Steven delivers a guitar solo in the middle that almost calls to mind all those beautiful Delirium Records-era Porcupine Tree releases like `Staircase Infinities', a spacey and chiming ethereal performance that compliments perfectly the finale of `Dark Matter' off Porcupine Tree's classic `Signify' album. Overall it's a terrific piece that covers plenty of ground both current and historical that Steven Wilson and his previous band Porcupine Tree moved through, and most prog rock fans should absolutely adore this one.

Thankfully the rest of the disc also offers very superior material. An outtake from the `Raven' recording sessions, the mysterious shimmering electric piano of instrumental `Year of the Plague' quickly gives way to reflective acoustic guitar, piano and a mix of sampled violin, choir and orchestral elements to give the piece a warmth and great heart. Written in 2003, recorded in 2014 with the musicians from the `Hand. Cannot. Erase' sessions, `Happiness III' reveals itself as one of those rare up-tempo and spirited intelligent (not to mention quite upbeat and joyous!) pop-rockers from the artist, powered by jangling distorted electric guitar strums, humming Hammond organ and a pleasing chorus.

Also from the same `Hand...' sessions, instrumental `Sunday Rain Sets In' (unsurprisingly) moves between gloomy and ghostly eerie instrumentation (some nice darkly jazzy piano runs here and there), but thankfully Steven's acoustic guitar brings little traces of warmth. Sadly, an obnoxious and thrashing heavy burst in the final quarter of the piece for only a few seconds is completely lazy and ruins the beautiful subtle mood the piece was drifting through.`Vermillioncore' just may be the best instrumental piece of all on the disc, a delirious and addictive mix of glistening electric piano, Elephant9-like organ violations and twitching electronics, relentless upfront bass with some heavier guttural spasms, gutsy guitar heaving and even Hawkwind-like up-tempo heavier races.

The album closes on a remake of the wonderful Porcupine Tree track `Don't Hate Me' from their terrific 1998 crossover album of prog rock and indie-pop `Stupid Dream', and while it hardly reinvents the piece completely, it's a worthwhile reinterpretation with plenty to offer. Certainly at the start it badly misses Colin Edwin's thoughtful and distinctive bass murmurs throughout the early verses, sounding quite naked and empty in comparison. A lot of listeners greatly enjoyed female singer Ninet Tayeb's contributions to the `Hand...' album, and she offers a very pleading alternative approach to the chorus compared to Steven's fragile and wounded original. But thankfully the middle instrumental passage lifts the track considerably, a frantic dash of spiralling electric piano, thrashing drum rumbles and bouncing fluid bass raised loud and proud all worthy of any Seventies jazz-fusion album, and Theo Travis delivers another gorgeous Gong-flavoured sax solo, a standout on both versions of the piece.

`4 1/2' is very much comparable to Porcupine Tree's b-sides and unreleased material release `Recordings', which was far more than some mere throwaway compilation (It could be argued that it's much more challenging and complex than the two proper studio albums `Stupid Dream' and `Lightbulb Sun' that came from the same sessions), and it proves that even apparently `lesser' Steven Wilson compositions may just be as worthwhile or even far superior to the strongest outwork of endless other progressive artists. Full of his usual intelligent ideas, plenty of his expected modern and vintage musical influence variety and impressive playing from his musical collaborators, `4 1/2' keeps Steven Wilson's reputation soaring nicely, and fans of both Porcupine Tree and his solo works will be very happy with the results here.

Four stars.

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 4 ˝ by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.70 | 133 ratings

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4 ˝
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Timdano

4 stars Four and one-half - A surprise, in-between interim bridge-between album from workaholic master composer maestro mixer masterer overachiever extraordinaire Steven Wilson!

Jumping in, I'm caught by both stylistic and technical change from recent material - the 36--minute effort finds (forgive the phrase) Wilson at his solo work's most "accessible" and what I find to be the closest to the famed Porcupine Tree sound. Out are most of the avante gardish-ish jazz jam-isms we found on his seminal Raven that Refused to Sing album and to a lesser degree found on Hand Cannot Erase (though that album certainly was more "mainstream" and less jazzy). That should come as no surprise since a majority of the material here was cut from Hand Cannot Erase.

Not being a big fan of jazz in general, this, in this humble listener's opinion, is a good thing...

