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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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Hand. Cannot. Erase.Hand. Cannot. Erase.
KSCOPE 2015
Audio CD$8.89
$9.66 (used)
The Raven That Refused to Sing: And Other StoriesThe Raven That Refused to Sing: And Other Stories
KSCOPE 2013
Audio CD$7.16
$6.21 (used)
Grace for DrowningGrace for Drowning
Kscope 2011
Audio CD$6.92
$5.98 (used)
Get All You Deserve [Blu-ray]Get All You Deserve [Blu-ray]
Multiple Formats · Blu-ray
Kscope 2012
Blu-ray$8.12
$8.11 (used)
Insurgentes (CD & DVD)Insurgentes (CD & DVD)
Kscope 2009
Audio CD$9.97
$9.96 (used)
Cover VersionCover Version
Kscope 2014
Audio CD$6.49
$7.49 (used)
Drive HomeDrive Home
Kscope 2013
Audio CD$7.87
$8.35 (used)
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STEVEN WILSON
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STEVEN WILSON shows & tickets


  • Steven Wilson on 30 Mar 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Teatro Sistina, Roma on 31 Mar 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Kongresshalle Alte Messe, Munich on 2 Apr 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Ottakringer Brauerei, Vienna on 4 Apr 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Divadlo Hybernia, Praha on 5 Apr 2015
  • An evening with Steven Wilson on 7 Apr 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Klub Wytwórnia, Lódz on 8 Apr 2015
  • Steven Wilson at C-Halle, Berlin on 9 Apr 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Congress Centrum CCH, Hamburg on 10 Apr 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Train, Ĺrhus C on 12 Apr 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Amager Bio, Křbenhavn S on 13 Apr 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Palladium, Malmö on 14 Apr 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Göteborgs Konserthus, Göteborg on 16 Apr 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Debaser Medis, Stockholm on 17 Apr 2015
  • Steven Wilson at The Circus, Helsinki on 19 Apr 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Sentrum Scene, Oslo on 21 Apr 2015
  • Steven Wilson on 23 Apr 2015
  • Steven Wilson on 8 May 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Teatro Cariola, Santiago on 9 May 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Teatro Vorterix, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires on 12 May 2015
  • Steven Wilson at El Plaza Condesa on 15 May 2015
  • Steven Wilson at El Plaza Condesa on 16 May 2015
  • Steven Wilson at The Palladium, Worcester on 19 May 2015
  • Steven Wilson at The Egg, Albany on 21 May 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA on 22 May 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Sunoco Performance Theater, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on 23 May 2015
  • Steven Wilson (this is a seated show) on 26 May 2015
  • Steven Wilson on 28 May 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Best Buy Theater, New York on 29 May 2015
  • Steven Wilson at Best Buy Theater, New York on 30 May 2015

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 | 726 ratings
Insurgentes
2008
4.20 | 1264 ratings
Grace for Drowning
2011
4.30 | 1322 ratings
The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
2013
4.34 | 372 ratings
Hand. Cannot. Erase.
2015

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

4.26 | 147 ratings
Catalogue/Preserve/Amass
2012

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

3.46 | 119 ratings
Insurgentes - The Movie
2010
4.58 | 226 ratings
Get All You Deserve
2012

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

2.84 | 88 ratings
Nsrgnts Rmxs
2009
2.94 | 53 ratings
Cover Version
2014

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

3.72 | 36 ratings
Cover Version
2003
3.62 | 34 ratings
Cover Version II
2004
3.67 | 36 ratings
Cover Version III
2005
3.75 | 36 ratings
Unreleased Electronic Music
2005
3.83 | 32 ratings
Cover Version IV
2006
3.41 | 37 ratings
Cover Version V
2008
4.47 | 59 ratings
Harmony Korine
2009
3.67 | 47 ratings
Vapour Trail Lullaby
2010
3.56 | 32 ratings
Cover Version 6 plus full collection bundle
2010
3.60 | 5 ratings
Demos
2010
4.10 | 40 ratings
Postcard
2011
4.00 | 13 ratings
Cut Ribbon
2012
3.88 | 64 ratings
Drive Home
2013

STEVEN WILSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.30 | 1322 ratings

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

Review by Flucktrot
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Having recently reviewed Hand Cannot Erase, I realized that I had yet to review this gem. Given that I focused that review almost entirely on the main man, I want to devote this review primarily to all of the musicians involved, and if there is ever a non-instrumental album to devote to discussion of musicianship, this might be it!

Theo. I love his contributions in just about anything, from Steven Wilson to the Tangent. What I really appreciate it his versatility and ability to add to the texture without having to be cranked up to the max for solos every so often. This is clearly not the Theo Travis band, but this album--in particular the delicate and softer parts, but also not to forget the freaky crescendos--would not be nearly as interesting without his contribution.

