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STEVEN WILSON

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Steven Wilson biography
Steven John Wilson - Born 3 November 1967 (Kingston upon Thames, London, UK)

STEVEN WILSON, perhaps most widely known for his role as the frontman for the popular act PORCUPINE TREE , is an artist from the UK who, through his various side projects, has spanned a vast number of musical ideas and concepts. Some of the styles he has been known to utilize are heavy prog, psychedelic, electronica, post-rock, ambient music, drone, metal, and art rock. Furthermore, WILSON is intensely focused on production values, dynamic mixing and mastering, and all other sorts of building albums that sound best in high-quality systems. In short, WILSON has always been an artist that appeals to audiophiles and fans of meticulously produced music. This shows up strongly in each of his bands and projects, but it plays even more of a role in his solo efforts.

Photo by Lasse Hoile

Though some of his earliest musical recordings were demos that predated even Porcupine Tree, his solo releases did not truly start appearing until his "Cover Version" singles began in 2003. Essentially releasing one a year, each "Cover Version" contained a particularly unconventional song that WILSON chose to reproduce and one original song by WILSON. Also, in 2004, WILSON put out his experimental electronic album "Unreleased Electronic Music Vol. 1." Neither the "Cover Version" singles nor "Unreleased Electronic Music" feature any other performers, aside from some input from THEO TRAVIS on the latter.

⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2013 ⭐

⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2011 ⭐

That trend changed at the end of 2008, however, when WILSON released his first full-length, proper solo album, "Insurgentes." Featuring, among others, PORCUPINE TREE drummer Gavin Harrison, Prog bass legend TONY LEVIN, current DREAM THEATER keyboardist JORDAN RUDESS, and saxophonist/flautist THEO TRAVIS, "Insurgentes" proves rather quickly that it is not simply another ambient or electronic release. Toying with many of the styles that can be seen in PORCUPINE TREE, "Insurgentes" is a mature, laid-back album marked by less metal and more noise than PT's later albums. WILSON has stated that the album draws a lot o...
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STEVEN WILSON discography


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STEVEN WILSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.82 | 1050 ratings
Insurgentes
2008
4.19 | 1764 ratings
Grace For Drowning
2011
4.29 | 2079 ratings
The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
2013
4.30 | 1515 ratings
Hand. Cannot. Erase.
2015
3.51 | 474 ratings
4
2016
3.62 | 425 ratings
To The Bone
2017
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Future Bites
2020

STEVEN WILSON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.34 | 187 ratings
Catalogue/Preserve/Amass
2012
4.58 | 38 ratings
Get All You Deserve
2017
4.32 | 28 ratings
Home Invasion (In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall)
2018

STEVEN WILSON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.52 | 142 ratings
Insurgentes - The Movie
2010
4.61 | 309 ratings
Get All You Deserve
2012
4.66 | 51 ratings
Home Invasion : In Concert At THe Royal Albert Hall
2018

STEVEN WILSON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.81 | 113 ratings
Nsrgnts Rmxs
2009
3.04 | 5 ratings
Tape Experiments 1985 - 86
2010
3.17 | 122 ratings
Cover Version
2014
3.38 | 74 ratings
Transience
2015
3.50 | 2 ratings
To The Bone: Deluxe Edition
2017

STEVEN WILSON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 49 ratings
Cover Version
2003
3.64 | 47 ratings
Cover Version II
2004
3.72 | 47 ratings
Cover Version III
2005
3.44 | 56 ratings
Unreleased Electronic Music
2005
3.83 | 44 ratings
Cover Version IV
2006
3.44 | 48 ratings
Cover Version V
2008
4.48 | 77 ratings
Harmony Korine
2009
3.50 | 60 ratings
Vapour Trail Lullaby
2010
3.57 | 54 ratings
Cover Version 6 plus full collection bundle
2010
3.33 | 9 ratings
Demos
2010
4.04 | 49 ratings
Postcard
2011
3.80 | 25 ratings
Cut Ribbon
2012
3.97 | 122 ratings
Drive Home
2013
4.29 | 7 ratings
Luminol / The Watchmaker
2013
4.08 | 13 ratings
Happiness III
2016
3.46 | 24 ratings
Last Day of June (Game Soundtrack)
2017
3.00 | 10 ratings
Permanating
2017
3.50 | 8 ratings
Song of I
2017
3.67 | 9 ratings
Pariah
2017
3.20 | 10 ratings
The Same Asylum as Before
2017
3.25 | 8 ratings
Refuge
2017
3.00 | 8 ratings
Nowhere Now
2017
3.22 | 18 ratings
How Big the Space
2018

