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


Steven Wilson


Crossover Prog

4.28 | 1982 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The biggest shock for yours truly is that i'm not giving this a five star rating. After seeing all the five star reviews when this first came out and hearing Wilson himself saying that this is the best album he's ever been involved in made me assume that I, a Steven Wilson fanboy would be giving this five stars, no doubt about it. Then I heard it. Just to backtrack a bit, I feel that "Insurgents" is the best solo album that Wilson has released(although the live "Get All You Deserve" is possibly even better) with "Grace For Drowning" a close second when it comes to his studio albums. Hearing about the lineup and that Alan Parsons the engineer for "Dark Side Of The Moon" was going to put his magic touch on this recording raised my expectations through the roof. Oh, I wanted to also mention that the great Dave Stewart arranged the strings on this album just like he did on ANATHEMA's "We're Here Because We're Here" album.

Before I get into the tracks themselves I have to say that there are passages on this record that are thrilling to say the least, plus I felt so much emotion at times, this is a really good album. My first listen to "The Raven That Refused To Sing(And Other Stories)" of course began with "Luminol" a song I was familiar with from the live "Get All You Deserve" record. My initial impression of the start of this song was "Wilson has got into Math-Rock?". What! Okay it's actually quite the instrumental display with that drum/bass solo to start but i'm still not into that intro. Love the sound of those keyboards that join in though from Holzman. Guitar and flute follow and check out the keys before 3 minutes. Nice. A calm 4 1/2 minutes in as reserved vocals arrive. I like the pleasant backing vocals that come and go. This is a beautiful section as the piano leads for a while. It becomes majestic sounding then the tempo picks up late. This song is about a man from Wilson's town who played and sang on the street for money but he had passed away. Good song but my least favourite. "Drive Home" is pretty much tied with "The Watchmaker" for my third favourite track on here. Tender vocals and gorgeous instrumental work during the mellow sections. It's simply gorgeous 1 1/2 minutes in(gulp). The guitar and mood before 4 1/2 minutes reminds me of OPETH's "Damnation" album.

"The Holy Drinker" is my second favourite tune. Psychedelic keys to start as drums, guitar and bass join in. So impressive! Check out the dissonant sax from Travis then the mellotron joins in. Vocals before 3 minutes then we get a cool instrumental break with flute before 6 minutes. An eerie calm a minute later then it kicks into gear with power before 9 minutes, mellotron too. "Pin Drop" is okay and it's unusual to hear Steven sing in such a high pitched manner. It turns fuller as the vocals continue. Sax helps out and the contrasts between the powerful and mellow section impress. "The Watchmaker" is very mellow to start with reserved vocals. It starts to build before 5 minutes then settles back again with piano and backing vocals. Beautiful stuff. Killer sound 10 1/2 minutes in and check out Marco on the drums. "The Raven That Refused To Sing" is my favourite song on here. And that surprised me because it was a song I heard first as I watched the cool video that came with it. It reminds me of STORM CORROSION, at least it has that vibe. Piano and fragile vocals early in this haunting yet meaningful track. Sweeping orchestral sounds add to the majesty later on.

So yeah a really good record that I will enjoy in the future, but for my tastes i'll take "Insurgents", and hearing that his new solo album will be more guitar driven really made my day.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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