Released: 2009, KScope
Guitarist Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree released his debut solo album in February of 2009 titled INSURGENTES. Even though I have not listened to that album, I recall the frenzy it created amongst the prog-rock/prog-metal community. After critical acclaim and accolades, Kscope records have released six remixes (two of which are remixed twice) of the album’s songs titled NSRGNTS RMXS. As I mentioned above, having never listened to the original INSURGENTES, this review will not compare the remixed songs to the original ones, but will evaluate the album on its own merits. I should mention that I personally find remixes to be almost universally unnecessary and disappointing. NSRGNTS RMXS proved to be no exception.
The album opens with “Harmony Korine” reworked by David A Sitek of TV On The Radio. Mellow vocals are combined with a dreamy ambient music loop and drum machine beat. “Abandoner” is redone by the Engineers and is probably the best track on the album although the Danse Macabre remix of “Abandoner” is also atmospheric and peaceful, perfect music to sleep to, but good for almost nothing else. The absence of crunching guitars, aggression, and anything even vaguely resembling heavy, makes this shimmering dream-like album a snooze-fest, not to mention that every track is dark and brooding, with positively nothing bouncy to liven things up. There is no denying that there are some ethereal qualities to this album that will probably appeal to fans of ambient music much more than any hard rock or metal fan.
In sum, there is obviously a market for this type of album, and fans of Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree, prog-rock completists, and ambient music fans will doubtless enjoy this. The subtle elements and quiet nature of the songs will require some careful listening, perfect for a day with nothing to do. However, do not be fooled into thinking this is metal. This is the polar opposite of metal and if you are looking for something to bang your head to, well then you should look elsewhere.