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Porcupine Tree - Deadwing CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.11 | 1982 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars On the eve of their biggest album release ever (it's not out here, at any rate), it behooves me to comment on what may be the biggest album by the most popular prog band around today, if progarchives readers are to be believed. I've always had mixed feelings about Wilson and crew, although I feel much more positive than negative. When I first heard this album, I thought it was a big step backward, containing some overt commercial tendencies and a move towards more alternative rock. After seeing the live DVD and enjoying the songs, I revisited it and do feel more positive. On the negative side, the tune "Halo" seems to me a real stab at commercial acceptance. It's either the best song Staind ever did or the worst PT has done, put it that way. I've burned myself a new copy (from my legally purchased copy, of course!) with it removed, so I can enjoy the release better!

That horrible tune aside, this album has a lot to commend it in a progressive sense. "Deadwing" and "Arriving" are two monolithic slabs that may seem monotonous at first, but there actually are a lot of tasty bits in there as well in between the verses. Wilson has done a better job of integrating the metal tendencies of the current band with the ambient ones brought by Richard Barbieri than he did on In Absentia, where pop and hard rock influences clashed a little bit at times, IMO. "Open Car" is an example of a tune that has a big, melodic, clunkily pleasing chorus but also has a lot of interesting textures. And "Lazarus" is a genuine Wilson classic on par with "Trains" or "Even Less", melodic and sweet but also powerful. On this album his lyrics improved a lot- earlier he indulged in a lot of Smiths-ian "poor me" personal alienation stuff (ie "don't hate me, I'm not special like you") that didn't appeal to me. I admit that the profundity of lyrics is certainly a matter of subjective taste, but when he is writing less personal material, I find his lyrics more interesting, which gives me great hope for the new concept album. While originally leery of the newer crunchy-riff PT, I have to admit that the combination of alt-rock, metal, prog and ambient that Wilson is now pursuing is unique and compelling. I now rate this album as highly as In Absentia, Lightbulb Sun and Stupid Dream. I'm not sure it's genius, but the thought that this kind of adventurous music can keep a major label affiliation here in the musical dark ages is heartening.

Heptade | 4/5 |


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