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Steven Wilson - Grace For Drowning CD (album) cover

GRACE FOR DROWNING

Steven Wilson

 

Crossover Prog

4.21 | 1615 ratings

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TCat
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Nobody fills almost every genre of progressive rock better than Steven Wilson, the busiest man in progressive rock today. Every album he has put out under his own name beginning with this up to the current day has been a masterpiece. The overall feel of his music is dark but that is what he does best, whether it's a soft quiet passage or a loud dramatic filled section, there is always a huge amount of emotion tied to his music.

SW says the golden era of rock music was the late 60s into the 70s because that is when music was album oriented and this allowed rock music to expand it's boundaries into both the classical and jazz realms by borrowing from the elements of those composition styles. Everyone knows, at least in the prog world, that he has had a huge part in bringing the classic progressive albums into the modern era by providing the best listening experience possible in the remastering of these albums. He was working on the King Crimson back catalog when he was writing this album, hence the heavy influence of adding brass instruments to some of the music on this album. You definitely hear shades of "20th Century Schizoid Man", "Lizard" and "Starless" in the music here, and I completely welcome this because I love how they are incorporated in the music. In fact, those passages that feature those instruments, along with the heavy guitar in some places, are the best parts of this album. The tracks "Secretarian", "No Part of Me", "Remainder the Black Dog" and "Raider II" have some of the best sections that include heavy guitar and brass together since King Crimson's "Red" album.

The other songs on here are also great compositions and all of the tracks feature amazing dynamics, from the softest murmurings to the loudest blasts of power, everything carries feeling unlike what most music can do. These songs are all well composed and thought out studies of emotion, sound, dynamic and orchestration. Although, SW plays most of the instruments here, he has also surrounded himself with amazing musicians like Tony Levin, Steve Hackett, Theo Travis, Pat Mastelotto, Jordan Rudess, Mel Collins, Dave Stewart among others. There is also many passages here with the symphonic sounds of strings and choir, each used in not an overabundance, but used when needed to add to the dynamics of the songs here.

There is so much to hear on this album, and everything is amazing. The only weak point comes early in the track listing in the song "Deform to Form a Star" which is a little too mediocre compared to the other powerful tracks on this album. Even the mostly acoustic interlude "Belle De Jour" is a lovely short instrumental that introduces the 2nd part of the album, and it has it's place and rises far above filler material.

There has been so much said about this album, and not everyone agrees with it being masterpiece material. I think a lot of the lower ratings come from the fact that a lot of SW's music is quite dark, some say it's too mellow while others say it's too loud. Well, it is all of that. I love the fact that there is so much emotion and dynamics in this album and I love that the songs fill all of the dynamic ranges from soft to loud, just like classical music does. I also love the addition of the jazz instrumentation, chord changes and other elements that are present from time to time. I also don't mind that he borrows from another favorite of mine King Crimson. No doubt that he has Robert Fripp's blessing in doing so, because he can do it in a completely believable manner.

To me, this is nothing but a masterpiece of beauty, dissonance, dynamics and emotion. But it incorporates large portions of progressive elements, which is the most apparent of all the elements here. Many people have reviewed this album, so there really isn't much more to say that hasn't already been said. The overall consensus is that it is a masterpiece, but so are most of SW's other solo albums. If you haven't heard this or any of SW's more recent albums, then what have you been waiting for, it's time to decide for yourself. If you have heard them, then you already know what I am talking about. Amazing music and amazing song writing. 5 stars without question.

TCat | 5/5 |

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