Highlights-

The album opener "My Books of Regrets" is a lovely nine-minute suite that, after 10 or so listens is really growing on me.

"Happiness III" is a wonderful gem, hummable and would have fit in nicely into of the lighter material we found in 2000s-era Porcupine Tree album.

"Year of the Plague" (dark, the listener can easily tell it's the only track here from Raven) and "Sunday Rain Sets in" (from WIlson's latest) are both lovely instrumental tracks- not the best he's done but great nonetheless.

Yet another vocal-free jam, "Vermillioncore" reminds me a lot of "Bornlivedie" (especially around the 2-minute mark) from one of my all-time favorites Signify.

A perfect Wilson/Ninet Tayeb duet re-imagining of 1999 Stupid Dream's "Don't Hate Me" closes the album (of course it does) finding Wilson and his solo-career comrades perfectly replicating and expanding upon the dreary 17 year-old classic. Theo Travis effortlessly replays his saxophone solo that I've always loved in this song too.

3 3/4 stars rounded to 4.

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 4 ˝ by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.70 | 133 ratings

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4 ˝
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by TheWall7

4 stars Steven Wilson's new EP, "4 1/2", is finally here. Referred to as a 'mini album', this record had to live up to almost impossible expectations set by Wilson's fan base after "Hand. Cannot. Erase", his latest masterpiece. The question is, did it live up? Not exactly, but it it's definitely great in its own right. It's no HCE, and it doesn't try to be.

The album starts out with a piece titled "My Book of Regrets", a classic rock song. Complete with riffs reminiscent of Yes's Roundabout, it's my personal favorite of the album. It's an energetic album starter, playing a similar role to "Three Years Older" from HCE. This track is sure to be recognized as one of Wilson's best.

The next song is titled "Year of The Plague". It originated from recording sessions for "The Raven That Refused to Sing", bringing back the haunting beauty of that record. Wilson originally intended to use this for a movie score, and it certainly sounds like one when you keep that in mind.

The next song, 'Happiness III", is a glorified pop song, and a pretty good one at that. It's probably Steven Wilson at his happiest (no pun intended) and his most... commercial. It's not the kind of pop song you'd expect out of Wilson, who's written many melancholic pop songs with Blackfield and Porcupine Tree; it's more of a radio friendly kind of pop.

What follows is the exact opposite of that. "Sunday Rain Sets In" is a very jazzy song that reprises one of the riffs heard in "My Book Of Regrets". It's a great track on its own, reminiscent of his earlier solo stuff. I think it's the only track that wouldn't have fit in with HCE, maybe along with "Year of The Plague".

The next song, "Vermillioncore", is the heaviest track on the album. It's a piece that would've fit in perfectly with any of the more recent "Porcupine Tree" albums. Minneman's drumming is especially impressive in this track. This would highly appeal to you if you're a fan of Steven's heavier work.

Finally, 4 1/2 closes with Porcupine Tree song "Don't Hate Me". Somehow, a song written for the 1999 album "Stupid Dream" fits perfectly 17 years later. Its lyrics somehow fit perfectly with the HCE narrative. I personally prefer this version to the Porcupine Tree version, largely due to Ninet's stunning voice.

Overall, 4 1/2 may have not been as good as previous Wilson releases, but it wasn't meant to be. As long as you're fine with that, you're treated to an album that's excellent in its own right. It's definitely worth a listen (or 6 in my case), and it's an excellent way to start a year that is likely to offer some incredible prog releases. Do enjoy it!

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 Insurgentes by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.83 | 831 ratings

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Insurgentes
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

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.

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 4 ˝ by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.70 | 133 ratings

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4 ˝
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator

3 stars Steven has come back, with six easy-to-soak songs upon the newest album "4 1/2". Actually, I'm not so familiar with his creation until now enough to discuss his music style or album itself, but his previous album "The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)" has amazed me a lot ... anyway, I could listen to and enjoy "4 1/2" with fresh feeling, whether "The Raven ..." is fantastic or not. Able to mention this album should sound like his straight attitude for pop / rock, not so innovative nor novel though. Indeed the first shot "My Book Of Regrets" has a couple of variations scattered along with his soundscape, but his music basis sounds consistent from the beginning to the end ... Various phrases squeezed can be heard as a mass of rock. This mass cannot be divided into pieces (pop and anti-pop) ... can you?

