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Steven Wilson - Grace For Drowning CD (album) cover


Steven Wilson


Crossover Prog

4.19 | 1773 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Sitting here as the storm passed through, fitting time to have another listen, and write a review.

This is the deluxe expensive picture book I have in my hands, so just for the record I'll review the package from that perspective.

I figured, what the hell and and blew $100 to get the damn thing. It took too long to arrive and the day before it got here robbers kicked in our front door but didn't get away with anything. Steven Wilson's albums sometimes coincide with bad things. The Incident arrived a few days a major house flood. Grace For Drowning arrived the day after the break in while a repair man was replacing our front door. This doesn't put me in fear of the next Steven Wilson release, it's just weird.

The book is designed like a personal journal with scribblings on the cover. The inside holds the disks inside the outer cover. Four in the set of course, two on each side. The meat of the book itself is housed between two vellums with handwritten (reproduced) track listings, credits, etc. In between the vellums, a bunch of glossy pages with pictures, lyrics, and musician credits for each track.

So I have here a four disc set, one a blu-ray of audio some video and bonus material. If you just sit and let the audio at the track selection screen play, there's an ambient audio track that goes on for quite a while before it repeats. A little Angelo Badalamentish. A video sequence accompanies it, a figure in black approaching a beach house that the viewer is inside. I fired it up again a day later and the disc starts off with another video sequence from the beach without any options for playing the disc. Unfortunately I quit it and now can't get back to it.

If you just play this thing for the audio only you miss the bonus material, all you get is the surround mix and a black screen with the song title when each track plays. The real meat of the DVD portion is if you go to the songs option. By the way, it's a bit unweildly to move around, so just have fun with it.

Click on songs option and you get options of photos, demo takes, videos for some tracks. The videos are also in surround sound. So it seem to get the maximum experience from this album you really need the DVD version. It also has the first two tracks from the third/bonus music only disc in the set with a static picture for each.

The music really suits a surround sound treatment, which you'd expect with Wilson having made a few surround sound mixes and re-mixes before.

The audio bonus disc has some songs that didn't get put into the album proper, but are still quite worthy.

The shame of it all is that for most people, if you're into this kind of music, you'll never be able to share it anyone as it requires people to sit down, stay, and listen. It's also often dark and heavy. There really isn't anything here departs far from his Porcupine Tree writings. Which isn't a bad thing, I think he's making a real personal statement, developing and compiling ideas he's expressed in music before. There is a story here though. Perhaps more well defined than In Absentia, but along similar lines. A character going psychopathic and then recovering, somehow.

Anyway, if people say this is a piece of crap or a masterpiece, don't value their opinonions. If you are a general fan of Steven Wilson's work you won't be disappointed and should spring for the DVD. Of course you'll need a computer or a home theater system with a nice screen, surround sound, and blu-ray capability. Steven thumbing his nose again at the i-pod generation. In the end masterpieces are best left to the judgement of time. I give this one a solid four.

Slartibartfast | 4/5 |


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