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Steven Wilson

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Steven Wilson The Future Bites album cover
3.01 | 384 ratings | 27 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Unself (1:05)
2. Self (2:56)
3. King Ghost (4:06)
4. 12 Things I Forgot (4:43)
5. Eminent Sleaze (3:53)
6. Man of the People (4:42)
7. Personal Shopper (9:49)
8. Follower (4:39)
9. Count of Unease (6:08)

Total Time 42:01

Blu-Ray bonus material:
- The Future Bites in high resolution stereo, 5.1 Surround Sound, and Dolby Atmos
- Videos for Personal Shopper, Eminent Sleaze and King Ghost

CD 2 of Deluxe edition:
- The Future Bites (instrumental version)

CD 3 of Deluxe edition:
- The Future Bites (bonus content)
1. Personal Shopper (extended remix)
2. Unself (long version)
3. Ha Bloody Ha
4. Move Like a Fever
5. King Ghost (extended remix)
6. I Am Cliche
7. Wave the White Flag
8. Eminent Sleaze (extended remix)
9. In Pieces
10. Every Kingdom Falls

Cassette of Deluxe edition:
- 4 exclusive demo versions

Line-up / Musicians

- Steven Wilson / vocals, guitars, keyboards, sampler, bass, percussion, programming
- David Kosten / programming, synthesizers, drums (9)
- Michael Spearman / drums, percussion
- Nick Beggs / bass (7), Chapman Stick (5)
- Adam Holzman / keyboards (5,8)
- Richard Barbieri / synthesizers (2)
- Jason Cooper / cymbals & percussion (3)
- Blaine Harrison, Jack Flanagan / backing vocals (4)
- Elton John / spoken word (7)
- Bobbie Gordon, Crystal Williams, Wendy Harriott, Fyfe Dangerfield, Rotem Wilson / backing vocals
- The London Session Orchestra (5)

Releases information

Produced, programming, mixing, engineering by David Kosten
Album cover photography by Andrew Hobbs
Art direction by Simon Moore

Label: Caroline International
Formats: Vinyl, CD, Blu-ray, Cassette, Digital (many packages)
January 29, 2021

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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STEVEN WILSON The Future Bites ratings distribution

(384 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (23%)
Poor. Only for completionists (17%)

STEVEN WILSON The Future Bites reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Necrotica
2 stars Watching the Steven Wilson [&*!#]show over the past year or two has been nothing short of hilarious. From Wilson's bold proclamations of not enjoying "guitar music" (what a vague descriptor) anymore, to criticizing several past Porcupine Tree releases, to making a cover of a Taylor Swift song, all the talk of fanbase alienation and entitled prog snobs has made for pretty entertaining discourse. Let's face it: no matter what Wilson was going to release next, he was going to be closely scrutinized and attacked accordingly. If he made another To the Bone, people would accuse him of treading water artistically. If he made another Raven Who Refused to Sing, a bunch of fans would say "stop worshipping the 70s so much" just like a lot of them did the first time. If he reformed Porcupine Tree, a lot of people would criticize him for trying to recapture past glories. And now with The Future Bites, he's being reprimanded for "abandoning his prog fans."

So honestly, I don't mind the fact that he's sticking to his guns when it comes to this new album. He's chosen a new direction, and he's been pretty damn firm on committing to it. After all, much of Wilson's career has been built on reinventing his sound and image, whether that be the psych>alternative>metal progression heard on Porcupine Tree or the decade-hopping he's done with his solo material. Despite the length of the lead-off single "Personal Shopper," it was pretty clear with that song that his next move was to lean into that pop persona he'd been gradually morphing into. But throughout the entire runtime of the song, I couldn't help but feel as though Wilson was getting way too close to self-parody; both with the lyrics and the pointless spoken-word Elton John feature. The track serves as a general thesis statement of the album and its promotional material, in that it criticizes several facets of consumerism and bandwagoning and yet it's set to music that's largely meant for more mass appeal than his previous efforts (again, song length aside).

