Originally Posted by Reaper16
17.) Steven Wilson – Grace for Drowning
Steven Wilson, in the absence of a Porcupine Tree album, released one Hell of a solo album this year. It’s 2 discs (!) and Wilson considers it part of a loose conceptual album cycle with Opeth’s Heritage (#36 on my list). It does similar things as the Opeth album: it looks backwards at prog giants from the past – King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Yes – and wears those influences on its sleeve and also constructs the sleeve itself out of those influences and the whole shirt too is made of those influences too. It’s what you’d expect of Steven Wilson: tight songwriting (despite the length of songs), a few grand tracks, a few experiments that never achieve full lift-off. It doesn’t have the song structure issue that the Opeth album does, but it does suffer in my opinion of being too reliant upon sounds from the past. Still, this is a dynamic and enjoyable album on a number of levels. If I could like you to the 25-minute long “Raider II” I would, but instead you can settle for a 9-minute long song. Despite the flaws of these two albums, I’m excited for the third and final album in this cycle coming next year – a album that Wilson and Mikael Akerfeldt (of Opeth) are writing and performing together.
This was an album that was a very challenging initial listen, but has grown on me tremendously. As much as I have come to really like the album, the material is even much better live. For instance, I felt "Raider II" on disc was overindulgent and needed some editing, but live it was absolutely epic ... my jaw literally was agape.
You make a very good point about relying too much on sounds of the past. From the first listening, I was sitting there going, "That sounds like 'Devil's Triangle' on 'In the Wake of Poseidon,' that sounds like something from 'Red,' that sounds like 'Cirkus' on 'Lizard ...'"
Still, I really like it, more so than "Insurgentes" (which isn't bad).