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STEVEN WILSON

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Steven Wilson biography
Steven John Wilson - Born 3 November 1967 (Kingston upon Thames, London, UK)

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.

Photo by Lasse Hoile

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.

⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2013 ⭐

⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2011 ⭐

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 o...
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Buy STEVEN WILSON Music


Grace For Drowning (2CD/BluRay)Grace For Drowning (2CD/BluRay)
KSCOPE 2020
$14.40
$17.80 (used)
The Raven That Refused To SingThe Raven That Refused To Sing
KSCOPE 2017
$28.98
$33.17 (used)
To The BoneTo The Bone
Caroline International 2017
$6.77
$9.77 (used)
The Raven That Refused To SingThe Raven That Refused To Sing
KSCOPE 2017
$10.08
$11.32 (used)
Hand.cannot.erase [Blu-ray]Hand.cannot.erase [Blu-ray]
Extra tracks
KSCOPE 2017
$15.71
$11.18 (used)
Steven Wilson:4 1/2 [Blu-ray]Steven Wilson:4 1/2 [Blu-ray]
Extra tracks · Surround Sound
KSCOPE 2017
$9.61
$9.63 (used)
Get All You DeserveGet All You Deserve
Blu-ray
KSCOPE 2017
$13.99
$9.55 (used)
Drive Home ( Cd & Dvd Set - Sleevepac )Drive Home ( Cd & Dvd Set - Sleevepac )
KSCOPE 2017
$7.76
$6.84 (used)
Hand.Cannot.EraseHand.Cannot.Erase
KSCOPE 2019
$14.26
$10.10 (used)
To the Bone [Blu-ray]To the Bone [Blu-ray]
Caroline 2017
$10.51
$9.61 (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)

3.82 | 1035 ratings
Insurgentes
2008
4.19 | 1749 ratings
Grace For Drowning
2011
4.28 | 2046 ratings
The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
2013
4.30 | 1483 ratings
Hand. Cannot. Erase.
2015
3.51 | 461 ratings
4 ½
2016
3.59 | 405 ratings
To The Bone
2017

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

4.33 | 184 ratings
Catalogue/Preserve/Amass
2012
4.57 | 30 ratings
Get All You Deserve
2017
4.25 | 20 ratings
Home Invasion (In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall)
2018

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

3.51 | 141 ratings
Insurgentes - The Movie
2010
4.61 | 303 ratings
Get All You Deserve
2012
4.68 | 44 ratings
Home Invasion : In Concert At THe Royal Albert Hall
2018

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

2.81 | 112 ratings
Nsrgnts Rmxs
2009
3.05 | 3 ratings
Tape Experiments 1985 - 86
2010
3.17 | 120 ratings
Cover Version
2014
3.39 | 74 ratings
Transience
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
To The Bone: Deluxe Edition
2017

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

3.74 | 47 ratings
Cover Version
2003
3.62 | 45 ratings
Cover Version II
2004
3.71 | 45 ratings
Cover Version III
2005
3.44 | 53 ratings
Unreleased Electronic Music
2005
3.80 | 42 ratings
Cover Version IV
2006
3.42 | 46 ratings
Cover Version V
2008
4.47 | 76 ratings
Harmony Korine
2009
3.49 | 58 ratings
Vapour Trail Lullaby
2010
3.57 | 52 ratings
Cover Version 6 plus full collection bundle
2010
3.38 | 8 ratings
Demos
2010
4.04 | 48 ratings
Postcard
2011
3.79 | 24 ratings
Cut Ribbon
2012
3.99 | 119 ratings
Drive Home
2013
4.00 | 5 ratings
Luminol / The Watchmaker
2013
4.15 | 13 ratings
Happiness III
2016
3.52 | 21 ratings
Last Day of June (Game Soundtrack)
2017
3.00 | 7 ratings
Permanating
2017
3.50 | 6 ratings
Song of I
2017
3.86 | 7 ratings
Pariah
2017
3.43 | 7 ratings
The Same Asylum as Before
2017
3.29 | 7 ratings
Refuge
2017
3.40 | 5 ratings
Nowhere Now
2017
3.33 | 15 ratings
How Big the Space
2018

STEVEN WILSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 4 ½ by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.51 | 461 ratings

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4 ½
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

2 stars has been described as a stopgap release; as a means of Steven Wilson to release a handful of songs which didn't fit on his more conceptual albums of the time; and even as a proper, though short, Wilson album.