And believe me, this problem never goes away for the rest of the record. Wilson has constantly been pushing the point that he wants to follow his own muse and not care what the fans think, and yet he's constantly promoting this album with critic scores and TikTok videos as if it's the next big pop culture event. It's causing a large disconnect between his intentions and the quality of the music itself, despite the fact that there's a number of decent tracks here. The bluesy laid-back "Eminent Sleaze" recalls the best vibes of "Have a Cigar" by Pink Floyd, and "Man of the People" has beautifully melancholic guitar chords and an almost No-Man inspired dreamlike first half; however even these songs are never allowed to build to anything interesting because of Wilson's firm commitment to keeping things more concise and compact. Just imagine if the sleek, icy atmosphere in "Man of the People" built up to something akin to post-rock, as if the whole thing was crescendoing into a wider and more lush soundscape. Instead, we get an uninspired second half driven by a cheap-sounding drum beat and boring chord progressions.

I have to clarify here that I don't mind if Wilson makes a pop record. Plenty of his past albums, such as Stupid Dream and the first two Blackfield albums, were great examples of retaining pop sensibilities while maintaining a clear focus and identity. But this is the first album of his that I can actually consider a bit... confused. A lot of people try and pin part of the blame on the previous record To the Bone and its poppier sensibilities, but I beg to differ. The majority of that album's songs at least went to some interesting places by the time they were done, especially the poppier ones. "Pariah" is basically what "Man of the People" should have been, as it eventually exploded into a beautifully vibrant climax guided by Ninet's voice. "Permanating," on the other hand, was a much-needed dose of levity to lift up the listener's spirit. The Future Bites, unfortunately, lacks these moments in spades. "King Ghost" just lumbers along aimlessly over the same dull drum track and annoying falsetto wails with no interesting climax, and "12 Things I Forgot" is just a boring MOR alt-rock piece that doesn't do anything special other than to be a nondescript cross between Coldplay and the newer (see: worst) moments of Blackfield. As a pop record, this album really could have used something as light-hearted as a "Permanating." Even "Follower" and "Self," with the former's harder edge and the latter's enjoyable female vocals, still don't compare.

The Future Bites isn't terrible or anything, but it's painfully average and represents a huge step down from Wilson's previous studio records. It takes itself too seriously to be a fun joyous pop record - especially with the forced and hypocritical commentary it incorporates - and it's too boring and aimless to be a worthwhile artistic statement. I don't think Wilson necessarily "abandoned his fans" here musically, but I do think he abandoned several of the principles that made him so appealing to begin with. Yes, he's always had shallow social commentary on past albums; as much as I love Fear of a Blank Planet, that was always my biggest problem with it. But it's never been as misguided or self-defeating as it is here, and it just makes for a more dour experience than it could have been. Let's just hope that Wilson's direction - both musically and lyrically - is more focused and more sound next time? and that it doesn't take another 3-4 years to put that album out.

Review by The Rain Man
4 stars *Steven Wilson calls Elton John*

Steve: Hi Elton, it's Steve Elton: Oh Hi Steven Steve: I've got this song I would like you to appear on Elton: Oh ok, send it through and I can see what I can do Steve: Great, I'll email you a list of household items and I want you to read them out Elton: That's different but I'll go for it

Disclaimer: This is not the actual conversation but more of how imagine it. To me its completley surreal this collaberation actually happened. Elton John is a mega, megastar. But it does show just how far Steven Wilson has come in his rise and just how well respected he is within the music industry. Many call him the music industries best kept secret. But with each album he just seems to gather more and more momentum. And that is really saying something for someone who has been making albums for the last 30 years through the likes of Porcupine Tree, No-Man, Blackfield as well as remastering a whole load of other albums by other artists.

The thing is as well is that his early stuff wasn't that well received by the mainstream and it wasn't becasue it was bad. In my opinion it was awesome. And that's coming from someone who has followed him since 1999 when Porcupine Tree's "Stupid Dream" came out. It's more he makes more challenging music, venturing into prog mainly as well as other genres which tend not to have mainstream appeal.

But anyway enough of an introduction. This is about his 6th solo album "THE FUTURE BITES" which was due for release June 2020 but due to covid was put back to late January 2021. Whether this was a good move remains to be seen as I think the purpose with delaying it was so the tour would coincide more the release. But at the time of writing covid hasn't gone away and looks like tours are a way off yet.

