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

A progressive masterpiece.

Oh, it’s good. Existing Wilson/prog rock fan? You’ll love it, no question – buy it now. Those undecided, read on.

Written with his virtuoso band in mind, The Raven That Refused To Sing demonstrates Steven Wilson’s total freedom to capitalise on the full scope of his ideas, and to embrace progressive rock in its truest sense – creating musical, emotional voyages within each of the six (five of them 12-minute) tracks.

If you think that sounds grandiose, you’re right. But the prevailing Victorian ghost story theme – unveiling probably Wilson’s most emotive vocals to date – lends a macabre introspective quality, part of an altogether ‘bigger’, more focused drive than his previous work. It’s thrilling from the start. Luminol blasts in, setting hairs erect on the back of your neck which seldom go limp throughout; Guthrie Govan’s jazz-fusion guitar adds serious mettle; The Holy Drinker packs a rocking groove and ominous choral swells; melancholy passages are gut-wrenching… You’ll want to sit back, ingest and go “Ahhhh!”.

In a sense it’s something of a retro record – the sound of someone who loves King Crimson and co. harnessing present-day resources to produce something truly imaginative, with early 70s prog-rock values at heart. Sad, weird, beautiful, fiercesome; music to move and excite.

Polly is Features Editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage) and writes a few things. She also writes for Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer, and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.