"Vermillioncore" is another heavy and cool starshine around him. Tight but distorted vibes kick us away. Her vermillion would be attractive, mysterious, and poisonous ... that could kill us swiftly only if we touch this, I imagine. Such an obvious risk and benefit he might launch via this track. Aye for him, rainy Sunday might be a colourful day, I guess through "Sunday Rain Sets In". To run and hide our heads should not always be needed under the Sunday rainy sky, but be careful to get drastic shower or dreadful thunder / lightning sometimes attacking us ... he says upon this colourful stuff. Quite simple but enjoyable. And yes, "Year Of The Plague", almost a solo track by Steven, is one of my favourite songs. We must get immersed in river-flowing-out-like rhythm prints and dreamy, heartwarming melody lines ... he might show something veiled in his inner meditative world for grabbing our serious, sincere reaction in front of the song out.

And as a result ... I suppose all of his sincerity for music would be expressed over the last song "Don't Hate Me", that sounds of kaleidoscopic appearances. Sometimes quiet, sometimes violent (Theo's freakout saxophone is pretty effective), sometimes depressive, and sometimes enthusiastic ... and every vision repeats over and over on a regular basis. This atmospheric tide formed by Steven Project cannot be avoided at all. Every rock fan can enjoy this fantastic rock dish, I'm sure!

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 The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.32 | 1537 ratings

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The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Progkid

5 stars Steven Wilson needs to Introduction and his 2013 effort is one of his best in his musical career(if not the best). He assembles a great cast with musicians such as Nick Beggs, Theo and Guthrie. This album is a tribute to classic prog.The Album has six songs and clocks over 50 mins.The theme is about classic ghost stories and each song reflects that.

1. Luminol - It starts with something like a bass solo then other instruments come in until Theo takes over with his beautiful flute playing. The song is about a street busker who would play everyday at the same time over the years like a routine. He was not very good in playing but he would be there everyday, regardless of the weather conditions, it seemed like not even death can stop him and he'd play even after he died. I must stay I am impressed by Nick's bass playing. It becomes a little quiet and gentle before the song ends in a bang with great playing on guitars and bass

2. Drive Home- The vocals of Steven in this one are beautiful he really improved since his PT days. This song is about experiencing something so tragic that you lose your memory about what exactly happened during that time..its like a lamenting love song(not exactly but kind of missing someone and not knowing what happend) it is accompanied by a great music video. This story was suggested to Steven by the guy who did artworks. Lovely keyboards and acoustic guitars in this one....but Guthrie steals the show with his guitar solo in the end...you need to check this out

3. The Holy Drinker- This is a dark jazz inspired prog song, lovely drum playing on this one and Guthrie is great as usual. Steven sings in a dark tone in this one. Lovely sax by Theo too. This song is about people like journalists who are always critical of other people and are "not very nice". So this guy walks into a bar and challenges another guy for a drinking challenge cause of his ego( that guy is the devil himself) and of course you can't win a drinking competition with the devil( duh! ). So he loses and gets dragged to hell in the worst way possible...well Steven interesting ideas

4. The Pin Drop- The shortest song of the album.Its about relationships and how vulnerable they are.sometimes a simple thing such as a pin dropping down can end it...this song is sung from a female perspective who's killed by her husband and is floating down the river. Quite Sad

5. The Watchmaker- The masterpiece of this album.It is the longest track on the album and is clearly the best. Acoustic guitar and vocals give way to some lovely flute playing and an impossible guitar solo by Guthrie Govan. Some lovely keyboard work too in this one. This song is about being in a relationship without any love and just because you are comfortable with it. Time passes by quick and you realize that now its too late to go back. So the watchmaker kills his wife but she comes back as a ghost and says she has been with him so long that he can't get rid of her and kills him(maybe). But anyway great track

6. The Raven That Refused To Sing- The title track is an eerie and haunting song about a man who lost his sister when he was small and made no friends after her and lived all alone. Whenever he was sad his sister would make him feel alright but now that she's gone and he's old he fears death. He sees a Raven and thinks that its the rebirth of His sister and wants the raven to sing like his sister used to whenever he was sad. Very touching song and Steven does a very good job vocally. Great Way to end a beautiful albun

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.31 | 893 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Meltdowner
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars After the flood of raving reviews and my own excitement for the new album and concert last year, I think I have a much clearer impression of the album now. I didn't find it particularly great before and my appreciation of it lessened since.