STEVEN WILSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.29 | 2079 ratings

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The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Zoltanxvamos

5 stars 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗗𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗗𝘂𝗼

For a duo like Alan Parsons and Steven Wilson to team up in the 21st century, that's a real 21st century duo. Alan Parsons' Production, Steven Wilson's masterful writing ability, and all the masters of their instruments here. Adam Holzman of Mile Davis? Nick Beggs? Marco Minneman? You got great player's here. This is Prog to the max, Steven Wilson's songwriting on this album was absolutely top notch, and with Alan Parsons... having him supervise the writing and the production, this has to be an album worth the top 100 on ProgArchives. It's a fluid album from start to finish, the harmonies are absolutely top notch, the production is incredible, the musicianship is off the charts, and of course the songwriting is great. 'Luminol' is a 10/10 song, all the playing is incredible, the song is fluid, the sax is just incredible, the flutes, its Prog mastery.

'Drive Home' is a more song rock piece with progressive elements, the vocals and vocal harmonies are of only Steven Wilson genius, the clean tone guitar is very tasteful, and of course the fingerstyle guitar playing is everything it needed to be. The lyrics of course are very depressing in concept, the music video does show the story of the lyrics so please watch the video, its amazing. Steven Wilson challenged himself to write a soft rock tune with prog elements, but it had to be catchy enough to be a hit single, and of course it had amazing time signatures. The recording quality of the song is impressive but Alan Parsons is behind it so I'm not too impressed because... well... Alan Parsons.

'The Holy Drinker' was much more of a playing driven song with a much darker subject matter. Alan Parsons on slide guitar, and the band just trying to make such the song was of modern prog genius. This song makes you wonder if prog has changed much at all, Modern Prog takes so much from the Prog of the seventies that you wonder if Prog Rock should be just renamed to Art Rock. I love the approach of this song, the harsh lyrics, the tonality, the production is (again) through the roof, and (of course) the songwriting is dark and amazing. Steven Wilson is a fantastic songwriter (when he wants to be).

'The Pin Drop' was very similar to the previous song in terms of songwriting style, very dark, and playing based, but it has more of a harmony based songwriting style. Steven wanted a song that could show off his harmonies and that's what he did. Very masterful, very compelling, very harsh, and very dark, fantastic lyrics as well. What can I say? This song just fits the album perfectly, it flows well, it has emotion, it has all the elements to be prog. I love this song, its unbelievably fantastic, it's immaculately played.

'The Watchmaker', so melodic, so emotional, so many harmonies, so many acoustic guitars... where did it all go wrong for Steven... my idol... but now gone pop. Steven, you had something gorgeous here, I just wish you stuck to this. The harmonies are exploring differences, they are gorgeous, this is really gorgeous music. Everyone is playing to their max, the songwriting is 100/10, and that isn't a typo. I mean it. This song has my top 20 spot of all time, its so beautiful, its so well written, and t its hard for me to play on drums, so from a musicians perspective, this song is incredible. Steven, from one of your biggest fans, seriously... I wish you stuck to this. By The Way... I loved the reference to YYZ by Rush, very clever Steven.

The Title Track... here we go... the absolute pinnacle of the soft rock mix with Prog. This song brings tears to your eye everytime, the lyrics are unbelievably depressing, it's a soft song with a very emotional background. The violin on this song just works and blends perfectly with the tone of the song. I really do wish Steven stuck to this structure, this songwriting style, this beautiful lyrical mood, the harmonies, etc.

