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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$7.99
$10.05 (used)
4 1/24 1/2
KSCOPE 2016
Audio CD$6.93
$5.24 (used)
TransienceTransience
KSCOPE 2016
Audio CD$6.96
$5.49 (used)
Raven That Refused to SingRaven That Refused to Sing
Kscope 2016
Audio CD$7.42
$10.83 (used)
InsurgentesInsurgentes
Kscope 2016
Audio CD$6.53
$7.72 (used)
Grace for DrowningGrace for Drowning
Kscope 2016
Audio CD$8.59
$8.00 (used)
Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Blu-Ray + MP3/FLAC Download Codes)Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Blu-Ray + MP3/FLAC Download Codes)
Blu-ray
Kscope
Blu-ray$14.58
$15.98 (used)
Raven That Refused to SingRaven That Refused to Sing
Snapper Music Group 2013
Vinyl$21.54
$22.91 (used)
Get All You DeserveGet All You Deserve
Box set · Deluxe Edition · CD+DVD
Kscope 2012
Audio CD$21.88
$21.88 (used)
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Bass Communion "Molotov & Haze" Sealed [Steven Wilson No-Man Hand Cannot Erase] USD $20.24 Buy It Now 2 days
Porcupine Tree "Stupid Dream" 2015 cd Sealed [Steven Wilson Hand Cannot 4.5] USD $11.01 Buy It Now 2 days
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Octopus (Steven Wilson Mix) Audio CD USD $26.39 Buy It Now 2 days
Steven Wilson: Drive Home New DVD USD $14.93 Buy It Now 2 days
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Hand. Cannot. Erase. [Digipak] by Steven Wilson (CD, Mar-2015, Kscope) USD $10.72 Buy It Now 2 days
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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)

3.84 | 892 ratings
Insurgentes
2008
4.21 | 1505 ratings
Grace For Drowning
2011
4.31 | 1684 ratings
The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
2013
4.30 | 1115 ratings
Hand. Cannot. Erase.
2015
3.53 | 289 ratings
4 ½
2016

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

4.29 | 169 ratings
Catalogue/Preserve/Amass
2012

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

3.50 | 133 ratings
Insurgentes - The Movie
2010
4.61 | 274 ratings
Get All You Deserve
2012

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

2.85 | 103 ratings
Nsrgnts Rmxs
2009
3.13 | 94 ratings
Cover Version
2014
3.26 | 46 ratings
Transience
2015

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

3.72 | 39 ratings
Cover Version
2003
3.59 | 37 ratings
Cover Version II
2004
3.69 | 39 ratings
Cover Version III
2005
3.55 | 43 ratings
Unreleased Electronic Music
2005
3.86 | 35 ratings
Cover Version IV
2006
3.40 | 39 ratings
Cover Version V
2008
4.48 | 66 ratings
Harmony Korine
2009
3.64 | 51 ratings
Vapour Trail Lullaby
2010
3.55 | 42 ratings
Cover Version 6 plus full collection bundle
2010
3.43 | 7 ratings
Demos
2010
4.18 | 45 ratings
Postcard
2011
3.95 | 19 ratings
Cut Ribbon
2012
3.99 | 100 ratings
Drive Home
2013
4.00 | 3 ratings
Happiness III
2016

STEVEN WILSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cover Version by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2014
3.13 | 94 ratings

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Cover Version
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by torvald

4 stars Steven Wilson's solo career in the aftermath of Porcupine Tree, has been a mixed bag to me. Despite retaining the poise and ambition evident in everything he's done since his earliest days, much of his more recent output occasionally seems laboriously constructed and self-consciously targeted at the neo-prog audiences, almost name checking specific tropes and influences that are by now routine business for Wilson and co. Even in terms of pure musicality, the limber touch of PT, the more abstract electronica that gave his earlier releases a truly innovative edge and especially the experimental streak running through much of his work outside of his well known projects, seem to have gone missing in favor of more bombastic, virtuoso playing and formulaic proggy arrangements and compositions that never manage to top his earlier, more tongue in cheek and slightly detached postmodern fascination with prog as merely one idiom to be toyed with amongst others.