The first song which was released of "THE FUTURE BITES" was "Personal Shopper" which stands at nearly 10 minutes. And my, my its a rollercoaster. Not only that but in this day and age where you feel there is not much more artists can be different to what has come before. Wilson comes up with this. What makes it so unique is the Abba esque style vocals for the choruses in the song. It is well known Wilson is a huge Abba fan and the influnece really shines through on this one. He did hint at this in his last album "Bones" through the pop genius which was "Permanating" but now he uses the Abba esque vocals, then mixes it with his own vocals in a prog fused upbeat and just dam right glorius track. And from the top of this review you saw the pretend conversation with Elton John. Well this is the track which he appears on. I would go as far to say nothing comes close and this track feels so unique, not just to his own music but also to prog music generally.

There is another track on the album with female Abba esque vocals through "Eminent Sleaze" but its just 4 minutes and while a good track nowhere near as epic. To be honest I was so excited about the direction Wilson took with "Personal Shopper", I wanted the whole album to sound like that. To be fair doing that sort of style is a big risk in terms of going off on a different direction and risking losing fans. So doing a whole album like that may have been too big a gamble. But to be fair he does still seem to have taken gambles with this album as a whole. There is a lot more keyboards on this and also "Personal Shopper" really is the stand out epic with most of the other tracks sitting at about 4 minutes long.

In fact it is just a 42 minute album with 9 tracks. The first track "Unself" is just a minute long. Two other tracks which stand out for me are "12 THINGS I FORGOT" AND "FOLLOWER". Both really upbeat tracks which are just so unbelievably good. The are essentially pop rock songs but have Wilson's add complexities he drives into each song as he keeps pushing boundaries. And that boundary is pushed even more with last track "COUNT OF UNEASE". This is just beautiful. Wilson just slows things right down with a 6 minutee chill out/phase out track. If you have had a busy day and just need to slow right down and relax. Put this track on and you will feel such a sense of calm.

When I first heard the other singles like "King Ghost" and "Man of People" I wasn't totally blown away. And to be honest I am surprised "FOLLOWER" wasn't released as a single. But these tracks do act as stepping stones on an album which builds and builds as it goes on. Then with "Personal Shopper", "Follower" and "Count of Unease" you have a 3 track combo to finish off the album which is hard to beat; both in terms of the diversity of the music as well as the sheer quality. Having just looked up wikipedia to find there is a delux version of the album it looks good but a bit expensive. Extended versions of 3 of the songs including Personal Shopper which is a 20 minute version! along with 7 other tracks. Hopefully these tracks will be accessible in the future at a cheaper price.

Review by LearsFool
3 stars The act of "crossing over" in music - a term that specifically implies bridging the gap between pop and another given genre, usually where the latter is the artist's usual idiom - is always fraught. Within my broad scope of listening, I am quite familiar with the backlash that any given musician or band tends to receive for doing so, whatever their intentions or the ultimate results of going pop. Furthermore, the path that Steven Wilson has gone on to embrace electronic pop rock is itself not surprising or particularly unique. I think of the career trajectory of a quite different group, Arcade Fire, whose last two studio LPs Reflektor and Everything Now were polarizing for fans as they moved into ever more synth-based, danceable indie pop. Thing is, Arcade Fire have always been a rather poppy, anthemic band, even as they once used Old World instruments like mandolins, accordions, and hurdy- gurdys. Those records should not have been that unexpected. Swilson, as has been mentioned above, has flirted with crossover elements for more than two decades, so The Future Bites does not shock or faze me. The problem - and there obviously is one - is that he hasn't always been the best at it. While Porcupine Tree crossed over well, I've never been a fan of Blackfield and I find Hand Cannot Erase and To The Bone to be outright embarrassing. To the point, I find The Future Bites to be some of his best prog pop to date and a welcome shake up after his last few solo albums, but it is still a rather flawed record that shows some of his deepest weaknesses.

