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Porcupine Tree - Fear Of A Blank Planet CD (album) cover

FEAR OF A BLANK PLANET

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.22 | 1889 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

lightbulb_son
5 stars Well here it finally is, Fear of A Blank Planet.

I was able to procure a copy before the release, but I will be buying this as soon as it comes out. For those of us who saw the Arriving Somewhere Tour, you will have already heard the majority of material on the album. I was anxious to see how the live energy would translate to this recording, and I was not at all disappointed. Now for the review...

Fear Of A Blank Planet - A twist on Public Enemy's 1994 album, Fear of A Blank Planet, this track cleverly spins the title into a warning about the effects of the computer age on the youth of the world. The lyrics clearly condemn the mesmerizing effect of video games and the computers ("XBOX is like a god to me" etc.), a theme that revisits Steven's earlier apprehension about the internet (see "Every Home is Wired"). The music is decidedly deadwing-ish and gave me the impression that the rest of the album would follow suit. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't. Overall, an average track IMO.

My Ashes - Lazarus move over. This is a soaring ballad with amazing contributions from Mr. Barbieri on synths and Steven on piano that really give this song feeling. The lovely floating verses sweep into a chorus that will absolutely floor you. And just where I thought this couldn't get any better, Steven is joined by John Wesley to create an amazing harmony on the chorus, as well as a beautiful string arrangement. Perfect song.

Anesthesize - Ah, and now we reach "The Beast". Those who were fortunate enough to see this performed live at nearly 20 minutes will not be disappointed by this incarnation. The raw emotion is captured perfectly, Steven's vocals sound like someone struggling to break free from a thousand chains, "Shut up, be happy. Stop whining, please." The music dives in and out and through beautiful vocals, and then.... Meshuggah? Well apparently, Meshuggah's time signatures really rubbed off on Steven, and this new dimension catapults the song to a whole nother level. The middle section of this song is one of the most incredible sections I have ever witnessed, restrained guitars with eerie keys, and then techno-synths, and then back to "crush-mode". Gavin's drumming is impeccable, and perfectly fits the guitar here. At 9:17 we find a beautiful riff that leads into decidedly Opeth-sounding guitars. And then finally after a few more minutes of brutality, the song recedes from pounding against the shore to gently washing on the beach. A beautiful ending. I could describe every minute, but I'll leave the rest of the shifts for you to hear. This track is the greatest epic PT has ever written, and maybe their greatest song.

Sentimental - Beautiful piano to drumming that sounds like it came off of a Boards of Canada album opens this ballad. Accompanied by beautiful guitar and more synths, this song contains one of the most beautiful choruses Steven has ever written. The repeated "Sullen and bored the kids stay, but in this way wish away each day" is indescribably beautiful. As the previous reviewer stated, this track also contains some guitar near the end that sounds like it was directly lifted from "Trains", but it works well. The track ends in ambience.

Way Out Of Here - A very slow, building song courtesy of Robert Fripp's excellent soundscapes. The pensive verses evolve into a great chorus, and the song gradually gains momentum. The lyrics are quite disturbing at times, "Burn all your pictures, cut out your face. The shutters are down, and the curtains are closed, and I've covered my tracks. Disposed of the car, and I'm trying to forget even your name." Overall, a very good song that really benefits from Fripp's soundscapes, excellent drumming, and a heavy-but-not- too-heavy chorus.

Sleep Together - Well not exactly my cup of tea, but a great song none-the-less. If you're a Tool fan, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy this. Heavy guitars, goods keys, decent vocals. But nothing that blew me away. Thankfully, this does end on a good note with a full orchestra playing a rather Jethro Tull sounding melody.

Well if you could sit through my entire review, bravo. I guess in short what I'm saying is that this is a brilliant album and yet another transformation for Porcupine Tree. If you don't mind the constant synths and the odd time-signatures, you will love this album. Steven's ability to write stunning choruses is obvious and he puts his talent to great use on this album. Not perfect, but as close as you are going to get. 4.9/5.

lightbulb_son | 5/5 |

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