Not so with Cover Version, which wears its disparate influences quite literally on its sleeve and made this release a very pleasant surprise indeed, if not one of his most unexpectedly satisfying and creative efforts in years, despite being a compilation of sorts. Both the cover versions themselves, as well as the original tracks that have all been lying around for ages in single version or other media, manage to cohere with remarkable grace and occasionally complement each other quite well. The instrumentation is predominantly acoustic, veering between guitar and piano with the occasional trademark mellotron hue or electronic texture providing ambience, making the whole album feel like a very intimate and personal singer/songwriter project, something strikingly missing from his other solo output.

The mood is almost uniformly sombre and melancholy, which might make this heavy going for anyone expecting something chirpier or more varied, and is perhaps my only point of relative criticism. Not that Wilson's music ever strays far from darker moods of course. There is simply a certain lack of much differentiation in mood or instrumentation here, that renders the whole rather too homogeneous; then again, it was never really meant as an LP so such issues of tracklisting are perhaps to be expected.

The two most remarkable tracks remain the most decidedly funereal ones anyhow: his mostly a capella version of the traditional tune ''The Unquiet Grave'' with multitracked vocals providing a wall of resonance undescoring it being amongst the most experimental tracks he has ever given us, almost sounding in the vein of his ambient work in Bass Communion or Brian Eno's similarly voice based tracks in Music for Airports. Equally stunning is ''An End to End'' ,which takes some skeletal melancholy piano chords resounding against a wall of choral textures to create a truly haunting cinematic ballad.

Alanis Morissette's ''Thank U'' becomes a heartaching bit of acoustic balladry, with Wilson playfully changing a lyric at one point ''because it doesn't make sense'', a reminder of how iconoclastic and eventful he can be when he's not pandering to his usual audiences, but going for more idiosyncratic ends. The Cure's ''A Forest'' is one of the few more kinetic songs in the list, a subtle electronic pulse and rare bit of electric guitar solo animating its murky mood, while Prince's ''Sign o the Times'' is probably the weakest moment, playfully reinventing a pop tune with a heavier edge towards the end that has been far better handled in its full band version for subsequent live shows, especially in tribute to that musician's recent death. Abba's ''Day before you came'' becomes a stately acoustic lament of daily inanities in anticipation of emotional revival, while Momus' delightfully ironic ''Guitar Lesson'' follows in similarly melancholy confessional mood, its poetic lyrics retaining their power intact and in some ways perfectly complementing an earlier PT track such as ''Piano Lessons''. A rare moment of psychedelic folk follows in Donovan's ''Lord of the Reedy River'', while the piano based ballad ''Please Come Home'' that could've graced any Blackfield album to date and ''Well you're Wrong'', a retro ditty in the vein of PT's ''How is your life today'' conclude the tracklist.

All in all a very satisfying collection of moments in time, which though slow burning and not as grandiose in scope as Wilson's band based efforts, manages not only to offer some of his most intricate offerings ever, but also allows both his talent and love for the more unexpected or disparate sources and musical influences to shine through much more directly and meaningfully than anywhere else in later years. Long term fans of the totality of his oeuvre should find this to be amongst his most interesting song based efforts, even if his more prog minded fans are destined to be disappointed. I personally consider it the most personal of his solo records since Insurgentes and far more satisfying overall than much of his later work, but to each their own undoubtedly.