Part of what holds back TFB is how he uses the electro-pop elements. These are in-and-of-themselves handled well enough but are also run of the mill for the genre. Wilson and his backing musicians do little to differentiate most of the album from similar artists. This is not to say that I don't enjoy most of it, as they thump and arpeggiate their dour cries, yet it is not as gripping as you'd hope. Indeed, the bonus cuts are some of the best and most unique of the project, with excellent electronics and sometimes even replete with his guitar, played in ways new to him. Furthermore, "Unself" really should have been the longer version included in the deluxe package. More interesting instrumentally is the back half of the record, as it unfolds into some of Wilson's best takes on his unnervingly blissful kind of prog with "Follower" and "Count of Unease", modern updates on what made his '70s revivalism so successful driven by piano and dark old-school synths. "Personal Shopper" is also the best of the album's pop on every level, given a dystopian, happy-go-lucky beat that gives the cut thematic whiplash and power.

As to the lyrics, there are also mixed results. Whereas in the past Wilson has often struggled to connect his lyrics with the concepts he builds many of his projects around, he has achieved synergy on TFB, as he gives his own darker answer to the aforementioned Everything Now's critique of clout and consumerism via a quasi-concept of a titular megacorporation. Again, "Personal Shopper" shows particular strength through the repetitious verses of buying for esteem and country. On the other hand, these are overall some of his weakest and most cliched lyrics to date, even for him. Try to tell me that you didn't expect him to rhyme "take it" with "fake it" as soon as you heard the former on "Man of The People"! And even then, most of the thematic resonance of the record comes from the music videos more than the actual songs.

Going into listening to The Future Bites, I was obviously struck by the hostility to the pop elements, but upon hearing it I can understand why. It's one thing to hold your nose to that kind of music, but while TFB demands progheads have an open mind to other genres, it also demands of all listeners a willingness to take it, warts and all, in service of a solid concept and decent songs. Even after HCE and TTB, and even as I don't expect Wilson to stick to a given kind of prog, I expect him to make magic with the genres he works with, and there are only flashes of that on The Future Bites. Or to describe it the way I did on my first listen: "It's fine". Nothing more.

Review by lazland
4 stars When I get an album and start listening to it, I do not stop to think about what particular sub-genre it might belong to in Prog Archives, or whether, in fact, it should be here in the first place. I am slightly old fashioned in that my first thought is; is this any good? Do I like it? Will I like it moving forward after that initial rush of excitement on the first few listens?

The answer to the (as far as the so-called hardcore fan base is concerned) "sellout" electronica pop/rock album that is The Future Bites is yes. I do like it. It is clever conceptually regarding rampant commercialism and its use of technology (Follower is a very clever commentary, as well as including a fantastic guitar riff). Musically, it is as tight as one would expect from a maestro musician. In terms of its sound, it is as polished as one would expect from the man most in demand for remixes on the planet. And in the 10 or so listens thus far, each time I find myself foot-tapping and head-nodding in appreciation at what I am hearing, most definitively on the quite marvellous 12 Things I Forgot, which, perhaps deliberately, reminds one strongly of my favourite Porcupine Tree track, Lazarus.

Elsewhere, we have a guest slot by Elton John on Personal Shopper, an extremely clever exposť of all those utterly inessential "essential" items of shopping we are so addicted to, showing if nothing else that Sir John has a nice sense of irony about himself. The passage where he reels out the list of items is a dreamy sequence in stark contrast to the relentlessly upbeat opening themes, and this continues before the corporate electronica reasserts itself.

Most of the music here is beat driven and electronically upbeat, and certainly a massive contrast to the relentless, if brilliant, gloom of Hand. Cannot. Erase, although there are a couple of tracks which can be identified as natural progressions from that album in their melancholy, namely Man of the People and Count of Unease.

All in all, I admire this album and the driving force behind it. Wilson is progressing, and taking his musical vision to places he wants them to go, rather than the somewhat obsessive minority who demand a repeat of In Absentia every time he records something.

In closing, I might also add that this album reminds me quite a bit of that period in the early 1980's when every "proper" Genesis fan decried the commerciality of ATTWT and Duke, and wanted Collins strung up after the massive success of Face Value. Let me tell you something. There are a great many people about now who love a lot of the music we hold dear on this site because of the accessibility of those albums, and others such as 90125. They listened, and thought, "this ain't half bad", and explored further.