Guthrie. What a pro. He brings the blistering solos, the intricate picking, and everything in between. Again, and to his credit, I'm sometimes amazed to hear one of Guthrie's original and creative riffs and then hear the guitar gently fall into the background: usually when you hear something that interesting, it's only a precursor to later overindulding.

Nick. I had never heard of this guy before, but shame on me for allowing that to happen. Steven really needs creative basswork to bring his music to life, and it's great how Beggs can work effectively out in front as part of the melody (Luminol) or resisting the urge to simply be a straightforward rhythm player when others might (the Watchmaker).

Marco. Just like Nick, I had no idea of the quality of Marco's work...until of course I started reading reviews and heard over and over how much of a monster Marco is. It's all true, as he is a fantastic drummer, but I really appreciate his ability to add distinctive fills and patterns to already difficult time signatures.

Adam. Solid throughout, and left me wanting more (which I'm glad I would eventually get with the subsequent album). The jazz influence is clear, but not as pronounced as I was led to believe based on previous reviews. The really remarkable quality of his performance for me here is creation of eerie and surreal soundscapes that are simultaneously reminiscent of Steven Wilson's best work but also not as all derivative.

Steven. I suppose I should mention this guy eventually! Great creativity in songwriting, particularly in balance of instrumentals and orchestration. The one minor critique I would have about this album involves Steven's voice: he goes more often with his basic, thin technique, where a little goes a long way. My favorite vocals from Steven's work involve his work with vocal effects and harmonies to great effect, and perhaps a bit more creativity in this aspect would have brought this album over the top for me.

Regardless, a solid album throughout--interesting, varied, and extremely well played and mastered--with bonus points for the haunting animated videos to the Raven and Drive Home to boot. I'm not ready to call it a masterpiece, but it's definitely at the very next highest level in my book, and a powerful and lasting experience.

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.34 | 372 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Flucktrot
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I have to admit that Steven Wilson as an artist has been a slow grower for me over time, but due to the sheer immensity of his output, and the need to listen to his material more often to really appreciate much of it (particularly the softer, more delicate, bits), my appreciation for his music is now quite high, and I now have to pay attention to basically any stuff he puts out.

There are things such as In Absentia and Raven, which have tons of material that iss easy to love upon first listen and never look back. This album, on the other hand, and similar to much of the rest of Steven's work, takes multiple listens and some focused thinking about the subject matter to truly appreciate. I admit that I might perhaps be in the minority, as some folks appear to have loved this album right from the get-go, but I really have had to give this the benefit of time and persistence to fully appreciate.

Regardless of what might be said about this album and Steven's current status in general, let it be clear that his solo collaboration still sounds quite fresh. Generally avoiding even a hint of staleness with the volume of material associated with Steven is something to appreciate in itself. Part of this freshness must stem from the source: the haunting story of Joyce Carol Vincent, which has captured my thinking and imagination at least as much as the music itself. I'm not sure I would have learned about this case study without Steven's music, so thanks to him for that alone, as the penetrating themes of isolation, deindividuation and bystander effects only seem to be more prominent as the technological and virtual era marches on.

Now to the music!

Highlights: Home Invasion/Regret #9, 3 Years Older, Hand Cannot Erase, Ancestral. I'm basically listing these in order of my favorites on down, and like most, the Home Invasion/Regret sequence represents the best merging of Porcupine Style songwriting, psychadelic freakouts, and exception intensity and musicianship. Quite simply the best part of the album for me, although 3 Years Older is not far behind in terms of creative structure, melodies, and energy. The title track is also quite nice, as it is certainly poppy, but beautifully recorded and catchy. Finally, I almost hesitate to include Ancestral here, as is--sorry to say--disjointed in places, particularly toward the end. But the positives (haunting first half, interesting Magma-meets-metal vibe later on) outweigh the negatives (clunky transitions in spots, overextension of some of the riffing).

Overall, I'm more than happy to have this piece of music, as I--at least for the time being--keep coming back because it leaves me with questions and blurred images that need clarification. Long term, however, I will probably keep to my favorites and skip the whole album experience, because there just aren't quite enough interesting things happening musically in spots.

