Steven Wilson - Grace For Drowning
Progressive Rock
Disc 1: 7 songs (39:38) Disc 2: 5 songs (43:23)
Release year: 2011
Steven Wilson , Kscope
Reviewed by Goat
Album of the month

A release from last year that I was looking forward to greatly yet missed at the time of release, Steven Wilson's second solo album is - of course - marvellous. Split into two CDs, entitled Deform To Form A Star and Like Dust I Have Cleared From My Eyes, the album builds upon Insurgentes' efforts without repeating them. As first track proper Sectarian proves with acoustic guitar building into a proggathon keyboard/saxophone duet, the man has prog running through his veins instead of blood - he has described the album as a tribute to the blossoming of late 60-early 70s musical freedom yet it's very much a Steven Wilson album. Wilson is the musical cousin of Devin Townsend in some ways, building on a prog rock base and incorporating elements of other genres in without losing that identifying signature style. And it's that style, running through the melancholic and beautiful Deform To Form A Star and the almost IDM-infused brilliance of No Part Of Me, that makes Grace For Drowning such a special listen.

First single Postcard is about as mainstream as it gets here, an intricate and melodic little song about lost love and feeling gloomy - but this is far from a mainstream album, as the following Remainder The Black Dog makes clear with a startlingly ominous atmosphere caused by a hypnotic piano motif, like something from a latter-day Opeth album. The track switches course partway through, a saxophone solo heralding a shift in nature towards more Dream Theater-y groove and flute-y meander; of course, it remains brilliant throughout. And the twenty-three minute epic Raider II is a glorious thing, beginning with minimalist piano and moving through King Crimson-y dirge, light jazzy melody and ambient hums, a complex piece that requires multiple listens to even halfway unlock. Less of a 'song' than Porcupine Tree's marvellous Anesthetize, more of an experience, it's a wonderful addition to the album.

Grace For Drowning is a lighter album than Insurgentes, if no less intense, but it does require attention - sure, you can throw it on in the background, but you'll miss the many nuances present. Close, in-depth listening is required, a moody, atmospheric album as much designed for the heart as the head, but sure to delight and pleasure both. Which is what the best music should do.

Killing Songs :
Sectarian, Deform To Form A Star, No Part Of Me, Index, Raider II, Like Dust I Have Cleared From My Eye
Goat quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Steven Wilson that we have reviewed:
Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 98 / 100
Steven Wilson - Insurgentes reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
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