Steven Wilson is a man who I think is becoming more and more like the man he obviously holds in the highest regard (and it is reciprocated), namely one Robert Fripp, an artist and leader who spent an entire 50+ career reinventing himself and his music.

I for one look forward very much to the next instalment of Wilson's journey, because The Future Bites is an excellent album those with an open mind to class pop/prog/rock will take a great deal of enjoyment from.

And you know what? As much of a masterpiece I regard aforementioned Hand....this one will be on the deck quite a bit more often, even if it is as background whilst I work. Yep. Accessible. Easy to listen to, but still oozing intelligence in every note and word. That will do for me.

Review by rogerthat
3 stars I often find myself extremely conflicted when I review albums that are clearly not prog for this website. The rules require that the maximum score I could give for a non prog album would be 3. And I cannot bring myself to do that for say a Fire of Unknown Origin or even Rainbow's RIsing.

But not this time! ;)

Wilson talked a big talk at the time of the release of The Future Bites. He took aim at those listeners who prefer to listen to second rate prog but would hate your guts if you made first rate pop. Fair enough and I understand and agree with the sentiment. The trouble is when as an artist you put yourself out there with a statement like that to back your clearly not-prog album, you are begging for the question to be asked as to whether YOU have made a first rate pop album.

I wish I could say the answer is yes.

It isn't, not in my opinion.

It's a first rate PRODUCTION. Wilson's production continues to be top notch, one of the best in the business. I miss the days when pop was still produced like this as lately it is oversaturated with loudness and compression. Wilson's production is luxuriant and the songs sound easy on the ears without lacking punch.

The trouble is this isn't future bites anything. The musical composition itself is very by the numbers. There is hardly anything to surprise you if you have been casually familiar with the goings on in pop. I would even go so far to say that a lot of it is quite dated, evoking the pop that was made maybe ten years ago or older.

One song in particular is super dated but in a nice way. 12 Things I Forgot instantly brings the 90s to mind with a sweet melody that could have found its way into Cathy Dennis' Am I The Kinda Girl album. Which by the way is not an insult if you've heard that album at all. The melody, the arrangements evoke greener Britpop pastures gone by that perhaps Mr Wilson enjoyed when he was younger, so much younger than today. Indeed, the harmonizing on the chorus evokes Beatles. There is also a whiff of the song Gary Barlow wrote for Agnetha Faltskog - I Should Have Followed You Home.

There is little redemption elsewhere as Wilson frequently hides his own vocals behind computerised effects. So futuristic it sometimes brings to mind the beginnings of techno.

Wilson pronounced the guitar dead in the interviews accompanying this album. VS Naipaul/Sally Wertheim-like pronouncements declaring the death of the novel/tennis are best avoided but either Wilson does not think so or is consciously trolling us listeners to bait us into listening to the album. After all, I too may not have given this album a few spins had I not been piqued to find out just what was this new album about.

Anyhow, I wonder whether Wilson has listened to the work of Everything Everything, whether he realises that songs like Night of The Long Knives are constructed mostly out of guitars. I mean, I am a hundred percent certain Wilson can forget more about music than what I know about it but even so, such dubious pronouncements do force me to question his wisdom.

Everything Everything is polarizing and quirky but they certainly put out their work boldly and unabashedly and grab you by the collar. That is not something one has been able to say about Wilson in recent years and this album is no exception. His talk seems to be usually followed by a well produced but musically modest affair. What is striking, if anything, is how conservative Wilson's tastes are. I don't mean this in an ideological sense. I mean that he is playing it pretty safe. Even when he ventures far from the comfort zone of a prog rocker, he curates the sounds so carefully it's difficult for this album to offend you.

It does bore me a little though, if I am being perfectly honest. I give it three stars only for the sheer meticulous effort that has clearly gone into putting it together. I appreciate that there are still musicians like Wilson who want to give you a product with high technical values. It is a quality that has increasingly been given the short shrift in the name of everything-goes subjectivity. I respect the polish of this album. But there is only so much you can polish a, uh, semi- turd at the end of the day. Not even close to an excellent addition to any pop music collection, guys; for now, you should be just fine with your Beatles, ABBA, Michael Jackson and Prince albums. Perhaps the future is going to bite but Wilson isn't about to just yet.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
3 stars Steven Wilson begins the new decade with a daring new album - 'The Future Bites' happens to be solo album #6 by the British prog rock icon, and it will quite likely be remembered for the big delay in the release date, precisely from June 2020 to late January 2021. Before diving into the content of this new album, I must say one thing: I'm glad that this album sounds the way it does, and not like 'To the Bone' Part 2 or a reworked version of 'Grace for Drowning' or even a 'Blackfield' spin-off; Steven Wilson has changed directions once again in the seemingly perpetual musical exploration journey that he has embarked on since the mid-90s, and thank god he has... again.