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.34 | 372 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars While being a reverent but discreet fan of Steve Wilson ever since seeing a PTree concert showcasing "Fear of Blank Planet", I was extremely predisposed to be unusually harsh with my expectations, finding enjoyment but not adulation with his preceding solo albums (though "The Raven?" did provide many hot chills), while "The Incident" did leave me somewhat puzzled, like many other proggers here and beyond, as it undoubtedly signaled some kind of temporary or perhaps permanent finality, in regards to PTree's future. I read some of the initial reviews and noticed the high ratings, as well as the gorgeous artwork, followed all the gab in the lounges, where there was talk of a surging masterpiece. I must grudgingly admit that, once again I have been proven wrong and deserve a guilty sentence. This latest offering has a very designed mood that permeates all the tracks, from beginning to end taking the rabid fan or the critical dissenter to a new level completely, forging some new kind of modern prog, laden with old , new and futuristic schools and methods that will cause some serious consternation in music land. Firstly, this is head music that just cavitates and captivates, spanning the entire rainbow of contrasts, from ultra-soft to 'ka-bang' heavy, encapsulated even within one song, the colossal "Ancestral". Not only are the returning instrumentalists deliriously proficient but they choose to explode into some distant sonic set that defies gravity, speed and light. The phenomenal Nick Beggs needs no more introduction, guitarist Guthrie Govan has a level of creativity that goes somewhere where no one has gone, yet. Keyboardist Adam Holzman is a timid type, doing magical things discreetly, so in my mind, he is a 'compadre' of Richard Barbieri, mood manipulators par excellence, a savory mix of Eno and Wakeman (he was a Miles Davis and Mahavishnu Project member in the past) . Marco Minnerman is a beast, we all have heard the applause and we are aware of the fame.

My first and ongoing impression was coherently focused on how this album was divided into mini-blocks, autonomous musical regions firmly entrenched within an overall confederation. There are also some linking messaging between pieces, common denominators blatantly exposed in the lyrics on "3 Years Older" and "Perfect Life". The mixture of past PTree glories and current mercies. Clever and brainy, Mr Wilson.

Showcasing a layering of styles that work well together, "3 Years Older" is a bass heavy ramble that combines all the talents mentioned above, Guthrie Govan in particular shining brightly on his electric guitar, flirting with countrified tones, 'I will love you more than I will ever show 'being a fine example of Wilson's simple yet exciting lyrics and an explosive instrumental part that, just as suddenly, veers into 'pianofied' jazz. The piece then evolves into a cameo spotlight for each soloist, starting off with Holzman's rushing organ, pursued closely by a spiraling missile lead guitar from Govan and even Beggs doing his Chris Squire thingy, better than recent Chris Squire! A slight wink to his previous PT classic track "She Moved On", off Lightbulb Sun can and should make one smile.

Another tasty block of songs that wink at more Blackfieldian horizons, yet with more dreaminess perhaps, is launched by the lovely ear candy title track, the more melancholic "Perfect Life" and its tendency towards foolish entitlement and sarcastic disbelief. Wilson's ongoing fascination for apathy is not hard to understand as it has rapidly and insidiously infected our world, rather completely. Apathy towards society, politics, even the arts, human interaction being now ruled by some stupid i-phone, banks screwing up deposits and withdrawals, lack of any customer service anywhere, people in England applauding suicide victims to jump. Apathy towards human interaction , being now ruled by some stupid i-phone, banks screwing up deposits and withdrawals, lack of any customer service anywhere, people in England applauding suicide victims to jump. Yeah, bad! Happens to fit nicely with the more developed 9 minute long case in point "Routine", another masterful track dripping with ennui, a spotlight on Guthrie Govan again, his slithering axe quivering like a frazzled leaf in agony. Someone mentioned Mark Knopfler-like , interesting !

The most overtly perfect tracks are actually within another group of tunes piled up together, leading the charge with the edgier and spectacular "Home Invasion", a thoroughly trembling slice of fizzy prog, and featuring a lively electric piano rant that will shock anyone listening, some brash and rash guitar frills embracing the insane drum fills. The first moments offer up a groove that sleeps between sheets of abyss and cloud, brooding and confusing, like fear itself. Creepy synths crawl into the delirious maelstrom, a feverish steamrolling beat that is just plain thrilling, as Steve sings convincingly; this is modern prog at its finest, adventurous, sonically illuminating and profoundly exhilarating. A slick slide guitar scours the scene of the crime, bleeding directly into the tectonic "Regret #9", an extended synthesizer blowout that sends shivers down the spine, recalling the spirit of PT track "Sentimental", well-muscled by some dynamic drum patterns and a gritty imagery that has melancholia in abundance. For those who enjoy electric guitar soloing, you will not be disappointed with this scorching Govan spotlight (wow!). There is also a nice Rush-like dynamic in the rhythmic assault, though this piece has a special feel that defies categorization.

The suave "Transience" serves as a gentle intermezzo between two cannonading sections, a pastoral and spacy ballade that reminds us of structure, contrast and expectations being appeased. Voice, acoustic guitar rule the waves, a solemn bass synth rumble painting the sky and serenity galore. 'It's only the start?..' he trills .