Overall this album is beautiful, its Steven Wilson's masterpiece. I just wish he stuck by this style, he would've been an influence to much more, and he would've become a legend... even though he already is considered a legend. Well done Steven, you made a beautiful album, one that brings emotion.

 4  by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.51 | 474 ratings

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4
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Corcoranw687

3 stars I remember cautiously getting excited for this release despite it's short length, which is somewhat comical now as his 2020 full length album appears to have a runtime of 39:42, just 3 minutes longer than this "mini album". However it contains mostly outtakes and a recording of a Porcupine Tree song, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I remember listening and being disappointed, and not giving it much a chance after that. So, with nothing but free time for a few weeks, I am going back to albums I didn't give a chance to. I've heard it said that Wilson's demos are the quality some people release as final products, but this recording is a bit different as we have some live recordings as well. The opening and closing tracks were recorded on tour in 2015 and touched up in studio, and I wouldn't have known the difference.

The best song is opening track 'My Book of Regrets', beginning like a standard pop track as bits of strong musicianship begin to pop out bit by bit. Nick Beggs takes a minute to shine as always, and we have a wild solo from Dave Kilminster, followed by the best riff on the album. The band slows it down here, we get a second guitar solo undoubtedly from Steven this time, before returning to the beginning section. This could be one of my favourites from the entire SW catalogue, truly accessible prog. We follow with a dreary outtake from 'Raven', this would have worked as part of a larger song for sure but I understand why it wasn't included. It reminds me more of 'Grace for Drowning' than 'Raven' as well. 'Happiness III' has an interesting chorus and a brief appearance from Guthrie Govan (his only one on this collection) and a very curious vocal from Wilson in some verses, you'll know it when you hear it. 'Sunday Rain Sets In' is a much better instrumental, going through several moods and sections. Spacey, jazzy and slow in a way that doesn't get boring, featuring Theo Travis' flute in that incredible ambient way, this was a major surprise for me when revisiting. 'Vermillioncore' gives off Porcupine Tree vibes as well, and is more designed for live performance as the visual of Beggs on the Stick and Wilson on bass jamming this out is a sight. Our riff gets some guitar doubling it before a keyboard showcase for much of the third minute. Finally 'Don't Hate Me', an excellent rendition instrumentally, although I find Ninet singing the chorus to be a bit awkward honestly. I never liked the lyrics to this song and is kind of funny to hear someone different sing them. Instrumentally it's superior to the studio recording(not quite the awesome live version with Gavin Harrison however), I love the middle and Theo's solo as always. Adam Holzman also kills it here, a much stronger and jazzier solo(I believe I read once that Richard Barbeiri hates jazz). This was much better than I recall, I bet I was upset and would have given this 2 stars on release but it's 3.5 stars today

 4  by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.51 | 474 ratings

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4
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 4 has been described as a stopgap release; as a means of Steven Wilson to release a handful of songs which didn't fit on his more conceptual albums of the time; and even as a proper, though short, Wilson album.

In the 1980s, record companies would sometimes release a song (often an extended version) on 12-inch, 33 RPM vinyl, accompanying it with a handful of odds and ends of interest primarily to fans of the artist. These were nominally 'twelve-inch singles' (or 'maxi singles') but were really pretty different from most twelve-inchers because they often included non-dance tracks (not to mention that they weren't singles). But they also weren't mini-albums, insofar as they were focused on a single song. Marillion and Frankie Goes to Hollywood both used this format to release remnants; as the CD became the primary format, the Smashing Pumpkins and Prince (a Wilson favorite) did the same.

Anyway, that's how 4 strikes me. Specifically, the centerpiece is the opening track, 'My Book of Regrets.' It's a nice crossover rock tune with pop sensibility. Somehow it stays interesting over nine and a half minutes. At half that length, 'Happiness III' takes a while to get going, eventually approaching (though never quite achieving) catchy-rock territory la 'My Book of Regrets.' 'Happiness III' sounds like a b-side or an outtake (the latter of which is, as I understand, exactly what it was). The other vocal piece is the closer, 'Don't Hate Me.' Here's the perfect song for this type of release: a remake of a Wilson song originally recorded by Porcupine Tree. The value added is that this rendition is based on a live recording, and is arranged as a duet.