Unlike the album that came right before it, 'The Future Bites' is less guitar-driven for the sake of a more prevalent synth-pop-reminiscent sound, much more minimalistic in terms of the production approach, somehow more chorus-driven and severely electronic. Also, Wilson tips his toes in the field of disco and dance music, if you will, for the good of it.

A well-crafted and well-thought-out modern pop record that will, in my opinion, stand the test of time. Will it be considered his best in some decades' time? I certainly do not know but I had some hidden high hopes that it could be such. However, the kind of revolving concept around the album is well-known to Wilson, as he has explored consumerism, the influence of social media, and current events before, but this time all wrapped around the fictional high-end brand The Future Bites' plot to sell whatever useless crap could be branded.

Musically, this album has all the significant traces of a Steven Wilson record, which might not be necessarily named but are strongly felt once heard, the most dominant of all being the emotiveness of all of his music. Because despite the style and the thematic concept of 'TFB', this is a very emotive record. With songs like 'King Ghost', '12 Things I Forgot', 'Man of the People' and 'Count of Unease', you cannot dismiss this record as a bland or mindless collection of easy-going pop songs.

'Self' is an interesting entry in his catalogue - very electronic and upbeat, quite minimalistic in terms of production but effective enough to be a memorable song. 'Eminent Sleaze' sounds like something that Pink Floyd would have done had they been active in 2021; most likely my favorite song on the album, and another unique Steven Wilson piece. Enough said. 'Personal Shopper' is quite spectacular, almost 10-minutes of sort of dark-dance prog rock fest. Plus, the music video that accompanies this song is absolutely spectacular and this has to be pointed out. Finally, 'Follower' seems to be the only song I cannot get used to. Interestingly, the bonus material for the album is twice as long as the album itself, and contains some pretty good tracks but generally I can see why these were left out (covers, remixes, and shorter, more state-of-the-art songs).

Moreover, an interesting cast of additional musicians and collaborators, including David Kosten, Nick Beggs, Adam Holzman, Richard Barbieri, Elton John, Rotem Wilson, and many more are in to add something to this record. It is sometimes hard to feel the presence of people like Beggs or Holzman but this is not the kind of album that would be in need for their 'full-time presence'.

All in all, this album is strong, different, and surprising. Does it strike the same chord with me like his previous albums? Honestly, not quite. As much as I like the experience of this album that sounds tremendous on headphones, there is something lacking when compared to the masterful 'Hand. Cannot. Erase' or 'The Raven', or almost any other album that Steven Wilson has been involved in. Fantastic choice on his side, however, to continue exploring whatever excites him artistically! Still much more progressive than many other contemporary acts waving this flag.

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams
3 stars My first listening session of this album was disappointing despite that I knew what direction Steven had decided to go. But when I listened to the music in surround, it grows on me probably because I was putting more attention into that environment. Suddenly, the vocals and the electronic effects had more meaning when it's coming from everywhere. From the beginning of the album with the two first tracks, we are not too far from the same mood of some songs from the previous album. There is a lot of vocals effects and multiple chanting parts that drive the melody through a sometimes ambient atmosphere and at other times in some Pop music mode. The song ''Eminent Slaze'' has some Prince and Frankie Goes to Hollywood style of music, and starting with ''Personal Shopper'' there is some addictive groove at an upbeat pace, that will continue in the next song. There is some guitar on this album despite being an electronic album but nothing to compare to his past material as a solo artist. The last song ''Count of Unease'' is a peaceful ending at a slow pace with piano and vocals that as the ambient atmosphere of the song ''Raven that Refuse to Sing''. However, it's a bit frustrating that Steven has not included in the Blu-Ray edition some good songs only available on the Deluxe edition. What rating should I give to this kind of album on a Prog Web site? It's an excellent addition to your music collection, not Prog but who says everything good has to be Prog.
Review by The Crow
2 stars Here is my review of Steven Wilson's new album, which continues to disappoint his lifelong fans despite the moderate quality of the music he continues to produce.

