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Steven Wilson - "Insurgentes" (CD)

Steven Wilson - "Insurgentes" CD cover image

"Insurgentes" track listing:

1. Harmony Korine
2. Abandoner
3. Salvaging
4. Veneno Para Las Hadas
5. No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun
6. Significant Other
7. Only Child
8. Twilight Coda
9. Get All You Deserve
10. Insurgentes

Reviewed by on November 15, 2010

"'Insurgentes' is impossible to label with any genre tag, defying the laws of music and challenging all who dare to listen. Simply put; 'Insurgentes' is a masterpiece."

It’s always something different from person to person, but everyone has that one album that crosses the line over into a state of spiritual experience. A piece of music, that when in play, causes the listener to dive deep into a realm of pure musical enjoyment. Steven Wilson’s debut solo album “Insurgentes” is an absolutely definitive journey through endless genius; a musical work that is flawless in both its execution and creativity. The passion Steven Wilson has for music echoes through every note he plays and while employing the talents of greats like Tony Levin, Jordan Rudess, and Gavin Harrison, each composition is distinctly his own. “Insurgentes” is impossible to label with any genre tag, defying the laws of music and challenging all who dare to listen. Simply put; “Insurgentes” is a masterpiece.

The effortless combination of orchestral, post-rock, electronica, noise, post-metal, and neo-classical elements create the Picasso of a vast musical world. Every composition is abstract in its purest form, using non-traditional methods to create the ten tracks contained within. Chilling melody finds itself paired with an aggressive edge in album opener “Harmony Korine.” While being a beautiful track in its laid back atmosphere, there is also a post-metal influence that breaks through in the chorus. As with every other track on the album, what makes this song special is not the short bursts of metal. Throughout the audio journey, subtle intricacies are placed in the most fitting locations, used in creating backdrops of a scenic wonder. Every note, chord, sample, voice, and piece of noise is worthy of worship, especially in the ways these are deployed in each song.

“No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun” is a composition that challenges everything you know about music and how specific instruments are meant to be played. The drums are flailing around, creating fills that are near trance inducing and go into direct conflict with Steven Wilson’s exotic lead guitar style. To some the lengthy guitar solo that begins the song might sound like noise, and in sections it is meant to sound chaotic, but it transcends into a level of intellect that almost no other guitarist has ever achieved. While coming across as being a long and noisy mess, it never breaks off key and stays true to the composition’s backbone. The sudden starts and stops within “No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun” are also that of pure magic. One moment you are neck deep in an enchanting guitar solo, the next a wall of heaviness is bombarding your senses and as soon as it came, it’s gone – moving into a quiet bluesy cosmos. Not to mention Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess works miracles on the keyboards and piano. There is no other song out there that is quite like this, there is no other album out there like this.

There is not a single low point on this album. From the creepy, near Neurosis like style of “Salvaging” to the art rock essence of “Only Child” and the heartbreaking fervor of the title track “Insurgentes,” each song has a distinct identity and purpose. Every piece falls perfectly into place on this album and while it does take an extensive amount of time to grow on the listener, it will eventually reveal itself to be one of music’s true masterworks, being a direct challenge to the world’s current iPod addicted generation.

As he demonstrates on the documentary film of the same name, Steven Wilson is out to prove that music can mean more and is more than just a file on a computer. Music is a form of true, expressive art and the music included here on Steven Wilson’s solo debut is nothing short of life changing.

Highs: Pure musical creativity that both defines and defies the laws of music.

Lows: The special edition hardcover set with all of the bonus content is sold out.

Bottom line: This album is for those who are looking for a completely new and unique sound experience.

Rated 5 out of 5 skulls
5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)