In the 1980s, record companies would sometimes release a song (often an extended version) on 12-inch, 33 RPM vinyl, accompanying it with a handful of odds and ends of interest primarily to fans of the artist. These were nominally 'twelve-inch singles' (or 'maxi singles') but were really pretty different from most twelve-inchers because they often included non-dance tracks (not to mention that they weren't singles). But they also weren't mini-albums, insofar as they were focused on a single song. Marillion and Frankie Goes to Hollywood both used this format to release remnants; as the CD became the primary format, the Smashing Pumpkins and Prince (a Wilson favorite) did the same.

Anyway, that's how strikes me. Specifically, the centerpiece is the opening track, 'My Book of Regrets.' It's a nice crossover rock tune with pop sensibility. Somehow it stays interesting over nine and a half minutes. At half that length, 'Happiness III' takes a while to get going, eventually approaching (though never quite achieving) catchy-rock territory à la 'My Book of Regrets.' 'Happiness III' sounds like a b-side or an outtake (the latter of which is, as I understand, exactly what it was). The other vocal piece is the closer, 'Don't Hate Me.' Here's the perfect song for this type of release: a remake of a Wilson song originally recorded by Porcupine Tree. The value added is that this rendition is based on a live recording, and is arranged as a duet.

The relatively uninteresting instrumentals 'Year of the Plague' and 'Sunday Rain Sets In' seem to have been ideas worth recording, perhaps, but I can see why they were left off of The Raven That Refused to Sing and Hand. Cannot. Erase., respectively. 'Sunday Rain' shifts gears abruptly at 2:55, which must be when the rain sets in for fifteen seconds or so. Nice symbolism. The other instrumental, 'Vermillioncore,' is much more interesting, moving through a handful of disparate sections, one bordering on fusion and another on metal.

In short, is effectively a 'My Book of Regrets' maxi-single: one strong track with a patchwork of curios. This one's really a fans-only product, although for those interested in modern crossover prog, the standalone download of 'My Book of Regrets' would be worth the US$0.99 for which it's currently retailing on amazon.com.

 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.30 | 1483 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I thought the great quality of The Raven that Refused to Sing was hard to achieve. But Steven Wilson proved me wrong!

Because Hand. Cannot. Erase is just another masterpiece of modern prog-rock which showcases the personality of this author and his great ability to create different moods, atmospheres and at the same time cohesiveness in the very same album.

The tracks are catchy, very varied, with a splendid songwriting and crystal clear production. What more could we ask for?

Best Tracks: I really cannot tell. The whole album is just wonderful! Nevertheless, 3 Years Older, Perfect Life, Home Invasion and Happy Returns are my favorite here.

Conclusion: Steven Wilson gave another lesson of his mastery with this wonderful record, which managed to achieve the quality of his previous masterpiece and even surpasses it sometimes.

Far away are dubious times of Insurgentes and Grace for Drowning. Hand. Cannot. Erase. is just an almost flawless prog record which every fan of this kind of music should listen and enjoy many, many times.

My rating: *****

 4 ½ by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.51 | 461 ratings

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4 ½
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Zoltanxvamos

3 stars Honestly, this does take some getting used to. This album (if you can even call it that, it has more of the total time of an EP) is fairly interesting with outtakes from 'Hand. Cannot. Erase' and even taking an classic 'Porcupine Tree' song and rerecording it. The album flows really nicely and does share a good layout (similar to his previous albums from this point on). It isn't a masterpiece but that being said, it is really good for what it is. I wouldn't recommend buying this album unless you want to hear the rerecording on 'Don't Hate Me' and if you are interested in hearing the outtakes from 'Hand. Cannot. Erase'. Fair release Steven, interesting and has some progressive rock elements, but again... only buy this if you are interested in hearing outtakes and a rerecording of Porcupine Tree thrown in.
 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.30 | 1483 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Zoltanxvamos