The Future Bites brings us with a Wilson more focused than ever on a modern synth-pop with electronic touches, which has almost nothing to do with the fantastic progressive rock that made him big, and to which it owes its fame, to be honest.

So if you don't like artists like Billy Eilish, Annie Lennox or Depeche Mode, which I've heard snippets of in this The Future bites, you better steer clear of this release. As far as I am concerned, I can only continue dreaming of a return of Porcupine Tree, or at least that Steven Wilson reconsiders and returns to the quality of records like The Raven that Refused to Sing or Hand Cannot Erase.

Best Tracks: Self (I like the robotic vocals at the beginning), 12 Things I Forgot (good British pop song) and Personal Shopper (electronic, hypnotic and genuine)

My Rating: **

Review by Warthur
5 stars Though the preceding To the Bone saw Steven Wilson pivoting from a prog revivalist approach to something more akin to the progressive pop of crossover artists like Peter Gabriel or Kate Bush, even that couldn't have prepared listeners for the left turn into full-on synthpop offered up on The Future Bites.

In retrospect, the logic behind this has become somewhat clearer. It would have been around now that the gradual, careful sessions for the Porcupine Tree reunion album Closure/Continuation would have been coming to fruition - so with his old outlet for his prog instincts coming back into service, Wilson was freed up to concentrate on other musical inspirations in his solo career.

Impeccably produced as always, this isn't cheap, sleazy, straightforward synthpop either - it's spacey, tripped-out, paranoid, and out-of-left-field synthpop which adventurerous listeners will find a lot to like in, and which sounds absolutely bang up to date and modern. If you genuinely only find Steven Wilson interesting when he's being retro, then you'll probably not be took keen on this. On the other hand, if "Steven does synthwave" sounds like a thing that would appeal, then you are in for a serious treat - and for my part, I'm in the latter camp.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Steven Wilson, likely the biggest individual name in the current world of prog, returns with his sixth solo album. After making a name for himself with his longtime prog metal/rock band, Porcupine Tree, he struck out on a solo career (which I've documented here) that has tacked increasingly poppy ov ... (read more)

Report this review (#2904336) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Monday, April 3, 2023 | Review Permanlink

2 stars As a long time fan of PT and Steven Wilsons work, this album really came as a bit of a shock to the system. Hard on the heels (if a four year gap counts as that!) of his last album, it was difficult to see which way Wilson would jump? Would he go for a more traditional sound, as heard on his three p ... (read more)

Report this review (#2772709) | Posted by fathomer1963 | Saturday, June 25, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Initially, when I listened to the excerpts from of the future (at that time) album The Future Bites, I realized that Steven Wilson had completely broken with his past; it was already clearly felt on his previous solo album "To The Bone". This time we do not even have a lurch into a new wave or p ... (read more)

Report this review (#2651905) | Posted by Devolvator | Monday, December 13, 2021 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Four chords that didn't make a million? I'm going to call things for what they are. This is a disaster. I'm pretty sure most people seem have some sort of respect towards Steven Wilson due to his early (and undoubtedly good) early records in bands such as Porcupine Tree, and with his f ... (read more)

Report this review (#2590976) | Posted by Gorgut Muncher | Tuesday, August 31, 2021 | Review Permanlink

1 stars - Review #12 - This album gave me a couple chuckles, but not good ones. I seriously can't believe how Steven has literally been going downhill since The Raven That Refused To Sing, it's sad because at that time he was seriously the best progressive rock artist in the world. While Hand. Canno ... (read more)

Report this review (#2541511) | Posted by King Brimstone | Saturday, May 8, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The master of modern progressive rock and the man most responsible for keeping the legacy and spirit of 70's prog alive in the modern era has made a near full pivot towards synth-based pop... And we all should have seen it coming. As Pitchfork writer Sam Sodomsky reminds us in his latest review ... (read more)

