Album Review: Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing

Released 25 February 2013
Recorded East West Studios, Los Angeles 15th-21st September 2012

Steven Wilson is a busy man. When he’s not fronting Porcupine Tree, he’s busy remixing (sometimes in 5.1)  the back catalog of King Crimson and Jethro Tull, producing/mixing for Swedish prog/metal band Opeth or making music with his many side projects like No-Man, Blackfield or Storm Corrosion. Seriously, I’m barely scratching the surface of the amount of music Steven Wilson outputs.

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In between doing all these projects, he’s released 3 solo albums since 2008. His latest, The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories) is comprised of 6 tracks (for a total running time of 54 minutes), and finds Wilson renewing with the prog rock sound of Porcupine Tree’s Stupid Dream and Signify. I wasn’t a big fan of his first two solo albums, but this one really hits the mark with me. Wilson may be wearing his influences a little more on his sleeve this time (I can hear the influence of all the prog giants like Yes, Genesis, Rush, King Crimson and Pink Floyd), but as usual, he’s able to turn all those into his distinctive sound (I’m wondering if he was influenced by his work with Mikael Åkerfeldt on Opeth’s Heritage, which featured a strong influence of 70’s prog rock). At times, there’s also a strong jazz influence, which, when mixed with the prog rock aspect, reminded me a lot of Planet X.

Every song tells a mini tale of the supernatural, and, considering the title, it is difficult not to see at least some influence from the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. Wilson’s music isn’t going to get the party started, but lends itself to careful listening while soaking up the dark atmosphere. As usual, the production is excellent (Wilson collaborated with star engineer Alan Parsons) and the album sounds amazing, even when converted to MP3. This is definitely his best solo album, and the one that might please Porcupine Tree fans the most. With the band on indefinite hiatus, this album at least partially fills the void. The opening track Luminol is my personal highlight, but this is an album that is good from start to finish.

**** (out of 5)

  1. Luminol 12:10
  2. Drive Home 7:37
  3. The Holy Drinker 10:14
  4. The Pin Drop 5:03
  5. The Watchmaker 11:42
  6. The Raven That Refused to Sing 7:57



Steven Wilson — lead vocals, mellotron, keyboards, guitars, bass guitar on “The Holy Drinker”
Guthrie Govan — lead guitar
Nick Beggs — bass guitar, Chapman Stick on “The Holy Drinker”, backing vocals
Adam Holzman — keyboards, hammond organ, piano, minimoog
Marco Minnemann — drums, percussion
Theo Travis — flute, saxophone, clarinet

Additional musicians

Jakko Jakszyk — additional vocals on “Luminol” and “The Watchmaker”
Alan Parsons — guitar solo on “The Holy Drinker”
Strings arranged by Dave Stewart, performed by the London Session Orchestra and recorded at Angel Studio 17th October 2012 (Soloist – Perry Montague-Mason)


Steven Wilson – producer, mixing
Alan Parsons – associate producer, recording engineer
Brendan Dekora – assistant engineer

Jean-Frederic Vachon
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