The relatively uninteresting instrumentals 'Year of the Plague' and 'Sunday Rain Sets In' seem to have been ideas worth recording, perhaps, but I can see why they were left off of The Raven That Refused to Sing and Hand. Cannot. Erase., respectively. 'Sunday Rain' shifts gears abruptly at 2:55, which must be when the rain sets in for fifteen seconds or so. Nice symbolism. The other instrumental, 'Vermillioncore,' is much more interesting, moving through a handful of disparate sections, one bordering on fusion and another on metal.

In short, 4 is effectively a 'My Book of Regrets' maxi-single: one strong track with a patchwork of curios. This one's really a fans-only product, although for those interested in modern crossover prog, the standalone download of 'My Book of Regrets' would be worth the US$0.99 for which it's currently retailing on amazon.com.

 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.30 | 1515 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I thought the great quality of The Raven that Refused to Sing was hard to achieve. But Steven Wilson proved me wrong!

Because Hand. Cannot. Erase is just another masterpiece of modern prog-rock which showcases the personality of this author and his great ability to create different moods, atmospheres and at the same time cohesiveness in the very same album.

The tracks are catchy, very varied, with a splendid songwriting and crystal clear production. What more could we ask for?

Best Tracks: I really cannot tell. The whole album is just wonderful! Nevertheless, 3 Years Older, Perfect Life, Home Invasion and Happy Returns are my favorite here.

Conclusion: Steven Wilson gave another lesson of his mastery with this wonderful record, which managed to achieve the quality of his previous masterpiece and even surpasses it sometimes.

Far away are dubious times of Insurgentes and Grace for Drowning. Hand. Cannot. Erase. is just an almost flawless prog record which every fan of this kind of music should listen and enjoy many, many times.

My rating: *****

 Grace For Drowning by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.19 | 1764 ratings

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Grace For Drowning
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Meltdowner
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Steven Wilson's second album is such a fantastic listening experience, almost like a ritual for me. I always play it in Surround sound in a pitch dark room and let myself plunge into the music.

I find the use of dynamics and silence for dramatic purposes very well done and is particularly refreshing in these brick-walled production days.

There aren't many tracks that stand out from the rest, except maybe "Deform To Form A Star", since they work better in the context of the album. For me this album is like a journey where I find myself going deeper and deeper into the abyss only to find light at the bottom.

Compared to his other works, this album is probably easier to dismiss due to its brooding nature and length but it's incredibly rewarding on multiple listens.

 Tape Experiments 1985 - 86 by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2010
3.04 | 5 ratings

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Tape Experiments 1985 - 86
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars By 2010, Steven Wilson's many fans were demanding to hear the early recordings that he had made and Wilson was at first reluctant to release them, considering them experiments that were not supposed to be heard by the general public. But the demand to hear the early Porcupine Tree tapes, the even earlier recording from "Altamont" and "Karma" and some of the bizarre recordings that he made while "goofing around" with his audio equipment.

This collection called "Tape Experiments 1985 - 1986" brings together some of this material. Originally, this was meant to be sent out to those who pre-ordered the "Insurgents" DVD. That idea was trashed and instead the CD single "Vapour Trail Lullabye" was sent out instead. The music from this album ended up being offered as a free WAV download in 2010 and was later made available physically as a vinyl only edition on the Tone Float label.

This music is definitely strange and eerie, not what you would expect If you have only heard his more recent music. However, Steven was very much into experimenting with sound and psychedelic music. The first track here is the 10 minute soundscape called "Cries of Lucia". This is made up of vocal recordings into a 4 track cassette player that was made by Wilson's father. He layered his voice through a tape delay machine. The result is something my wife calls Halloween music. It is definitely a spooky sound, with various odd noises and textures mixed, processed and placed together into a long soundscape. Wilson said the track was inspired bye Luciano Berio's piece for electronics and voice called "Visage" which was also sampled in a No-man track called "Sinister Jazz". It is also part of the sonic track from "IEM" called "The Gospel According to IEM".