Now "Ancestral" may very well qualify as one of Steve's finest compositions, easily up there with "Anesthetize", for example. An outwardly explosive soundtrack of intensity and expression, erected within simple but effective sonic architecture, evolving from a serene onset and slowly morphing into a gigantic vortex of sounds. I sent this to a lovely lady friend who was not familiar with prog and she replied the following" I don't think I have ever listened to music like that and to have had so much emotion evoked inside me". Emotions, feelings, pulse and heartbeat. A raindrop beat pushing electric piano, jagged guitar slivers, a heavily echoed SW voice, flute in fluttering tow, the atmosphere is intoxicating, surreal and emphatic. Lush symphonics take this to a higher plane, rushed along by a celestial chorus, and a Govan slither job on the fretboard. This is so amazing, it verges on the laughable (when something musically is beyond my capacity to comprehend, I giggle nervously). Mid way through, the mood becomes tempestuous with clinical weaving that would shake Robert Fripp's stool, a whistling Holzman synth leading into a veritable mellotron deluge. Beggs begs to differ (pun) as he adds a colossal riff to the proceedings that has Red era KC (as well as an overt ELP wink) stamped all over it. Minnerman slams fast, hard and with purpose, making this a classic 21st century epic of seismic proportions.

Finish off with"Happy returns" the most accessible piece, a very enchanting, typically English mood piece, that I can admire but not go gaga over, this is the one piece that I find needless. Perhaps due to the preceding splendor, I just rate it somewhat skin-deep only. Finally, a brief moody outro, almost ambient, definitely relaxed "Ascendant Here On" will prove a perfect au revoir.

Some will like, some will hate but no one will deny the talent at play here. His best yet, I feel is still to come.

4.5 ears cannot erase

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.34 | 372 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by TheBear

5 stars Steven Wilson is one of the few "buy on sight" artists for me (Steve Hackett being just about the only other).

I was wondering what Mr Wilson would do after "The Raven..." - would he "do an Oldfield", rest on the laurels and make a "The Raven II"? or would he once more surprise and challenge us? I sure hoped for the latter and I was NOT disappointed by Hand.Cannot.Erase. - it is pure genius.

Musically he takes us places we haven't been before without losing the connection to where he's coming from, and lyrically he sets new standards. Having read up on the story ("concept") behind the album, the final lyrics, the closing lines on "Happy Returns" - superficially the most accessible song on the album, and no doubt thus causing the purist to froth at the mouth - was like a punch in the gut. I can't shake it off, yet the song stays on repeat a lot.

Only possible regret is that Theo Travis is used less on this album (and will be absent from the tour as far as I have heard), but that's Mr Wilson's decision - he just didn't write so much for wind instruments this time. But that is a minor detail. The album is an undisputed 5-star; this is a masterpiece of progressive rock music and essential in any collection.

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.34 | 372 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Mebert78

5 stars There's no denying that Steven Wilson's solo career has been on one heck of a roll. Since Porcupine Tree's The Incident was released in 2009, Wilson has focused entirely on his blossoming solo efforts -- releasing 2011's Grace for Drowning and 2013's The Raven Who Refused to Sing, the latter of which was Album of the Year at the 2013 Progressive Music Awards. However, his latest effort, Hand. Cannot. Erase., is perhaps the best of the bunch -- and one that will be mentioned by prog enthusiasts many years, if not decades, from now. It will also stay in my car stereo for a long, long while.

The first thing listeners must consider before digesting Hand. Cannot. Erase. is the unique subject matter. This is a concept album inspired by the case of an English woman named Joyce Carol Vincent who passed away back in December 2003, but remained undiscovered for three years. She was surrounded by gifts wrapped for Christmas, and her television and heat remained running, according to media reports. Half of her rent was being automatically paid by benefit agencies, but housing officials decided to repossess her London bedsit after enough unpaid rent had accumulated -- finally finding Vincent's corpse, which was so badly decomposed she had to be identified through dental records. Wilson learned of the story through the 2011 documentary "Dreams of a Life," and decided to explore how a young person could become so isolated, ignored and overlooked in today's tech-heavy world.

Honestly, there is so much to discover and ponder in Hand. Cannot. Erase. that it's difficult to do in just a few listens. We're not just talking about a collection of songs here -- there's the thought-provoking artwork, a special edition with stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes plus a 40-page booklet, and a blog (handcannoterase.com) written through the eyes of the album's female character that further brings the story to life. You gotta respect the efforts, with Wilson turning the album into a full artistic experience spanning a variety of mediums. But most importantly, of course, is the music itself. And Wilson doesn't disappoint at all. As sounds of kids playing fade in on the first track "First Regret," you know it's buckle-up time. You're about to embark on a special journey that will run the gambit of emotions.

