Photo by Frank White

Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson and the Aristocrats’ Guthrie Govan conjure a prog juggernaut with a little help from studio giant Alan Parsons.

Steven Wilson likes creepy stuff—he must. There’s no other explanation for the Porcupine Tree frontman’s new solo album, The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories)—a prog-rock opus featuring six supernatural tales in the vein of M.R. James and Edgar Allan Poe, and eerie artwork by German illustrator Hajo Mueller. It certainly explains a lot of his other activities, including producing Opeth’s 2001 death-metal masterpiece Blackwater Park and collaborating with Opeth frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt on the decidedly macabre, Grammy-nominated Storm Corrosion project.

As with his compatriots in Porcupine Tree, Wilson seems to gravitate toward monster musicians, too. After touring with Aristocrats drummer Marco Minnemann and keyboardist Adam Holzman in support of his previous solo effort, 2011’s Grace for Drowning, Wilson also brought terrifyingly talented Aristocrats guitarist Guthrie Govan into the fold. Govan’s incredible legato technique and stunning phrasing lend The Raven a tastefully virtuosic guitar element that brings new dimensions to Wilson’s majestic vocabulary, and it was perhaps Govan’s presence in an already fire-breathing band that gave Wilson the courage to track the album almost completely live—a feat he never felt confident enough to attempt before. Of course, it helped that Wilson tapped one of the giants of studio engineering—Alan Parsons, renowned both for his work on Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon and his many hits with the Alan Parsons Project—to oversee the sessions at L.A.’s equally legendary East West Studios.

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