 4 ½ by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.53 | 289 ratings

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4 ½
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars In my time writing reviews here on Prog Archives I've shared my thoughts on Steven Wilson's various projects that have taken mostly the form of gushing, enthusiastic praise, though there have certainly been a few works that have sunk into the 2-star territory for me; usually it's one or the other extreme. With 4.5, Mr. Wilson has inspired me to a new level of feeling, one that fits completely into the 3-star description of "good but not essential." This album is fine; it's not great, not bad, just fine. I'm not sure if this would be taken as criticism by Steven, if he were to read this, but for me, 4.5 is one of least challenging records he's yet released. However, it's far from a bad album, and doesn't diminish his overall trend of producing excellent music.

Basically, this short album is a collection of approachable songs played in his band's contemporary style (meaning, sounding a lot like moments from Hand.Cannot.Erase). It's highly instrumental, busy, and likeable. "My Book of Regrets" is a varied and dynamic song that features the whole band jamming nicely to a dramatic sequence of tempo and tonal changes. It works well, and is probably the best track of the record.

Three of the four other songs are instrumental, and are nice experiences though disconnected and sound more like ideas that completed works. One can't objectively criticize the musicianship of Wilson and his collaborators; they're simply stellar, and exceptional at playing to the high's and lows of dynamics that Wilson has used throughout his career to create emotion in his music. This is especially heard in the heavy and complex "Vermillioncore." This guys are freaking great, but the end result feels incomplete.

The revisited "Don't Hate Me" is a nice treat, being a forgotten gem from Porcupine Tree's earlier catalog; unfortunately, it showcases how much sharper and interesting Wilson's writing was during that period of his career - at least when juxtaposed to the other songs on 4.5. The lyrics especially show Wilson skimming the surface of his skills as writer and storyteller. It sort of sums up my feeling of this record as a whole, as undeniable talent that, in the end, makes something that's just OK.

For fans of Wilson's work, I recommend this album as a fun diversion that you can play at parties without making people wonder what the hell kind of music you're into. If you're a casual fan of Steven Wilson, you'll probably enjoy this record, but it may not convince you to explore his discography more. If you're a Steven Wilson hater, keep on hatin', because 4.5 is mostly more of the same.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

 The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.31 | 1684 ratings

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

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

3 stars I love this album, and yet in 2016 it tumbles in my head, a portent, a plagiarist's opus, a guilty pleasure. For it I've invented the term "popcorn prog", a distillation of a lot of what makes its genre great into a satisfying if unhealthy sonic snack. It's well done, it's wonderful, it's not a true masterpiece. I turned it over in my mind whether to round up or down from 3.5, in light of my unceasing enjoyment, but I decided to be harsh.

After three years and 85 reviews so far, you have a basic idea of what I'm going to say about the instrumentals, but the puzzle goes further than that. The sound is of course indebted to Crimson and Genesis to an amount far above its own GDP, but it's also the endgame of a lot of the sonics of Porcupine Tree and Swilson's early solo career - notably "The Holy Drinker" and "The Watchmaker" mixed together '70's Crim, "Deadwing", and Storm Corrosion. There is a truth that states that this album could only have been made circa 2013, but that's mainly because its creator was revving deeper and deeper into a rut that started five years prior, picking apart earlier successes for spare parts. Many listeners were able to tell with what would otherwise be psychic foresight exactly when and what instruments would come in and what they would play, a sign of cliche. It's cliche done far better than any other retro prog, though, with the driving, dour, epic instrumentals grabbing you by the ears and never letting go. There's virtuosity and at least some soul there, and in the moment most listeners, such as I, can't possibly complain. Plus, while "Luminol" bear hugs you, and "Drive Home" and the title track melt your heart, the aforementioned "Holy Drinker" really stands out as by turns enjoyable and spine-tingling, the SC elements put to fantastic use. Even this recycling still, perhaps for the last time, works.

The real saving grace, however, are the lyrics. Lyrics generally aren't Wilson's strong suit, but they turn out excellently here. Fancy words uniquely anchor beautiful stories of mysterious musicians, jetsam of the mind, and ghosts and demons. It goes a long way to making this record so good.

