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Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) CD (album) cover


Steven Wilson


Crossover Prog

4.28 | 1939 ratings

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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.

Flucktrot | 4/5 |


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