5 stars Steven Wilson, this and 'The Raven that refused to Sing' are your masterpieces in progressive rock music. Your following album was an abomination but this is retro prog with some modern influences. 'Regret #9' is the 3 and a half minute keyboard solo with some guitar and a solid atmosphere. The meshing song 'Home Invasion' is a darker prog song with some angular tones and more dark influences in prog. As a solo album, this is as diverse as you have been so far. I am glad that you decided to take elements of old prog like 'Genesis' and 'Yes', making some brilliant shining moments. '3 Years Older' is a combination of Yes like vocals with the accompanied by a complex series of time signatures. Of course the singles on this album 'The title track and 'Transience') are opposite sides of prog. The title track being more Progpop and 'Transience' being modern version of 'Goodbye Blue Skys' on the Pink Floyd album 'The Wall'. Of course I can't ignore the emotional single that made the cut for it's own music video 'Routine'. That song has a great time signature (5/4) and makes it unique, taking the beginning lead in piano and vocals. Then getting dark, yet still remaining a rollercoaster of emotions. 'Ancestral' is a very odd song with lots of pieces to dissect, being a Pink Floyd and Genesis collage at the start. Then back to that dark atmosphere that we are all used to with Steven Wilson and his previous band 'Porcupine Tree'. 'Happy Returns' uses a nice chord chart with the same soft sound as the title track and 'Routine' but soft of flipping it on its head (listen through the song and you will see what I mean). The climax of the song with the beautiful chords 'Ascendant Here On', brings the meaning of the word climax with its subtle rain and warm atmosphere. From what I've heard (listening through this album hundreds of times), I can come to the conclusion that this is another staple in modern progressive rock.

Well done Steven Wilson, well done.

 To The Bone by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.59 | 405 ratings

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To The Bone
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Zoltanxvamos

1 stars Oh god Steve... what did you do? This is pretty abhorrent, as a huge Steven Wilson and Porcupine Tree fan... this is as bad as It gets. No Progressive Rock at all on this album... maybe a few bits here and there are Prog-Related but for the most part it's all Pop. I loved 'The Raven that refused to Sing' and 'Hand Cannot Erase' but... what the hell happened? A worse version of Steven Wilson 'Covers'? But original? Nothing technically hard, nothing super atmospheric, nothing to grasp at... not even Clutching At Straws?! (Pun intended). I'm sorry, but this album is as bad as it gets. If this was PopArchives, this would get 5/5 on my scale... but look... this is ProgArchives... ok? Is this prog? No. I hope the new album in 2020 is better because this album is just... abhorrent... for lack of stronger word.
 The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.28 | 2046 ratings

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

Review by Zoltanxvamos

5 stars Alan Parsons and Steven Wilson?? The dream couple of proggers to collaborate on an album right?? If you said yes, then you have already come to your conclusion. This album is the best mix of Porcupine Tree-esc song writing with the collaboration with Alan Parsons classical influences, those together make a super-album with unbelievably talented songwriters writing one of the prog albums of the decades. 'Luminol' is the opening track and a stellar track to open up with at that, it takes the complicated musicianship of Steven Wilson, Adam Holzman, Guthrie Govan and Marco Minnemann, mixed with song writing of Alan Parsons to make a complicated, up and down song, a song that speeds up and slows down when needed. 'Drive Home', the emotional song on the album... or one of them at least. This one is a slow song to begin with, but it takes the song writing of both Steven Wilson and Alan Parsons. Mixed with Alan Parsons production to make an emotional song on this album. 'The Holy Drinker', This song is on the more angular side of the Progressive Rock spectrum, dark and angular. Comparable to bands like Anglagärd and Wobbler, while sticking with the Alan Parsons side of classical influence. 'Clock Song' is a very experimental, soft, quiet song that takes a bit of time to get through and a bit of time to grow on the listener. It has beautiful soundscapes and well-done harmonies by Steven Wilson. 'The Pin Drop' ... oh boy ... this might take a while. Fantastic song, harmonies galore, a bit on the heavy and angular side again. More of a Steven Wilson song in terms of sound writing but it has its moments where you can tell that Alan Parsons helped write it. The chord progression is technically difficult, the keyboard playing is well put together and everything is where it needs to be. 'The Watchmaker' is the longest song on the album, reaching over eleven minutes. It has its dynamic. Quiet bit and louder bits, with a little nod to Rush. The bass part of YYZ can be heard in the song near the end, which I think was a really clever idea. That in my mind indicates Steven Wilson's influence of Rush. 'The Raven that refuse to Sing' is the title track doubled with a music video (online of course). This song is as emotional on this album as it gets, Steven Wilson's lyrics insinuates pain and suffering, the music doubled with Steven Wilson's lyrics makes an emotional progressive rock masterpiece. All together, how good is the album? It is really well put together, good format, well produced (its Alan Parsons...) and most of all the songwriting is absolutely incredible. What is the rating of this album? 5/5. Steven Wilson, you hit the nail on the head.with this album.
 Grace For Drowning by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.19 | 1749 ratings