The ending of "First Regret" features a simple, yet catchy, piano part that is repeated in the second-to-last track "Happy Returns," giving the album a cohesive feel. But between those songs are a ton of magical moments. The second track, "3 Years Older," explodes with an instrumental section that illustrates the talents of every band member before quieting down with acoustic guitars and Wilson's well-crafted lyrics. "You cross the schoolyard with your head held down, and walk the streets under the breaking clouds," Wilson sings. Some of the upbeat moments here are reminiscent of The Who and, in fact, I hear a wide range of prog influences scattered throughout the 11 tracks -- from Pink Floyd to Opeth to Rush.

The album also includes a pop-esque title track, which fits surprisingly well in the scope of the album, and a female spoken-word track that is also very refreshing called "Perfect Life." The album's dynamics are also expertly done and songs like "Routine" and "Ancestral" are excellent examples of this -- flowing from loud to soft, and soft to loud, with complete ease. Then there are ever-changing time signatures in "Home Invasion" and solos on songs such as "Regret #9," which scratches me right where I itch for prog rock. It's a five-minute song comprised of a kick-ass key solo followed by a Petrucci-esque guitar solo. Beautiful stuff.

My favorite song on the album is definitely "Happy Returns," which wraps up the story well and leaves me with an eerie feeling knowing the fate of Joyce Vincent. My only criticism is the album does give off a pervasive melancholy vibe, which could make it a difficult listen for all occasions. But it's a small issue. The truth is, I can't imagine how Wilson will top Hand. Cannot. Erase., but I said that about The Raven Who Refused to Sing. The bottom line is, everything he touches turns to gold -- and, as a fan, all you can do is just enjoy the ride.

- Michael R. Ebert (progzombie.blogspot.com)

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.34 | 372 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Pastmaster

3 stars 'Hand. Cannot. Erase.' is the fourth studio album by rock musician Steven Wilson. As one of the minority, in thinking that the previous album was incredibly weak and boring, I didn't know what to think with this release seeing as Wilson never really seems to stay in one place with his solo work. After reading more on it, I saw that it was going to be a bit electronic, and that peaked my interest because of how much I love 'Index' from 'Grace for Drowning'.

After listening to the album, all I can really say is, 'Huh, interesting'. 'Insurgents' was an experimental rock/metal album, 'Grace for Drowning' was an experimental album, 'The Raven that Refused to Sing' was a throwback to classic rock of the 70's, and this is a rock, pop, and metal album. Seriously, talk about an album that doesn't know what it wants to be. The first song released, the title track, showcases the pop aspect of the album. When I heard this song, my high hopes for the album dwindled. It's pop, I could easily hear this being on a pop radio station. While this may be a good song to those who enjoy pop music, I'm not one who enjoys pop. It has upbeat electronic rhythms, and Coldplay-like atmosphere and guitars, it's basically all set for radio. The second song released from the album, 'Perfect Life', is another pop song; however, this has some really nice electronics during the bridge.

For the rock side of the album, one song that stands out is '3 Years Older', which clearly shows some Rush influence. The guitar work at the beginning sounds like it could have came from one of Rush's 90's albums. Wilson also adds in a bit of heavy guitar. 'Regret #9' begins with swirling Dream Theater-esque synth, before an awesome guitar solo comes in.

Where this album really shines however, is with the metal. This perhaps shows promise for new Porcupine Tree material? Hopes and wishes aside, the songs 'Home Invasion' and 'Ancestral' really show that Wilson has not lost his touch. 'Home Invasion' begins with eerie electronics before the crunching guitar comes in. After the guitar crunches over the eerie atmosphere, some Opeth-esque guitar signals the funky bass to come in. After a guitar solo, some keyboards come in that compliment the drumming perfectly. Wilson's vocals are also really good one this song, fitting in with the slow stomp of the keyboards. 'Ancestral' is a thirteen and a half-minute epic, and in my opinion the main highlight of the album. This song could easily been on a Porcupine Tree album, having a slow build up with quiet electronics, heavy crashing guitar, and Wilson's cold tone. There is some very beautiful orchestration before a guitar solo comes in. Actually, this song reminds me a lot of 'Russia on Ice' from Porcupine Tree's 'Lightbulb Sun' album. The way it begins very melancholy and menacing, before building up to crashing guitars. However, the riffing during the second half of the song reminds me a lot of Mastodon.

Overall, while having some really amazing songs, this album suffers from the same issues I have with 'Grace for Drowning'. While inconsistency CAN work in an albums favor sometimes, this is not one of those times. The pop songs really annoy me, and other then the songs 'Home Invasion' and 'Ancestral' nothing really 'wow's' me. It's certainly much better then his previous album though, and on par with 'Grace for Drowning' for me. I doubt anything will top 'Insurgents' though.

