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Steven Wilson - Insurgentes CD (album) cover


Steven Wilson


Crossover Prog

3.82 | 1016 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars What is it? A more liberated Steven Wilson breaks free from the trappings of ambitious prog rock during late Porcupine Tree, releasing a less conceptual set of songs that often experiment with industrial music (as in Nine Inch Nails). Given the prog rock failure that was 'The Incident', the drastic change of sound was a smart move and possibly another sign that the band was nearing its breakup.

Voice (4 stars) ? Steven Wilson does revisit vocal techniques that he used well during the middle stages of Porcupine Tree: vocal harmonies, hook-driven choruses, fragile downbeat singing. The greater emphasis on the latter, while adding to the dreary feel of the album, sometimes lead to scarcity of distinctive melodies.

Sound (4.5 stars) ? Steven Wilson outdoes himself with even greater sound production, making this record feel highly polished yet organic. You can hear the many intricacies while listening on headphones. The greater emphasis on industrial music gives it an edge and the several cacophonous walls of sound throughout the disc manage to be disorienting yet gorgeously produced. The lack of Porcupine Tree as a band is rarely missed, given the great musicianship and instrumental arrangements involved, but the longer jam-oriented "No Twilight ?" maybe sounds too different with the guitar being too jarring for a Porcupine Tree fan.

Songs (4 stars) ? Given that "Insurgentes" is a more experimental album, the songs vary in quality. The opener "Harmony Korine" is a success and among the most well-known songs as a solo artist, thanks to not overcomplicating its simple direct nature and catchy pop hooks. "Abandoner", "Salvaging", and especially "Get All You Deserve" are far more experimental down-tempo compositions showcasing Steven Wilson as a sound engineer to great effect, particularly when it explores disorienting soundscapes bordering on white noise. The gorgeous "Twilight Coda" and "Insurgentes" are minimalist in concept, but subtly intricate in instrumentation. At times, the results are not as grand, with a 6-minute long ambient instrumental with little to say followed by more instrumental [heavier] work in a longer piece "No Twilight" for which I have mixed feelings due to its over-reliance on repeating an odd-metered prog metal riff that worked best as a bass line halfway through. The composition gets jazzier with piano, but awkwardly transitions back to that very same riff. Basically, the middle third of the album is the weakest, also including a decent but forgettable ballad with guitar riffing that is too noisy for it, and a grunge song that works fine, but nothing beyond that.

Key Tracks: Harmony Korine, Salvaging, Abandoner, Get All You Deserve, Twilight Coda, Insurgentes

Zitro | 4/5 |


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