But of course, while I love this piece of prog pabulum, time has really shown it to ring a little hollow, one last hurrah on the road to "Hand. Cannot. Erase."'s mediocrity, paved with tropes, staleness, and perfectionism gone wrong. In hindsight, "The Raven That Refused To Sing" sticks out as a warning and an important part of a downward trend for Wilson's career, if still a fun listen.

 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.30 | 1115 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams

3 stars Looks like Steven WILSON be one of prolific musicians and honorable creators in the progressive rock scene. Wonder what he means to do via lots of his productions.

Mysterious procession and a graceful curtain call can be heard in this stuff as usual. Dramatic guitar avoidance (from every annoying matter) as well makes the audience comfortable. Keyboard appearance has got altered colourfully, sometimes from a beauty phase to hard-edged style or sometimes from a tough call to a delightful theatre ... just case by case. Psychedelic Fantasia, heavy deepness brushed up by guitars or drums, etc. etc. every single variation rushes over in front of us.

His composition and production is basically filled with catchy essence seasoned with multi-rhythmic accents and capricious hints, all of which might be provided for popularity or hospitality for the listeners, I guess. Sadly in this album such a popularity would be more overemphasized than his musical progressiveness for commercialism and his identity should be veiled deeply into subliminal pleasure for everybody. To be honest any ambition cannot be heard.

Steven's strategies for launching progressive structural masses are not ordinary nevertheless. Various scenes can be imagined via instrumental, phrasal combinations ... whether soft or hard ... crystallized by him. In this sense, this album can be recommended for every progressive rock beginner.

 4 ½ by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.53 | 289 ratings

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4 ½
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by tomprog

4 stars 4 and a half is a ''mini album'' by prog icon, Steven Wilson. The album consists of tracks that for whatever reason have not made made it onto past albums, with one song originating from the Deadwing sessions all those years ago.

The album starts with the opening track, My Book Of Regrets. The song would have fitted perfectly the Hand Cannot Erase al album, with the lyrics fitting in to the concept of the album. The song itself is an incredible work. It shifts seamlessly between se sections, each section as memorable as the last. Dave Kilminsters guitar features prominently in the track, although Wilson does ge get his moment with a long guitar solo over lush chords in the middle section of the song. In the last chorus Craig Blundell pulls ou out all the stops using his double bass drum, before the song finishes all too soon.

Year of the plague is a pretty instrumental piece that wouldn't have sounded out of place on the raven that refused to sing. Happiness III follows, a catchy pop song that is one of the other highlights on the album. The song, again, wouldn't have sounded out of place on any of Stevens recent solo works.

Two instrumentals follow, Sunday Rain Sets In and Vermillioncore. Vermillioncore has a harder edge to it, and was spectacular wh when played live on the Hand Cannot Erase tour.

The final song on the album is a re worked version of porcupine tree underrated classic, don't hate me, featuring the magnificent Ninet on vocals. The song builds upon the melancholy of the original and has a great instrumental section in the mi middle of the song, making it different from the original. The trusty saxophone solo remains however.

Overall this album is great. Most artists would hope to put this out as a main album, never mind leftovers! It loses a star as it is not a perfect alum, but still a thoroughly enjoyable listen, especially just for My Book Of regrets.

 4 ½ by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.53 | 289 ratings

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4 ½
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by LakeGlade12

3 stars 3.2 Stars. A decent B-sides album

4 1/2 is listed in most places as Wilson's fifth solo album, although really that is not the case. This album is basically an EP compilation of various songs that did not get used on major albums + an alternative version of a old Porcupine Tree favorite "Don't Hate Me". While SW insists that these songs were not included on any album only due to them not fitting with the their themes, I can also spot a clear drop in inspiration and originality in these songs. As with most decent B-sides you will find a few good songs and the rest ranging from average to poor.

