Grace For Drowning Review

artist: Steven Wilson date: 10/25/2011 category: compact discs
Steven Wilson: Grace For Drowning
Released: Sep 26, 2011
Genre: Progressive Rock, Experimental Rock
Label: Kscope
Number Of Tracks: 12 (2CD)
"Grace For Drowning" is an excellent album that does not hold back Steven Wilson's creative mind-flow of musical ideas. This album is ideal to those who have followed Wilson over the years through his other projects.
 Sound: 9.7
 Lyrics: 8.3
 Overall Impression: 9
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reviews (3) 15 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9
Grace For Drowning Reviewed by: maitepo, on september 30, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Steven Wilson has come a long way in terms of writing music. Two decades ago, he was just starting to form Porcupine Tree - which went from a joke to a one-man-band to a well-respected group today. Now Wilson releases his second solo album "Grace For Drowning" which is an album that does not hold back any of Wilson's ambitions. "Grace For Drowning" encompasses almost all of SW's work into two discs. The sound is incredible. One can easily distinguish the instruments and vocals. The sound quality is also great - especially coming from a CD. Everything sounds crisp and clear, making this a worthwhile buy which is expected from Wilson's work. The jazzy guitar riffs, haunting vocals, and sharp percussion blend together nicely. Some people wonder how Grace for Drowning compares to SW's other projects, including Porcupine Tree's recent album "The Incident" and SW's previous solo album Insurgentes. To put it simply, "Grace For Drowning" incorporates old Porcupine Tree (pre-"Stupid Dream") sounds, Blackfield's airiness, and Bass Communion's quirks. King Crimson has also influenced SW in this album. If you are into retro psychedelia/jazz prog/experimental music - and new tastes - then "Grace For Drowning" is for you. // 10

Lyrics: Wilson's lyrics are simplistic when they are being sung. Of course, if you were to comprehend their meaning, then the situation would change. The meaning of the lyrics is something that needs to be analyzed well or at least explained by SW himself while on tour. The complexity of the music mixed with the simplistic expression of SW's lyrics blend nicely. Good luck attempting to figure out what he's really saying though. Wilson's vocals have greatly improved from Blackfield's "Welcome To My DNA". At least there is emotion here, especially when the music has feel. However, I've heard SW sing better in his other works. If only he had sang more throughout this album. // 8

Overall Impression: Overall, the album was worth the money. The packaging was neat, the product itself is well made, and the digibook format makes it enjoyable to thumb through while listening to the album. Here's a breakdown of each song: 01. "Grace For Drowning": A song that for some reason pays homage to Blackfield's "Glass House". A nice intro that begins with a mellow tone while giving the audience a sense of what "Grace For Drowning" will be like further into the album. 02. "Sectarian": An instrumental piece that is filled with a multitude of subtle musical complexities: instrument selections and timing/rhythm. Sounds like a joining of PT's albums "The Incident" and "On The Sunday Of Life". Quite enjoyable but felt like it was reaching a climax at times but never achieved it. 03. "Deform To Form A Star": One of the most beautiful pieces of the first disc. The piano's sweet sound blended with Wilson's melodic/fitting vocals makes this track great. The guitars provide an ambient mood, complimenting the background voices as well. If only the song's ending piece did not stop so abruptly. 04. "No Part Of Me": Interesting mix of "Abandoner"-ness(from "Insurgentes") along with a unique ethnic feel similar to that of "Blood" from Blackfield. The second part of the song justifies the meaning of "No Part Of Me". The entire track feels like it is two moods in one. Airy, symbolic, wonderful. 05. "Postcard": Sounds like SW is really writing a postcard to someone estranged in this track. Voices and strings bring out this song's beauty. Nice way to ease a listener after "No Part Of Me". 06. "Raider Prelude": Haunting and unforgiving. The atmosphere of the album changes here. "Grace For Drowning"'s second part should start here despite the fact that this track is still on disc one. Not really a track - more of transition, but okay. 07. "Remainder The Black Dog": What does this mean? No clue, but the track title's complexity compliments the track itself: weird and complex. The album's jazzy feel is prevalent here, mixed with some "No Twilight Within The Courts Of The Sun" feel too. Interesting concoction of instruments here as well. Love how the flute pays homage to PT's early days - "The Sky Moves Sideways" maybe. 08. "Belle De Jour": In a way this song acts as intro to disc two. The guitars are both the main instrument here as well as the striking figure in this track. Sounds like a haunt-inspired welcoming to the second disc. Very simplistic track yet elegant. 09. "Index": One can imagine a collector gathering items to add to his/her collection in this song. A chilling track that effectively uses strings and effects to set the mood. Sounds like a contingency plan throughout. A nice addition to the album. 10. "Track One": Similar to PT's "Anesthetize" in which the track is split into three sections. An interesting beginning with SW's a capella, stern and aggressive middle, followed by a dreamy/beautiful end. The finale is one of Wilson's best pieces. 11. "Raider II": This is song is like an entire album itself: it is a stand-alone song, is a conglomerate of sound samples, and is a lengthy track as well. "Raider II" is a very tiring track to absorb and comprehend. Fans of PT's "Metanoia" or "Insignificance" would at least appreciate this track's second half. Not a bad song but difficult to listen in one sitting. 7/10 12. "Like Dust I Have Cleared From My Eye": Sounds familiar to PT's "Stars Die" for some reason. This song represents art rock and dreaminess. A good ending to an entire album - feels like the end credits of a good movie. Thanks for the outro Mr. Wilson. "Grace For Drowning" is an excellent album that does not hold back Steven Wilson's creative mind-flow of musical ideas. This album is ideal to those who have followed Wilson over the years through his other projects - especially Porcupine Tree in the 90s and Bass Communion. "Grace For Drowning" can also be good buy for anyone interested in hearing something new. Would buy this again and/or recommend to a friend. Awesome job Mr. Wilson and thanks for making this album affordable to starving college students. // 9