3.5 rounded down to 3.

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.34 | 372 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Joanpeke

5 stars Steven Wilson, the songwriter, producer, singer, guitarist behind Porcupine Tree and an uncompromising and successful solo career has once again delivered on surprising his fans. Following the success of his last album, the brilliant 'Raven that refused to sing', Wilson has returned to making a concept album and with 'Hand.Cannot.Erase', he has delivered perhaps one of the best albums of his career.

A true concept album, it is based on the story of Joyce Vincent who was found after being dead in her apartment for 2 years. This can make for some dark moments but Wilson finds a way of encapsulating the entire story of the young woman's life, providing moments of endearment, love, remembrance, loss and intensity all within the flow of the album. Musically, the album covers a lot of territory from parts sounding like Porcupine Tree and Opeth to Pop and Electronica. He has always ventured into other areas, but seems to be shying away from staying in one lane even more with this one. But rest assured, Prog fans should love this album.

For any fans of Porcupine Tree, the opening track 'First Regret/3 Years Older' will feel like a return to form. Opening like a movie soundtrack, the section 'First Regret' builds on a simple piano refrain and then moves to a string arrangement. The guitar into for '3 Years Older' sounds like it could be the guitar opening from Tommy but quickly the syncopated drum and bass from Marco Minnemann and Nick Beggs draw you into the building excitement. The next few minutes are like a musical overture leading to a simple acoustic guitar where Wilson begins to sing. The harmonies and background vocals are sublime and the explosion when the band kicks back in with force is captivating. There are some brilliant progressive moments in this latter half of the track, with the Adam Holzman's piano leading the way along with the tremendously talented Guthrie Govan following on guitar. The band features some of the best musicians in the world and they are absolutely incredible throughout.

The second track, 'Hand.Cannot.Erase' is nontraditional for a Steven Wilson album as it is a simple 4 minute pop song and perhaps one of the most radio friendly songs he has ever produced, certainly from his solo albums. It is an uptempo song that by itself would be cause for concern from the discerning Prog fan base, but in the context of the album, it is completely welcome as a breath of fresh air.

'Perfect Life' follows and this is where the album begins to shift. As seen in the video previously released for the song, it is mostly a narrated track where the sister of the lead woman in the story recalls how they first connected and then fell out of each other's lives. Mostly over an electronic rhythm, Wilson starts to sing 'we have got the perfect life' towards the end of the song, making for one of the most interesting and beautiful moments on the album. When asked about this track being a strange choice for the first video and single, Wilson said he is not interested in doing what is expected. Check out the interview with The Prog Report.

The centerpiece of the album is 'Routine'. The song introduces Israeli singer Ninet Tayeb as the lead character. The song is as much a musical theater track as it is a progressive rock track. It is an epic track that incorporates a boys choir which adds a particular depth to the track. The use of the instruments as characters, shifting them in and out, is another welcome element and shows Wilson's brilliance as a producer.

The next track 'Home Invasion/Regret' is something that would have fit on his last album. A heavy progressive track with a lot of instrumental parts make this a fun track to listen to and explore. The second half features an incredible solo section from Holzman. Guthrie Govan has his best solo moment on this track as well. This should be a great live song.

'Transciense' sounds like 'Lips of Ashes' from 'In Absentia'. It is a nice break from the heaviness of the previous track. And is a perfect pairing with 'Ancestral.' The big epic track on the album is also the heaviest track. It is similar to how Wilson used to write in the early days of PT in songs like Russia On Ice where the first half of the song is subdued and dark before kicking into a metal riff explosion that continues until the song reaches is climax.

The closing track 'Happy Returns/Ascendant Here On' is a soft ballad and a great way to close the album. After the haunting moments of 'Ancestral' Wilson chooses to try and leave the listener on a message of hope, even though we know the outcome is not good. He has often chosen to close his albums with ballad type tracks, some more simple than others. This one is grand and builds before ending softly with some piano and strings.

This is an album that demands multiple listens. It is layered and complex and once again Steven Wilson proves he is just an a different playing field when it comes to Prog and Rock music. He has created his own niche in both genres. He could easily do a full on Prog album as he did with the Raven, but knowing that is why he chooses to not do it. Instead he gifts us with another brilliant piece of music that should stand the test of time. This will definitely be one of the top albums of 2015.

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.34 | 372 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Anytime a Steven Wilson album releases, the progressive world goes into a panic. I've lost count of the number of album selfies I've seen in social media since this album released. Well, at least the artwork is stunning and sure to be one of my favorites. Anyways, those that follow me on my prog page The PROG Mind know that I have mixed feelings about this prog legend. Like it or not, Steven Wilson is now a legend, and we honestly might owe him the entirety of the current prog revival. Yet, I don't always connect with his music. After hearing "Hand.Cannot.Erase.", however, I feel I can endorse this new recording from the new face of prog.