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Grace For Drowning
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Meltdowner
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Steven Wilson's second album is such a fantastic listening experience, almost like a ritual for me. I always play it in Surround sound in a pitch dark room and let myself plunge into the music.

I find the use of dynamics and silence for dramatic purposes very well done and is particularly refreshing in these brick-walled production days.

There aren't many tracks that stand out from the rest, except maybe "Deform To Form A Star", since they work better in the context of the album. For me this album is like a journey where I find myself going deeper and deeper into the abyss only to find light at the bottom.

Compared to his other works, this album is probably easier to dismiss due to its brooding nature and length but it's incredibly rewarding on multiple listens.

 Tape Experiments 1985 - 86 by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2010
3.05 | 3 ratings

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Tape Experiments 1985 - 86
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars By 2010, Steven Wilson's many fans were demanding to hear the early recordings that he had made and Wilson was at first reluctant to release them, considering them experiments that were not supposed to be heard by the general public. But the demand to hear the early Porcupine Tree tapes, the even earlier recording from "Altamont" and "Karma" and some of the bizarre recordings that he made while "goofing around" with his audio equipment.

This collection called "Tape Experiments 1985 - 1986" brings together some of this material. Originally, this was meant to be sent out to those who pre-ordered the "Insurgents" DVD. That idea was trashed and instead the CD single "Vapour Trail Lullabye" was sent out instead. The music from this album ended up being offered as a free WAV download in 2010 and was later made available physically as a vinyl only edition on the Tone Float label.

This music is definitely strange and eerie, not what you would expect If you have only heard his more recent music. However, Steven was very much into experimenting with sound and psychedelic music. The first track here is the 10 minute soundscape called "Cries of Lucia". This is made up of vocal recordings into a 4 track cassette player that was made by Wilson's father. He layered his voice through a tape delay machine. The result is something my wife calls Halloween music. It is definitely a spooky sound, with various odd noises and textures mixed, processed and placed together into a long soundscape. Wilson said the track was inspired bye Luciano Berio's piece for electronics and voice called "Visage" which was also sampled in a No-man track called "Sinister Jazz". It is also part of the sonic track from "IEM" called "The Gospel According to IEM".

The remaining tracks are shorter and don't go past the 6 minute mark. "I May Be Some Time" utilizes a lot of Farfisa Organ and recording with variable speeds into the same 4-track cassette machine. It is based on David Bedford's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner". It has the same queasy and eerie sounds as that album. "Constellation" was also recorded on the 4 track machine and was inspired by Tangerine Dreams "Zeit". It uses ambient textures made by guitar, moog and a string synthesizer. "Them No. 1" is one of my favorites off this album. It uses the Moog Prodigy and a String Synthesizer with sound effects and radio transmissions mixed in and chopped up.

"The Life and Times of Signmund Freud" is based on concrete techniques inspired by classical - modern music Steven was listening to at the time. He uses a 2-track analog tape as the recording format. The sounds that were recorded were dubbed and overdubbed onto the tape and then cut up into many smaller pieces and re-edited. Wilson considered this a hit and miss technique that took a lot of experimenting around with. He only kept the noises and sounds that worked claiming that it took him 2 weeks to create 4 minutes of music. "Wood Between Worlds" is a live performance directly made to a 2 track analog tape. This one is very atmospheric and peaceful with natural sounds surrounding a Farfisa Organ passed through a tape delay. The natural sounds were recorded from his parent's garden using a mic he hung outside his window. The last track is "Seen". It was recorded onto a 4-track tape machine. He overdubbed various guitar layers through a tape delay. Wilson thinks it was influenced by John Martyn's "Small Hours".