The remaining tracks are shorter and don't go past the 6 minute mark. "I May Be Some Time" utilizes a lot of Farfisa Organ and recording with variable speeds into the same 4-track cassette machine. It is based on David Bedford's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner". It has the same queasy and eerie sounds as that album. "Constellation" was also recorded on the 4 track machine and was inspired by Tangerine Dreams "Zeit". It uses ambient textures made by guitar, moog and a string synthesizer. "Them No. 1" is one of my favorites off this album. It uses the Moog Prodigy and a String Synthesizer with sound effects and radio transmissions mixed in and chopped up.

"The Life and Times of Signmund Freud" is based on concrete techniques inspired by classical - modern music Steven was listening to at the time. He uses a 2-track analog tape as the recording format. The sounds that were recorded were dubbed and overdubbed onto the tape and then cut up into many smaller pieces and re-edited. Wilson considered this a hit and miss technique that took a lot of experimenting around with. He only kept the noises and sounds that worked claiming that it took him 2 weeks to create 4 minutes of music. "Wood Between Worlds" is a live performance directly made to a 2 track analog tape. This one is very atmospheric and peaceful with natural sounds surrounding a Farfisa Organ passed through a tape delay. The natural sounds were recorded from his parent's garden using a mic he hung outside his window. The last track is "Seen". It was recorded onto a 4-track tape machine. He overdubbed various guitar layers through a tape delay. Wilson thinks it was influenced by John Martyn's "Small Hours".

This music will definitely not appeal to several people. It is definitely experimental and nothing like his more current material. If you like the experimental music of Robert Fripp or some of the many Progressive Electronic artists, then you will like this, but there are some tracks that might seem rather amateurish. Remember, when this was recorded, Wilson was pretty much an amateur, but he was developing himself into the amazing musician that he is. I find the recording quite intriguing, but it isn't something I would listen to a lot, except when I am in a mood for something different. These are pretty much experimental soundscapes, and if you listen to them immersively, they can generate some strange images in your mind. Wilson always had a knack for this however, and at least you aren't bogged down by disorganized meandering so much since most of the tracks are manageable. Mostly fans or collectors will be interested in this, but I believe those interested in electronic music will find it intriguing. If there was more wasted material on this album, I would consider it a 2 star album, but since it is smartly edited and not so meandering, I can easily see that it deserves 3 stars.

 To The Bone by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.62 | 425 ratings

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To The Bone
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by DominicS

4 stars I admit that when I first listened to some of the tracks from this album, I was sceptical due to how its more mainstream sound greatly contrasted with his two previous jazz influenced albums, 'Hand.Cannot.Erase' and 'The Raven That Refused to Sing'. However, I now come to regard this album highly in the Steven Wilson catalogue as it is a clear example of what prog rock is all about: developing or 'progressing' the sound of music. Like most of his albums, this one has its own new and unique sound which is exciting and makes a refreshing change from his previous albums ? he has progressed his own sound. Therefore, while the album may sound less progressive, the fact that Wilson has chosen to do something different makes this album stand out in the progressive world.

It is unfair to label this a pop album, like a few fans sometimes do, as that is an immature way of looking at it. The most obvious point to make is that the album features a nine-minute song called 'Detonation' ? not many pop albums include a song of such length. While this would probably please many prog fans, for me this is not the strongest song on the album. Many of the ideas in the song are repeated at different dynamics and textures which at times is highly effective and sounds awesome. However, this repetition is excessive for a nine-minute song and it would have been nice for one or two other sections to have been introduced to add a greater variety. There are definitely stronger songs on the album such as 'Song of I'. This again is not pop like at all, it is more prog due to its ambiguity and atypical three-part structure. The climax at 2:16 is a thing of sheer beauty, almost like an explosion of bottled-up emotion, featuring a beautiful string section that creates occasional dissonance against the other instruments. This then returns to how the song begun, texturally bare and full of tension ? such a fantastic contrast. Other songs from the album do a similar thing, such as 'Pariah' and 'Refuge' ? two of the strongest songs that build an atmosphere in slightly different ways. 'Pariah' follows the conventional verse-chorus structure that showcases Ninet Tayeb's angelic voice perfectly. What makes this song so impressive is the moment at 3:29 when the listener is suddenly hit by an unexpected but glorious wall of noise. It is so overwhelming, and I can't help but smile with joy when I hear it. 'Refuge' has a similar effect on me yet differs from 'Pariah' in the respect that we can hear it building to a climax throughout which succeeds in filling the listener with a strong sense of anticipation. My favourite bit of the song, however, comes at the end when all that can be heard after this immense guitar solo are these harmonically rich piano chords accompanying a harmonica and then Wilson's voice to end ? such a magical moment.