This new album is not innovative. It is not some sublime rip-off of 70's prog, like his previous album. No, "Hand.Cannot.Erase." is just Steven Wilson, perhaps even pining about his Porcupine Tree days. You see, this new album avoids the excessive technicality of "The Raven That Refused to Sing" for a straightforward pop rock album that somehow magically winds up being extremely progressive, as opposed to Prog, that is. I've seen some people call this new album "electro rock", though I don''t see the point of the label. There is very little in the way of noticeable electronic sound, so that label seems strange. The album also doesn't seem like a King Crimson or Pink Floyd rip-off, so it's definitely a new sound for Wilson. All in all, "Hand.Cannot.Erase." is very similar to late era Porcupine Tree, only with an elusive pop element that shows itself here and there. I can honestly say that I think this was the best step for Wilson.

Give the PT fans something to chew. Rumors have been flying about a PT reunion, though Wilson denies it. Instead, he's given the fans the next logical PT album, and I salute him for that. The album starts off a bit sluggishly, in my opinion, with good songs like "3 Years Older" and the title track. Honestly, they don't wow me at all, mainly due to the pedestrian feeling they exude. Then the single comes around, "Perfect Life", and the album really takes a turn for the better. I happen to love this single, even though it seems ripped from a Hibernal album, but the album never stops firing on all cylinders from there.

My favorite track, for sure, is "Ancestral", which I deem to be the only 5 star song on the album. Honestly, this track is a monster that builds and builds, adding layers upon layers to the point where only the extremely sensitive will really detect the true genius of the crisscrossing, spiraling movements of guitars and keys. The last two minutes give me goosebumps every time. "Ancestral" is going to be a difficult track to beat this year! The album essentially ends, however, with a great little ballad that will certainly get stuck in your head, and for good reason. "Happy Returns" shows Wilson at his most melodic, and possibly even his catchiest. So, while "Hand.Cannot.Erase." is no masterpiece, it is still a strong showing from an important figure in prog.

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.34 | 372 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by BigRed1

5 stars This will probably be the most reviewed and discussed album on PA this year, so I'll skip the full song by song recap that others have and will take on, and just say that for me this is the best album overall from SW to date. Less "Prog" than his last solo album, but more "Progressive" overall with the way he blends together different types of sounds and genres, both older and modern, into this amazing musical journey. Also the album's lyrics and story arc are his most cohesive since "Fear of A Blank Planet", augmented by SW's creation of a faux online blog from the protagonist at the center of the story (and also found in the gorgeous deluxe book edition). The highlight song for me (among many other great moments) is "Routine", a Kate Bush-inspired song featuring Israeli singer Ninet Tayeb and a boy's choir. It's an emotionally charged "story within the story" piece, depicting a mother struggling to keep it together after her family is mass murdered in a school shooting (the protagonist is obsessed with collecting newspaper clippings of stories about people who just went missing, this mother later becomes one of the "disappeared"). Also lyrically, love how the album ends on an ambiguous note ? does the protagonist re-join society, or did she commit suicide, or herself become one of the mysterious "disappeared"? Heady stuff, could see this album/story being made into to a movie one day, it all works together that well.

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.34 | 372 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by SADOWSKI

5 stars 4,55 stars.

Wilson in an interview, said that one of the text and to some extent the concept of music of this album is to show the life of the average middle-aged human from the early childhood to ... (?? ) (I'll write about it later) Therefore, the mood of each song and emotions on this album are very diverse, just like in our life.

In the first 30 seconds of the two-piece composition First Regret / 3 Years Older, initially you can hear a "tape effect" with the sounds of children sojourned itself outside. But at once! Something here does not match! In the background of childish voices to be heard incidental torrential rain.
It is possible therefore to conclude that these childish sounds is a recollection of care-free childhood of the female hero of this album. She's standing in the rainy morning at the bus stop on a way to work, probably somewhere in northern London (quote "You stand there with the other [%*!#]ers in the rain.").

After the short nostalgic entry, picturing the early childhood (First Regret), towards the end of second minute music suddenly is revived. Excellent guitar riffs in the style of group Rush slows down suddenly in vocal sequence, which begins the second part of composition.
3 Years Older - The story is about too quickly ended carefree school days with first emotional relationships and the sudden contact with the hard realities of everyday life. While waiting for arrival of the double-decker bus, she thinks of her first committed errors for which she'll have to pay, and which she now regrets.
Beautiful text ends by the change of rhythm, and already to the end of this composition we'll hear a sharp prog-rock riffs, intertwined keyboard improvisations and guitars in the climate of groups Rush and U.K (lack only for Jobson's violin), with the splendid Nick Beggs bass part. Can you believe that once upon a time - during the time of my youth - he was a bass player for stricte pop music group Kajagoogoo? :) As for me, a great start to the album!