This music will definitely not appeal to several people. It is definitely experimental and nothing like his more current material. If you like the experimental music of Robert Fripp or some of the many Progressive Electronic artists, then you will like this, but there are some tracks that might seem rather amateurish. Remember, when this was recorded, Wilson was pretty much an amateur, but he was developing himself into the amazing musician that he is. I find the recording quite intriguing, but it isn't something I would listen to a lot, except when I am in a mood for something different. These are pretty much experimental soundscapes, and if you listen to them immersively, they can generate some strange images in your mind. Wilson always had a knack for this however, and at least you aren't bogged down by disorganized meandering so much since most of the tracks are manageable. Mostly fans or collectors will be interested in this, but I believe those interested in electronic music will find it intriguing. If there was more wasted material on this album, I would consider it a 2 star album, but since it is smartly edited and not so meandering, I can easily see that it deserves 3 stars.

 To The Bone by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.59 | 405 ratings

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To The Bone
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by DominicS

4 stars I admit that when I first listened to some of the tracks from this album, I was sceptical due to how its more mainstream sound greatly contrasted with his two previous jazz influenced albums, 'Hand.Cannot.Erase' and 'The Raven That Refused to Sing'. However, I now come to regard this album highly in the Steven Wilson catalogue as it is a clear example of what prog rock is all about: developing or 'progressing' the sound of music. Like most of his albums, this one has its own new and unique sound which is exciting and makes a refreshing change from his previous albums ? he has progressed his own sound. Therefore, while the album may sound less progressive, the fact that Wilson has chosen to do something different makes this album stand out in the progressive world.

It is unfair to label this a pop album, like a few fans sometimes do, as that is an immature way of looking at it. The most obvious point to make is that the album features a nine-minute song called 'Detonation' ? not many pop albums include a song of such length. While this would probably please many prog fans, for me this is not the strongest song on the album. Many of the ideas in the song are repeated at different dynamics and textures which at times is highly effective and sounds awesome. However, this repetition is excessive for a nine-minute song and it would have been nice for one or two other sections to have been introduced to add a greater variety. There are definitely stronger songs on the album such as 'Song of I'. This again is not pop like at all, it is more prog due to its ambiguity and atypical three-part structure. The climax at 2:16 is a thing of sheer beauty, almost like an explosion of bottled-up emotion, featuring a beautiful string section that creates occasional dissonance against the other instruments. This then returns to how the song begun, texturally bare and full of tension ? such a fantastic contrast. Other songs from the album do a similar thing, such as 'Pariah' and 'Refuge' ? two of the strongest songs that build an atmosphere in slightly different ways. 'Pariah' follows the conventional verse-chorus structure that showcases Ninet Tayeb's angelic voice perfectly. What makes this song so impressive is the moment at 3:29 when the listener is suddenly hit by an unexpected but glorious wall of noise. It is so overwhelming, and I can't help but smile with joy when I hear it. 'Refuge' has a similar effect on me yet differs from 'Pariah' in the respect that we can hear it building to a climax throughout which succeeds in filling the listener with a strong sense of anticipation. My favourite bit of the song, however, comes at the end when all that can be heard after this immense guitar solo are these harmonically rich piano chords accompanying a harmonica and then Wilson's voice to end ? such a magical moment.

Wilson cleverly balances the album out with more upbeat and rockier songs in order to counteract the many songs on the album that are more mellow and atmospheric. 'People Who Eat Darkness' is very catchy and energetic, displaying the main overdriven guitar tone used on the album ? a superb tone that is an example of an overdrive that is clean and crisp if that makes sense. My favourite bit is the chordal transition from the verse into the pre-chorus as it is an unusual chord change that is unexpected and sounds very cool indeed. The other most obvious upbeat track on the album is 'Permanating' which seems to have divided Steven Wilson fans the most due to many believing it to be a cheesy pop song. This is an unfair judgement; yes, it is a pop song, but the chords used are not typical of many modern-day pop songs, especially the descending intro chords ? I find this interesting rather than problematic. I'm not ashamed to say that I like this song, I admire Wilson's bravery in including such a divisive song but after all he is doing what he wants to do and not allowing himself to be directed creatively by his audience's desires and tastes. I think this is fair to say about the album as a whole, he has gone in the direction he wanted to pursue despite what listeners might think. Although an album such as 'Hand.Cannot.Erase' is a masterpiece start to finish, if Wilson had created a copy of this album I personally wouldn't be as interested in listening to it because it wouldn't be anything new to listen to. Despite what people may think, 'To the Bone' is a new and exciting album with few flaws in it and much to analyse. It is a shining example of what prog is all about: developing and creating new sounds which Wilson has successfully done within his own body of work.