The album opens with the 9 min song "My Book of Regrets" (recorded during the Hand. Cannot. Erase sessions) which is meant to grab your attention immediately and start this album off on a good note. During this song you will find all the trademark features present on most modern PT/SW album's; Catchy Alt-rock/pop, lengthy instrumentals and mood changes and some pleasant harmonies all nicely wrapped up together. Or in other words it's straight from the modern Prog-Rock handbook and played to Wilson's strengths. Still it's a good song and opener to the album though.

"Year of the Plague" is the only song to come from The Raven sessions and it clearly shows. It's worth saying that The Raven ranks among my top 3 all time favourite albums so I was very curious to listen to this B-side. The song is a delicate and very beautiful instrumental which stands up to repeated listenings. Had it been included on The Raven it would certainly not been a highlight, but it would have not lowered the quality of the album, which is extremely high praise from me. Definitely my favourite from this album and the only one with lasting appeal.

"Happiness 3" is actually a very old song which was written during the Deadwing era but recorded during the H.C.E sessions. It's a standard upbeat pop/rock song which Wilson is very talented at writing. The song is definitely catchy, but does not have the depth that the pop songs on H.C.E/In Absentia have. Still not bad though.

"Sunday Rain Sets In" was also written during the H.C.E era but sounds like it came from the Grace for Drowning sessions. It's a slow and atmospheric piece that would have fit onto GFD, but it far less inspired. There is also a burst of energy towards the end of the song which is awfully done and ruins the atmosphere that had been created. A poor track all-round really.

"Vermillioncore" is yet again a H.C.E era track, but this one could have fitted into the metal phase of PT, especially the nil-recurring EP. The instrumental begins is groovy bass work which bursts into intense metal and sonic distortion later on. It's a pretty cool track and it's been awhile since he has written a song like this, but it does not do anything that has not been already done by that era of PT.

Lastly we have the alternative version of "Don't Hate Me" with Wilson on the verses and Ninet on the chorus, which when you think about it makes no sense at all to the lyrics of the song. It should be reversed so that it's the male that sings "don't hate me, I'm not special like you" as he justifies his stalking. Instrumentally the first half of the song is identical to the original, its only the instrumental in the middle that has been changed. Here there is more of a jazzy emphasis and the degree of psychedelia has been significantly increased as well (no flutes though sadly). Overall it's a OK alternative version that could have been much better with some proper thought into the arrangements.

To sum up 4 1/2 is a B-side album, nothing more, nothing less. If you treat it as a full album then you are only setting yourself up for major disappointment. As B-side albums go it's a fairly standard affair of some good and bad songs but mostly average. 3 stars is the perfect rating here. Not a bad album, but certainly not a Recordings 2.0!

 4 ½ by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.53 | 289 ratings

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4 ½
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Porcupineapple

3 stars Having read in a review, how high anyone's expectations should be before listening to any EP from Wilson, I right away told myself that I could not agree more. Why? Well, Nil recurring, for one, is not just the best EP I have ever heard but is also an amazing prog rock journey through everything I enjoy this genre for, even though these are only "leftovers". And let me not even get started on the second cd of The Incident (which is, not admittedly, but also an EP I am sure). So, since Hand cannot erase is so far the peak of Steven Wilson's solo career (anyone cares to disagree please PM me:), it is no surprise that before listening to 4 ½ I had my expectations high as the sky. Unfortunately, it did not deliver.