The next composition, but rather song, Hand Cannot Erase, with music structure reminds me "Beautiful Day" by U2. It's a joyful diving-board from the climates from a first composition. But as in the true life - nostalgia and melancholy will be able suddenly to be exchanged in joy and the first antiquated love. Great song.

Large sensation exerted on me during the succeeding composition Perfect Life. In hidden loomed manner is here solitude of human in the heart of a large city. In order to entirely to understand its beauty (and cause why the Wilson's text is recitated with music by woman) it is necessary to know that music on the all album "Hand.Cannot.Erase." sacrificed memory of 40-years young Joyce Carol Vincent. The female protagonist of the majorities of the texts of this album is modelled on this exactly figure. Towards the end of December of 2003, Joyce Vincent died in solitude in the social dwelling in the north part of London. Her remains in a state of complete decomposition was found after three years. Television in the room was switched on all the time, because all charges for electricity and rent were automatically deducted from their bank account. The neighbors were convinced that the bad smell comes from the neighboring waste.
Perfect Life, in my opinion, deliberately breaks off quite unexpectedly, just as suddenly for no reason had stopped the "perfect" Joyce Vincent's lonely life.

Routine - these are the typical prog-rock nostalgic song (a la early Genesis) with a beautiful part of piano, and with the motive text about monotony of daily life. She constantly performing the same actions that helps her to live with personal tragedy from the past and to "kill" the passage of time. After the sixth minute, followed by a brief revival of the guitar part and at the end of a quiet ending. I like it a lot.

The two-piece composition Home Invasion / Regret 9 begins energetic prog-rock broken rhythm, where the leading role is played drums. Although nothing can not be blamed on the album drummer Marco Minnemann, but personally I miss here a lot Gavin Harrison's drumming style, which in my opinion (and not only my) is currently the best prog-rock drummer in the world. Gavin certainly will prove that at the most recent upcoming King Crimson studio album. I.CANNOT.WAIT. ;)
After three sharp minutes of energetic prog-rock, music's followed by a slowdown and Wilson's vocal part begins. The text tells the story of human's voluntary isolation from the outside world, to which he lost his confidence. Time is spent to replace the real world, ubiquitous network website, where you can find and download virtually everything - sex, dream house, a wife, God, ocean, sky, war, love and hate.
At the end of vocal part, Home Invasion pass in Regret 9, with the most beautiful instumental synthesizer-guitar part, ended by exemption and renewed "tape effect", with the sounds sojourned itself the children. Again here to be heard the hankering of our female heroine for care-free childhood, without the television, the internet and without computer games. Splendid composition!

A three-minute Transience is a short piece with difficult to the decipherment text. IMO it is about the fast lapse of life and unredeemed dreams from childhood. Nice moody piece, with a powerful bass and synthesizer riff - that is exactly like the one with the title composition Pink Floyd album "Obscured by Clouds", hmm .. by the way has the same 3- minute length. Too bad it's so short, but as in the text .. our live is also short and unfulfilled.

In the long (13-minute) Ancestral, she's suffering from loneliness, living in a closed society of the great industrial city, settles with its past. She cannot accept the fact, that all good moments that lived long ago passed away forever. This very digging out, depressing text is excellently coordinated with dark, gloomy and depressing music.
With regard to music - happens here very a great deal. The frequent changes of rate, the powerful riffs and excellent rhythm section - causes that this composition is "paradise" for prog-rock and prog-metal fans. Excellent track!!

The album closes two-part composition Happy Returns / Ascendant Here On... It shows our heroine in a similar place where she was at the beginning of the album - at the bus stop. It's late afternoon and she's on a way home. Heavy rain develops into the thunderstorm. In such a scenario she performs a telephone conversation with a long unseen brother. He called her to "see if she was still alive". In a conversation with him she says that would be a lie to say that everything is going okay, cause she has financial problems as to make ends meet, but she would like to give gifts to her nephews who are aged childhood. "..But I'm feeling kind of drowsy now, so I'll finish this (talk) tomorrow.." - she ends the conversation.
The most beautiful melodic line of this composition, motive monumental guitar solo just after last vocal part, proceeds smoothly into two-minute short Ascendant Here On.... The drops quieting down rain on the background of sounds sojourned itself children - that's the end of this excellent "a jaw dropping" concept album.

This ending gives the impression that the whole story is written on the board - however, can result in optimistic, but it depends entirely on our imagination.

4,55 stars, or 9 of 10.

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Thanks to dean for the artist addition.

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