First Regret/3 Years Older sounded fantastic at first listen with its energic Squire-ish bass and joyful guitars but soon I realised it's twice as long as it should be, so after 5/6 minutes I'm already waiting for the end.

After this odd start come the two worst tracks of the album in my opinion, the title track and Perfect Life. I honestly can't think of anything positive to say about these 9 minutes, but at least it's not bad enough to skip them (for now).

Fortunately, it gets much better right after: Routine is one of the best tracks of the album. It has an interesting progression, great vocals from Ninet Tayeb and a heartwarming ending.

The next one, Home Invasion, is pretty good too, a Rhodes-led groovy song which is followed by the instrumental track Regret #9, my favourite one. The synth and guitar solos are epic!

Transience is an acoustic ballad that reminds me of some similar tracks from later Porcupine Tree albums. Thankfully, it's a short one.

Ancestral suffers from the same evil as the first track (even more, because I'm not as patient after 50 minutes). It still has a very moving guitar solo from Guthrie Govan, four minutes in, and Theo Travis makes a surprise visit.

The album ends with Happy Returns/Ascendent Here On, another Pop Rock song. Not bad, but a forgettable ending.

Conclusion: I have mixed feelings about this album, since half of it is quite good but the other not so much. With that amount of good musical ideas, I think it could be a fantastic 35/40 minute album, but instead it's way too long. I'm glad I bought it on Blu Ray though, since the sound quality improves the music a bit and alternating between the stereo/surround mixes will make me spin this album more times.

3 stars.

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 4 ˝ by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.70 | 133 ratings

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4 ˝
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

3 stars Heading into this album, I didn't know what to expect. People who read lots of PA reviews of Steven Wilson's various projects will know that I am a longtime fan of the man who was massively disappointed by "Hand. Cannot. Erase.", finding it dull and generic, and with the "Transience" combined starter compilation/limited edition vinylhead-superfan-only release, featuring a weakened cover of "Lazarus", I've been very cautious of his non-Bass Communion work, wondering if he's not just running out of ideas on the solo front but perhaps fishing for sterling. On the other hand, this is an outtakes collection of his, which fellow fans know are veritable treasure chests, with Porcupine Tree's "Recordings", culled from the "Stupid Dream" and "Lightbulb Sun" sessions, a must have, and Continuum's "Recyclings" duology extra treats for big fans of BC and Vidna Obmana's drone collaborations. Being apparently drawn mostly from the HCE sessions gave me particular pause, but I decided to try the release anyways. And why not?

Now, there has been disappointment with part of the album. "My Book of Regrets" was particularly bad, just being an extended version of "Regret #9", already one of HCE's worst tracks. With a title like that, I had been expecting some kind of new track or medley of the Regret tracks, not this disguised bonus track. "Happiness III" is itself a cut that would've fit snugly onto that album, with not much to say about it, though I personally prefer it to all but the first two tracks of HCE.

But then there's the happy surprises. Apparently only one track is sourced from the sessions for "The Raven That Refused To Sing", but "Year of The Plague", "Sunday Rain Sets In", and "Vermillioncore" all sound like they could fit perfectly onto that beautiful piece of popcorn prog, and as a big fan of said album this has me over the moon. The first of these is probably the track actually from the "Raven" sessions, a delicate instrumental with guitar and mellotron. "Sunday Rain" is definitely from the HCE sessions, and it wonderfully marries the styles of "The Raven" and HCE, which I'd say shows what was missing from the latter. And "Vermillioncore" takes "The Raven"'s sounds and marries them with PT style rock-unto-metal progressions, making for a thrilling cut. Finally, the PT cover this time around, "Don't Hate Me", while not quite as good to my ears as the original, compares well, again marrying "Raven" and HCE styles, with Ninet Tayeb beautifully singing the chorus.

On its own, this is another great treasure trove for superfans of Swilson. On top of that, I note that I now know what went wrong with HCE, as well as the fact that album five looks better now, since this is a nice release and Wilson has hinted that this release is in a way related to the upcoming one. Also, I'm totally making a mixtape out of "The Raven" and the three Raven-esque tracks from this compilation.

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Thanks to Dean for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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