The opening track, which is probably supposed to sell the album for us, has a decent length that should be enough to surprise the listener, yet it's exactly what it fails to do. It is not a bad song though: it has some catchy moments, a nice flow through melodic parts but also pieces that let these musicians really show their chops, but overall it just does not stand out. And I certainly see how it did not find its place on the LP itself too, for a kick-off of this EP it is not bad though. Year of the plague is ok again, and although it is not more than a fill between the first and the third song, it gets the job done with its catchy melodies thanks to some beautiful violins. Happiness III then is a decent leftover from the pop part of the LP, which means it is catchy as hell, I must admit, even if this is probably not the kind of thing we love Wilson the most for. My problem is that after these songs not much is left on the album, which is worth mentioning, at least in light of how high Wilson's grasp reaches with whatever he does recently. Sunday rain sets in reminds me of the second song of the album but its ideas are much less powerful. Vermillioncore is a bad-ass song, and whilst it comes across great when played live, listening to it on the cd it I have a feeling that Wilson just wanted to reach back to his more progressive side for a second, whilst in fact being rather tired of this genre, which shows in the end result. The main riff relies on the bass player's talent (rightly so) and is a strong one, but it is being repeated throughought the song too much, with not much happening in between. And then as I get to the closing track, I am hoping for something amazing to balance out the minor mistakes of the rest of the album, but instead I get an average and pointless re-working of a Porcupine tree song, which on top of it never even was my favourite. The choice to pick Don't hate me is therefore not obvious, although I have to say that Nina Tayeb's guest vocals certainly jazz it up, but what Steven Wilson is trying to do in between to extend the previous version of the song just lacks its point for me. And unfortunately the live version (when played without Nina and without the trumpets) is even weaker, slowing the whole show down so much that each time I see it live I nearly fall asleep. And looking at how I am not amazed by the other songs also, this closing leaves me disappointed.

But then again, 4 ½ is a decent work, it's just when I look how it comes from one of the most talented progrock musicians of our days, being able to sell even an EP like hot cakes, I am let down. He cannot amaze us with each and every work of his though, so it is an okay listen for the time being, something to hold on to as he is charging his batteries to hopefully blow us away with his fifth album again, out late next year if all goes well.

 Grace For Drowning by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.21 | 1505 ratings

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Grace For Drowning
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars Steven Wilson has decided in his solo career to take a different approach than with Porcupine Tree. Instead of trying to tight up the structures of the songs as much as possible, he decided to let the things happen during the recording process which give more improvisations and Jazz to the music. The list of musicians here is impressive and brings so much beautiful textures to the sound of this release. I think my overall feeling about this one hour and twenty minutes of music was about like watching a movie and going on a journey trough different moods and atmosphere, but mostly of the dark and melancholic side. The use of acoustic guitars, many gentle piano lines is sharing the parts with some heavier guitars which is nothing new when we know what the man did previously in his career. Not only the mix of Metal, Pop, Ambient and Prog is taking the listener to different moods but even in those dreamy slow tempo passages, we can always feel some intensity growing sometimes with a sax or clarinet solo which are abundant here. Sometimes like in the song "Index", we are waiting for a blast of guitars, but it never does, we are left with a cool melody, some ambient vibes driven by drums, keyboards and the vocals of Steven. For those older listeners here, the use of flute and clarinets of Theo Travis will remind you of the old King Crimson sound of the 70's, especially brilliant in the instrumental "Sectarian" and the epic "Raider II". The complexity of the arrangements here and the overall sound of each instruments are impressive. The sound of mellotron can be heard, while i can't say that they use a real old one, but i know that Steven has played on a real one. "Belle de Jour" has some affinity with "Entangled" of Genesis. Also one more thing to notice, it's the good use the choir in some songs with arrangements that have been done by Dave Stewart. There is too many highlights here to go any further , you have to get this, especially in surround sound to live the full experience of great songwriting and sound.
 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.30 | 1115 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by AndyJ

5 stars Steven Wilson's 'Hand. Cannot. Erase.' is probably the finest piece of progressive art so-far released in the 21st century. Quite a statement, in fact I'd go as far as to say it rivals even some of the timeless epics from the 1970's. Steven Wilson of course needs no introduction to readers of PA. His work with Porcupine Tree is all absolutely essential, and his four solo albums are must-owns for any fan of progressive art.

So I've used the term 'progressive art' a couple of times. That is exactly what I think this album is - it's one of those albums which transcends any one medium. It is pure sonic artistry rendered in a perfect vision. This album is a journey, not just musically, but in the minds-eye imagery Wilson & co conjure up in the listener. Steven Wilson is such a creative tour de force that any composition he turns his hand to is destined for greatness. And the collection of songs on this album are by far some of his best work.