Report this review (#2509865) | Posted by ssmarcus | Monday, March 1, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars If you have been following the progressive rock and metal scene over the past 30 years, the name Steven Wilson will be no stranger to you. After leaving his main band Porcupine Tree, in 2008 Wilson started a very successful solo career that has seen him rapidly become an icon for the contemporary pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#2506384) | Posted by lukretio | Tuesday, February 16, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars sorry steven,,with respect: the fact of this album is not my cup of tea, is not because someone like me likes hard metal or prog or jazz, blues of hard rock! which i do all. the reason for this album being a very disappointed album in my opinion is due to factor of being more than nothing specia ... (read more)

Report this review (#2504225) | Posted by tugatugatuga | Wednesday, February 10, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "The Future Bites" is a brilliant album, one of the highlights of Steven Wilson's huge discography. I'll discuss the pop/sell-out discussion only briefly. Yes, it's pop and no, it's not a sell-out and I don't care either way. Musically, the album is first and foremost a reflection of Wilson's lif ... (read more)

Report this review (#2502759) | Posted by Glubluk | Saturday, February 6, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars To begin with, it must be said that the sound and production are truly magnificent. You can tell that it is a job in which the sound is very worked and very careful. The truth is that the multichannel experience makes you discover sounds and textures that are lost when listening to streaming. This i ... (read more)

Report this review (#2501432) | Posted by DiversionConVinilos | Wednesday, February 3, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It's a pretty good album, just not a progressive masterpiece. I still feel this is quite prog, but in the same way some of 80's Genesis albums were also mostly prog, just not the same stuff that has been made before by their creators. The Future Bites has a strong Jamiroquai-esque + Pink Floyd ... (read more)

Report this review (#2501203) | Posted by Deadwing | Tuesday, February 2, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars For those bemoaning the electronic, synth pop elements - it's a social critique album centered on today's (and tomorrows) culture. The clue is in the title, really wouldn't make sense if it was an hour of mellotron and guitar solos would it? For those saying its derivative - I have no doubt t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2500810) | Posted by bartymj | Monday, February 1, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Now this is a stinker. Back when "The Future Bites" was announced, Steven Wilson told the press how experimental this record would have been. Paradoxically this is one of his most derivative albums ever: "Man of the People" sounds like a rewritten version of "Welcome to the machine" by Pink Floy ... (read more)

Report this review (#2498332) | Posted by Malve87 | Saturday, January 30, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This release is the mind of SW reflected in electronics. He has been trending toward pop rock for the last few years and is actually going back to his roots, ie No-Man from thirty years ago. If one listened to Steven in the early 90's this is exactly what he sounded like. Now he is even more sarc ... (read more)

Report this review (#2498193) | Posted by MaxnEmmy | Saturday, January 30, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An album that explores another of his many faces, delving into beautiful and haunting synth pop SONGS with glorious arrangements and acute socia criticism. This is an album that PROGRESSES from his former sound and fits right into the progressive rock concept of PROGRESSING forward as in PROGRESSIVE ... (read more)

Report this review (#2498071) | Posted by belatarr | Friday, January 29, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I discovered STEVEN WILSON for the first time in 2002 with the release of the album "In Absentia" by PORCUPINE TREE. I didn't know anything about this band until this revelation which literally changed my view of contemporary prog music. Since then I have not stopped accumulating everything that rel ... (read more)

Report this review (#2497267) | Posted by RelayerFr | Tuesday, January 26, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Future Bites has been teased for the past 2 years and this is the result of waiting for about 4 years after To The Bone, the album that has grown on me quite a bit. The tone and genre of this album is much more elegant and synthpop than the previous album, the previous was much more a Te ... (read more)

Report this review (#2496577) | Posted by ComaEcliptic | Saturday, January 23, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Finally, this is it, the new Steven Wilson's album. A year later and with more than half of the songs released as singles. So, what does it sounds like? Edit: Now that I have listened to the Deluxe edition Box I can tell you that some of the best songs are in it, and would rise the note to 4 star ... (read more)

Report this review (#2496118) | Posted by Soul2Create | Thursday, January 21, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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