Wilson cleverly balances the album out with more upbeat and rockier songs in order to counteract the many songs on the album that are more mellow and atmospheric. 'People Who Eat Darkness' is very catchy and energetic, displaying the main overdriven guitar tone used on the album ? a superb tone that is an example of an overdrive that is clean and crisp if that makes sense. My favourite bit is the chordal transition from the verse into the pre-chorus as it is an unusual chord change that is unexpected and sounds very cool indeed. The other most obvious upbeat track on the album is 'Permanating' which seems to have divided Steven Wilson fans the most due to many believing it to be a cheesy pop song. This is an unfair judgement; yes, it is a pop song, but the chords used are not typical of many modern-day pop songs, especially the descending intro chords ? I find this interesting rather than problematic. I'm not ashamed to say that I like this song, I admire Wilson's bravery in including such a divisive song but after all he is doing what he wants to do and not allowing himself to be directed creatively by his audience's desires and tastes. I think this is fair to say about the album as a whole, he has gone in the direction he wanted to pursue despite what listeners might think. Although an album such as 'Hand.Cannot.Erase' is a masterpiece start to finish, if Wilson had created a copy of this album I personally wouldn't be as interested in listening to it because it wouldn't be anything new to listen to. Despite what people may think, 'To the Bone' is a new and exciting album with few flaws in it and much to analyse. It is a shining example of what prog is all about: developing and creating new sounds which Wilson has successfully done within his own body of work.

 The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.29 | 2079 ratings

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The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars Despite repeated listens to Steven Wilson's third album, I've never been able to get properly into it, despite the fact that it has been praised as a masterpiece by many, as I find it to honestly be a tiring, somewhat dull listen. Almost all of the songs here are at least somewhat derivative of the prog giants of the 70s, often quite heavily, leading to a collection of songs that lack the same fire that the classics had, leading to a dreary bunch of songs that end up missing the mark to at least some extent. Furthermore, unlike with what normally happens with compositions by Steven Wilson, this contains a significant amount of extended solos and instrumental sections, which not only feel overlong, but also remove the emotional impact that is trying to be achieved in many cases.

A big issue in the album is the fact that many songs have some strong ideas, but then drop the ball, leading to many songs feeling somewhat half baked. 'Luminol' starts off incredibly strong for the first 4 minutes, with a great, energetic bassline with various instruments being played over the top, including an impressive flute solo. This part strongly reminds me of 'Yes' with a bit of 'The Mars Volta' thrown in as well. Unfortunately, after the extremely promising intro, the song slows down considerably, invoking an atmosphere akin to a weaker version of the song 'In The Court Of The Crimson King'. this section drags on far too long and leads to the momentum that was being built up to become lost, meandering in mediocrity for a while, before trying to reclaim what was lost at the end. Both the songs 'Drive Home' and 'The Pin Drop' are extremely tiring to me, and end up causing me to lose any interest in continuing to listen to the album past those points. 'Drive Home' is quite beautiful, but drags on far too long, especially the 4 minute guitar solo, which while very impressive, is also quite boring by the end and feels like it could have been shortened considerably. 'The Pin Drop' breaks the mold of the album by just being quite poor all the way through, rather than just for a portion of it, sounding like a budget 'Porcupine Tree' song, with vocals that are quite weak. 'The Watchmaker' is by far the biggest example of wasted potential however, as the first few minutes are incredibly beautiful and full of powerful emotion, which ends up fading during a long instrumental break, which is a major shame considering how great I find the lyrics. 'The Holy Drinker' and the title track are both fairly worthy songs however, with 'The Holy Drinker' being a fun, enjoyable prog rock track, abandoning the attempts to make an emotionally moving song, instead having the lyrics be about a priest who loses a drinking contest against the devil. While the song undoubtedly carries on for a bit too long, it is not as big an issue as with the rest of the album, and sounds mostly great. The title track is by far the best song here however, successfully doing everything that most of the rest of the album failed to do, creating an extremely powerful, emotional song with good progression and tasteful instrumental sections. The crescendo throughout is extremely slow and subtle, with the climax only being slightly more eventful than the rest of the song, but it works absolutely perfectly, producing what I can easily call one of Steven Wilson's greatest solo songs, and saves the album from being rated even lower.

