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


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.26 | 2606 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars What is it? Porcupine Tree fully embracing progressive rock songwriting but with a sound and lyrics that instead reflect the perspective of a depressed, angsty teenager.

Voice (4 stars) ? Singing style improved upon 'Deadwing' with 'Way Out of Here' showing better utilization of the vocal effect that makes him sound distant (as if singing through a telephone). Vocals take a more angsty route given the perspective of the teenager. An excellent album lyrically ? with the juvenile lyrics often memorable and/or hard-hitting (take 'My Ashes' or the beginning of 'Way Out of Here'). Vocal delivery is at its most simplistic and juvenile in the title track, but I can't help but smile hearing him sing lines such as 'xbox is a God to me', 'my mother is a bitch', 'their music is crap', among other childish phrases. The age of the singer unfortunately comes through, killing the immersion a bit, particularly on parts of 'Anesthesize'.

Sound (5 stars) ? We have again reached perfection in terms of instrumentation, this time the musicians themselves. Steven Wilson's guitar playing reaches its pinnacle, the bass lines are as good as ever, the keyboards create all needed soundscapes in the best way possible. Last but not least, Gavin Harrison's performance established him as one of the best drummers in rock history ? often playing extremely complex odd-metered rhythmic patterns, sometimes in the form of polyrhythms, yet such complexity musical, borderline melodic. The band plays symphonic balladry ('My Ashes'), angsty punk rock (title track), loud prog metal bursts, industrial/electronica, eerie extended prog rock passages and in the case of the long 'Anesthesize' all of the above. The best example of the musicality of the band is the last 90 seconds of 'Way Out of Here'. The sound production of this album while very competent is not among Steven Wilson's best work, but it is hard make a deduction given the instrumentation present.

Song (5 stars) ? The songs are part of a concept album though stand on their own. The album is dynamic, but avoids accidental tonal whiplash, given the right placement of heavy metal bursts and changes of mood. Other than two powerful, emotional ballads ( the string-laden 'My Ashes' being particularly heartbreaking), we have a lengthy angsty title track (that may work best edited down to a compact 4-5 minute song), the dynamic but always haunting 'Way Out of Here', the electronica-tinged 'Sleep Together' that also includes a strings section, and of course, the very impressive 17-minute long 'Anesthetize' that has a lot to say, but takes its time developing its brilliant themes. My favorite themes being the tribal percussion blending with stretched vocals, or the odd-metered industrial riff around minute 5.

Key Tracks: My Ashes, Anesthetize, Way Out of Here, Sleep Together

Zitro | 5/5 |


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