 The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.28 | 2046 ratings

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

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars Despite repeated listens to Steven Wilson's third album, I've never been able to get properly into it, despite the fact that it has been praised as a masterpiece by many, as I find it to honestly be a tiring, somewhat dull listen. Almost all of the songs here are at least somewhat derivative of the prog giants of the 70s, often quite heavily, leading to a collection of songs that lack the same fire that the classics had, leading to a dreary bunch of songs that end up missing the mark to at least some extent. Furthermore, unlike with what normally happens with compositions by Steven Wilson, this contains a significant amount of extended solos and instrumental sections, which not only feel overlong, but also remove the emotional impact that is trying to be achieved in many cases.

A big issue in the album is the fact that many songs have some strong ideas, but then drop the ball, leading to many songs feeling somewhat half baked. 'Luminol' starts off incredibly strong for the first 4 minutes, with a great, energetic bassline with various instruments being played over the top, including an impressive flute solo. This part strongly reminds me of 'Yes' with a bit of 'The Mars Volta' thrown in as well. Unfortunately, after the extremely promising intro, the song slows down considerably, invoking an atmosphere akin to a weaker version of the song 'In The Court Of The Crimson King'. this section drags on far too long and leads to the momentum that was being built up to become lost, meandering in mediocrity for a while, before trying to reclaim what was lost at the end. Both the songs 'Drive Home' and 'The Pin Drop' are extremely tiring to me, and end up causing me to lose any interest in continuing to listen to the album past those points. 'Drive Home' is quite beautiful, but drags on far too long, especially the 4 minute guitar solo, which while very impressive, is also quite boring by the end and feels like it could have been shortened considerably. 'The Pin Drop' breaks the mold of the album by just being quite poor all the way through, rather than just for a portion of it, sounding like a budget 'Porcupine Tree' song, with vocals that are quite weak. 'The Watchmaker' is by far the biggest example of wasted potential however, as the first few minutes are incredibly beautiful and full of powerful emotion, which ends up fading during a long instrumental break, which is a major shame considering how great I find the lyrics. 'The Holy Drinker' and the title track are both fairly worthy songs however, with 'The Holy Drinker' being a fun, enjoyable prog rock track, abandoning the attempts to make an emotionally moving song, instead having the lyrics be about a priest who loses a drinking contest against the devil. While the song undoubtedly carries on for a bit too long, it is not as big an issue as with the rest of the album, and sounds mostly great. The title track is by far the best song here however, successfully doing everything that most of the rest of the album failed to do, creating an extremely powerful, emotional song with good progression and tasteful instrumental sections. The crescendo throughout is extremely slow and subtle, with the climax only being slightly more eventful than the rest of the song, but it works absolutely perfectly, producing what I can easily call one of Steven Wilson's greatest solo songs, and saves the album from being rated even lower.

Despite the immense amount of potential this album has, it drops the ball at almost every turn, and the exquisite production and interesting concept don't do enough to save the album. When it comes down to it, every track other than the title track needs to be cut in some way, since the album as it is happens to be quite bloated and uninteresting for the majority of its length.

Best songs: The Holy Drinker, The Raven That Refused To Sing

Weakest songs: Drive Home, The Pin Drop

Verdict: An album with a great deal of potential, but despite each song having some great ideas, almost all of them drop the ball in one way or another, leading to a patchy record that is bloated and downright boring in places. Since this is such an acclaimed album, I feel like I'm missing something here, so give it a listen anyway if you enjoy Steven Wilson's music, you'll probably enjoy it.

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

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