Despite the immense amount of potential this album has, it drops the ball at almost every turn, and the exquisite production and interesting concept don't do enough to save the album. When it comes down to it, every track other than the title track needs to be cut in some way, since the album as it is happens to be quite bloated and uninteresting for the majority of its length.

Best songs: The Holy Drinker, The Raven That Refused To Sing

Weakest songs: Drive Home, The Pin Drop

Verdict: An album with a great deal of potential, but despite each song having some great ideas, almost all of them drop the ball in one way or another, leading to a patchy record that is bloated and downright boring in places. Since this is such an acclaimed album, I feel like I'm missing something here, so give it a listen anyway if you enjoy Steven Wilson's music, you'll probably enjoy it.

 The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.29 | 2079 ratings

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The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

5 stars With Porcupine Tree definitely on hold and after two good albums which nevertheless failed to translate all the genius that this man showed with works like Deadwing or Fear of a Blank Planet, Steven Wilson finally released his masterpiece!!!

Because The Raven that Refused to Sing is one of the best prog records of this decade, if not the best. An outstanding album from start to finish with very weak moments inside (maybe The Pin Drop is a bit weaker, despite being a very good song) and incredible musicianship.

This time Steven Wilson finally managed to truly differentiate his solo career from the Porcupine Tree sound with a much more symphonic record, with roots in the 70's and tons of jazz elements but much more better integrated and not so boring as in Grace for Drowning.

Best Tracks: as I said, I think than The Pin Drops is a bit weaker and more inconsequential than the rest the songs, which are marvelous examples of the best prog-rock imaginable.

Conclusion: in my opinion, The Raven that Refused to Sing marked one of the clear peaks of Steven Wilson's career. A thrilling album, very well written, dark and complex. And he also managed to surround himself of the best musicians imaginable to help him record his best compositions since Fear of A Blank Planet and the result was another masterpiece of modern symphonic prog.

Thank you, Steven! This is what we expect from a man of your talent.

My rating: *****

 Grace For Drowning by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.19 | 1764 ratings

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Grace For Drowning
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After the unsatisfactory and a bit disjointed Insurgentes, which was like a compilation of Porcupine Tree unreleased tracks, Steven Wilson returned with Grace for Drowning!

And there he crafted a more coherent collection of songs, with a style which moves between the strength and power of Porcupine Tree and a much more jazz and psychedelic oriented sections. Sadly, this parts of the album are a bit dull and boring for me, making the listening of tracks like Raider II not really attractive.

Nevertheless, the album has enough good songs to be an enjoyable experience, and the lyrics are always interesting despite lacking a concept behind them like in Fear of a Blank Planet or the later The Raven that Refused to Sing.

Best Tracks: Deform to form a Star (the best track of the album, pure beautiful prog piece), No part of Me (simple, good written song) and Index (great lyrics and a very sinister tone)

Conclusion: Grace for Drowning is a better album than Insurgentes, but it does not reach the quality of the best Works of Porcupine Tree, having a lot of filler tracks and too much improvised jazz and psychedelic moments for my taste.

Nevertheless, the second Steven Wilson effort with his own name is a very competent and well-crafted piece of prog music which deserves to be heard at least a couple of times.

My rating: ***

Thanks to Dean for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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