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overall: 8
Grace For Drowning Reviewed by: Raj Tiwari, on october 24, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: I am a relative recent fan of Steven Wilson. I got into Porcupine Tree about 3 odd years ago and therefore am more familiar with his PT catalogue, this is my first experience of his solo work and I must say I'm completely blown by it. I will not give details on songs as most of the reviews have covered the songs pretty well. I will give an over all feel of the album from the perspective of a PT fan listening to Steven's solo work for the first time. Though not as mainstream as the PT albums in respect to the riffs or the vocal consistency there are elements in this album that reminds one of PT (the slower ballads). That said, this album is far greater in breadth and depth and though a casual listener may not be able to appreciate this album much any investment of multiple listens will give the listener pleasure as great if not greater than the more popular PT releases. The intricacies and depth of some of the songs is mind boggling. Small twists and build ups with classic melody and instrumental passages at times slow that work towards atmosphere creation with keys, Synths (not being a musician I may be a bit off track here) guitar and background vocals and at other times jazz/70's influenced passages. The first CD is more mainstream, the second is darker and far more experimental with the exceptionally brilliant 23 minute "Raiders II", a slow snail paced start to a fantastic instrumental build up with flute (or flute sounding instrument) and quite a few twists and turns. If you are willing to put the effort and give time to this song it will more than repay you with many listens with ever changing favourite parts for you. I disagree with some posts stating this song is too long and would have been better if shortened. To me this could be amongst the real great 20 minuters ever. All in all this album needs a few listens to grow on you as any good progressive album should. Steven Wilson has not disappointed and has made a gem, the production of the album is fantastic a forgone conclusion given that Steven is at the helm. Opeth's "Heritage" is also a great record to come out at this time and comparisons between the two is bound to happen considering the close association of Steven with Opeth. I personally feel that this album is more fulfilling than "Heritage" as it is keeps the listener guessing all the time and flows better. Overall wonderful stuff, very rare to get mainstream musicians bringing albums of this quality on personal releases. I feel this will be a classic in the days to come. A fantastic effort by Mr. Wilson. // 9

Lyrics: Lyrics are quite personal. Steven Wilson recently lost his father and the lyrics convey loss of family and loved ones like in "No Part Of Me" where love is equated with security. The lyrics are deep and quite dark. I must also state that there are limited lyrics on this album as there are far more instrumental passages. // 7

Overall Impression: Compared to other albums by Porcupine Tree the album is more mellow (CD-1) and far more experimental (D 2). Overall progressive power album which requires one to spend time listening to get to really get the feel of the music. "Raiders II" is the classic track on this album spanning 23 odd minutes starting slowly and growing into a monster musical journey inparts reminding one of Suprtramp and Floyd. I already have two copies of the album a Deluxe edition as well as a Blu Ray edition. // 8

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overall: 10
Grace For Drowning Reviewed by: Avdmee, on october 25, 2011
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Sound: "Grace For Drowning" is an outstanding record. This isn't an album for everyone, although there are songs which I'm convinced everyone can like if they would just give it a try. But these are not catchy three minute pop songs, although there are some songs which are relatively short. The overall thought of this album was to make a record that needs some sittings like the track "Raider II" (23 minutes long) needs soms sittings before you can criticize it. // 10

Lyrics: That's why there are two CD's in "Grace For Drowning" that are separate but at the same time depend on each other, therefore this is not an album that's about the lyrics, it's all about the music. You can hear a little bit of everything like jazz, rock and electronic tunes with much texture and layers in it. // 10

Overall Impression: Keeping that in mind, lets not forget about the astounding artwork the CD, Blu-Ray and especially the deluxe book gives you! Steven did an amazing job putting this together with Lasse Hoile, artist of mix media, photographer, graphic artist, film-maker/director, and cinematographer. As a graphic designer myself, it's rewarding to buy something which I can hold and look at. "Grace For Drowning" is an inspiring album - both the art and music it contains, and it is unique in it's own way. The album of 2011! // 10

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