Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February 20th, 2013 - Grace For Drowning With The Devil

The Meista here with a delicious pairing for you this evening my friends.  Tonight I'm pairing Steve Wilson's 2011 album "Grace For Drowning" and a Lucifer Belgian Pale Ale from Brouwerij Het Anker.

Steve Wilson's "Grace For Drowning" is a truly brilliant and progressive album.  Progressive rock as defined by Wikipedia: "progressive rock, also referred to as prog rock or simply prog, is a rock music sub-genre, which... intended to break the boundaries of traditional rock music by bringing in a greater and more eclectic range of influences, including free-form and experimental compositional methods."  All this and more can be heard (and felt) on "Grace For Drowning."  This is the second solo album of Steven Wilson, the multi-talented producer, songwriter, guitarist, and frontman of Porcupine Tree.  With haunting melodies, lyrics steeped in emotional transition and brilliant despair, and fantastically complex musicianship and songwriting, Wilson creates an album of deceptively dark beauty.  He employs rock, jazz, folk, classical, and psychedelia along with a very impressive group of prog musicians for this dark beauty including: Jordan Rudess, Steve Hackett, Tony Levin, Nick Beggs, Trey Gunn, and Pat Mastelotto among others.  The artistic depth of this album is beyond my simplistic writing skills.  It is truly awe-inspiring.  Imagine if you will a musical melting pot of Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Opeth, and early Genesis along with true honest emotion... the result is "Grace For Drowning."  Songs like the title track, "Sectarian," "Deform To Form A Star," "Pastcard," "Remainder The Black Dog," "Index," and the epic 23+ minute "Raider II" are all experiments in musical genius and artistic integrity.  "Grace For Drowning" is a must for any fan of progressive rock!

As the name of the beer denotes, Lucifer by Brouwerij Het Anker is an ale of deception.  It is sweet and mellow, but there is a sneaky bite of 8% ABV hidden in those ester notes.  In a frosted schooner, Lucifer pours a very pale and hazy yellow-blonde hue with a 2-finger, foamy head that leave pronounced and sustained lacing upon dissipation.  The nose produces a rather vibrant bouquet of floral hops and sweet fruits.  There are notes of ripe pear, soft banana, lemony zest, and Belgian yeast.  Like "Grace For Drowning," the flavors are complex and multi-layered.  This "fiery blonde" ale is top fermented giving it some farmhouse sour "funk," but with the utmost subtlety.  The Lucifer has some nice blended flavors of white wine, pear, and a touch of spice and bitter hops.  It is very crisp, very refreshing, and somewhat dry.  The complexity of this ale is great for the complexity of the Wilson's songwriting.  The dryness and bitterness works well with the melancholy.  The mellowness works well with the beauty of the performances.  And the hidden, boozy kick is a nice coupling with Wilson's element of surprise and the listeners continuance of discoveries with each spin.  All-in-all, a very nice brew to contemplate the genius of Mr. Steve Wilson!

Well, I'm going to finish drowning myself gracefully in this glass of Lucifer with Mr. Wilson as my guide.  Until next time... cheers!!

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