Released in 2015 this album can be best described as bringing together all of the different elements of Wilson's previous work, both solo, side-projects, collaborations as well as Porcupine Tree. This has got it all. Chilling electronic music, haunting pianos and synths, majestic guitar, soaring leads and the most amazing story and lyrics I've ever heard in a concept album. There's electronica, rock, metal, acoustic and folk styles blended seamlessly together during the 66-minute run-time. Nothing feels out of place, and while it might take the listener a few spins to start the understand the record there is nothing wrong with that.

I think this will be an album that people talk about and remember for decades to come, and could prove to be Steven Wilson's finest moment. The easiest 5 stars I've awarded to an album. If you haven't already got this one then don't waste any more time!

 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.30 | 1115 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by arschiparschi

2 stars Steven Wilson's latest full studio outut (not counting '4/2') is in my view one of the most overrated albums of 2015. It actually starts off quite nicely with subte playing by Adam Holzman and the first song blends electronic and acoustic sounds successfully and sets the tone for an album very much in the vein of Wilsons' style on his first two solo albums and some of the Porcupine Tree material. The live performance of this song always sets off with a long clip of a housing block and lights in the windows. Accompanying the song there is a projection of a young woman as she walks around and sits alone in her flat, which also represents the introduction to the album's theme. While the actual story itself is very notable (in a sad way), I find Wilson's rendering of it both with regards to the lyrics as well as the video projection not necessarily profound but rather very in-your-face as if asking "have you got it now"? What underlines this is that the live performance was above all one thing: loud. I would have preferred more subtlety.

Unfortunately, it gets worse with the next songs. The title track is a rather uninspired pop-rock song with really boring lyrics, which is even more the case in "Perfect Life". While the next track "Routine" contains some pleasant melodies and a nice guitar solo, I cannot keep from thinking that it sounds just too similar to others of Wilson's songs. As noted before, it seems like this track's title is quite programmatic for the composition: Wilson has found his forumlae, which he now repeats, adding a couple of variations here and there. The lyrics and video projection again really drag this song done for me. The lyrics are so in-your-face and the video of an animated lady with eyes that are contantly red from crying is just trying too hard to drive the point home.

"Home Invasion / Regret 9" to me sound like a collage of elements from the prog handbook: an odd (or rather not so odd) time signature to start the song, followed by a disharmonic "riff" played on the synthesizer, all wed into a song that is longer than 7 minutes. The distorted vocals sound rather irritating to me and the lyrics represent Wilson's lamely polemic remark during the concert "Internet - truth = irrelevant". Holzman's synthesizer solo in the middle of the song is again an enjoyable element and also the guitar solo that follows is nice, even if slightly too long for my taste. "Ancestral" starts off like any other poppy Wilson song and in the second half again sounds to me like trying very too hard to be Progressive Rock, which makes a rather strange mixture. I find the second half absolutely boring as the last six minutes basically consist of a very basic riff stretched out to make an unnecessarily long song. The closing song again introduce the quite nice opening theme but fade into a slightly-above-average pop rock song. Again a nice guitar solo towards the end (though it is quite similar to the one heard before) and a seemingly unnecessary two minute ambient soundscape, which again gives the impression that its purpose was to distinguish the song from pop by its length. One thing which is again excellent throughout the entire album (and also live) is the musicianship of Wison's band. The sound and production of course leave nothing to be desired either, Wilson is, after all, a master of Mixing. But that does not remove my overall impression of an album that is mostly just pop rock with strained prog elements and sits very firmly in the multitude of songs already heard on previous Wilson (and Porcupine Tree) records. So to me the album is surely inferior to Wilson's "The Raven That Refused to Sing" and by no means the sensational release of 2015 it was so often hailed to be. 2.5/5 stars.

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

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