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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 | 1888 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars

An Album That Stirs my Emotion!

This album came to me, right after I completed my 1,000th review at this site, altogether with Steve Hackett's "Wild Orchids" (well, I know, I'm quite late in ordering this CD). I was considering quite a long time on decision which one would go first for my CD player? After asking opinion of prog colleague Purwanto (Prog Reviewer) finally I decided to take "Fear of A Blank Planet" first because I was quite curious about rave reviews made by reviewers at this site. To be fair, I had to use a decent (not luxurious!) stereo set at home: NAD Integrated Amplifier, Phillips CD Player and B&W series 6000 bookshelf speakers. As usual, I expected something great sonic quality from any CD that Porcupine Tree has ever released, so I turned the volume LOUD to enjoy any subtlety that would be produced from the CD. Boom! Yeaaaahhhhh ..!! Man . I was totally satisfied at first spin of this CD that I enjoyed in its entirety at first listen. I even played many times and by the time I'm writing this, I have been spinning (including this time while writing) 8 times. The fourth spin was through my LifeDrive PDA because I managed to rip the CD into MP3 with 192kbps bit rate. But most of them I spin at home with LOUD volume. One thing for sure, this album stimulated my hormonal activities and stirred my emotion at first spin! It's truly awesome! Honestly, while you are reading this review, you might feel a sense of "energy" transmitted through my fingers which type this review with great enthusiasm because I have been experiencing nggeblak for many times while enjoying this album. Am I exaggerating? Of course NOT! For your information, I'm quite sensitive anything related to music, especially prog! And .. this album makes me totally paralyzed - mind-wise! Well, you should try by yourself!

"Stupid Dream" and "In Absentia" Marriage

Musically, this album is a great mix of the band's "Stupid Dream" and "In Absentia" albums, leaving off almost completely the mundane (my view, and it's very subjective!) "Deadwing" album. Why do I say so? There is basically minimum component of psychedelic ingredients in this album as in the case with "Deadwing". A very clear proof of my view is demonstrated through second track "My Ashes" which is actually a mellow track. Observe this track carefully and you will find that this music is composed with a basic structure of Stupid Dream's "Even Less". "Even Less" was initially a track that bored me (Hey, this is an opening track of Stupid Dream! What will happen if the first track is already a boring one?). After couple of spins of Stupid Dream I finally could enjoy the album in its entirety and .. not only that, I adore this album! "My Ashes" and "Even Less" are somewhat interconnected - basic structure and melody-wise. While enjoying "My Ashes" you might tend to sing along "Even Less" melody. Try it!

The mix of these two albums into "Fear of A Blank Planet" album represent soft as well as heavy side of Porcupine Tree music. Why? As you might read my review on "In Absentia" album, you might discover that this is an album that represents the heavy side of Porcupine Tree. I believe, in part, it was due to close relationship of Steven Wilson with Opeth. Yeah, I believe that there was a very close relationship, musically, between Steve Wilson and Mikhael Arkedfelt of Opeth.

The result of this marriage is an awesome music!

Dark Nuance

From the cover with bluish style, it can be expected that the music is going to be dark. In fact, the CD inlay, lyrics and the website of the band are showing something with dark nuance. Free interpretation of "blank planet" might vary from one to another. AS the lyrics convey something to do with kid who is so engaged in front of computer screen. This can be enjoyed on the opening title track which starts where a kid is typing the keyboard to log on certain site. Lyrically, the song depicts a situation where a kid is busy with his own life: x box, mother is a bitch, father never talk to him, pornography (over internet), etc. The verse also says: "My friends says he wants to die / He's in a band / They sound like Pearl Jam / The clothes are all black / The music is crap". The music in this opening track is somewhat in the vein of "In Absentia" album and a bit lighter even though the riffs are similar. The second track "My Ashes" still projects about darkness, in mellow style.

Great Guest Musicians

This album welcomes the contribution from very talented musicians: Alex Lifeson (Rush's guitar player) and Robert Fripp (King Crimson's composer and guitar layer). This represents the marriage of vintage rock and modern rock. I believe the result must be awesome! "Anesthetize" (17:42) is the song where it gives opportunity for Alex Lifeson to fill his guitar solo at minute 4:03. What makes so wonderful about this track is the distinctive guitar solo by Alex during interlude part, even though just before his solo there is a short guitar solo by Steven Wilson. The guitar solo by Alex is really stunning and I can imagine how Rush style blends beautifully into Porcupine Tree's music.

Robert Fripp is given a tough job, i.e. to create soundscape for "Way Out Here" (7:37) track. You might be wondering with this arrangement because basically Robert Fripp is an excellent guitar player. The decision to hire Fripp as soundscape creator is right because come to think of it, many Crimson album which were created with great soundscape.

Does Steve Wilson anything to do with Steve Hackett?

It might be just coincidence with the fact that "Fear of A Blank Planet" by Porcupine Tre has similar style with Steve Hackett's "To Watch The Storm" album in terms of cover artwork. Of course, Hackett's one is more scary and darker than Porcupine Tree's, but both of them are similar. It's okay actually but I'm wondering how does it happen? But of course this is only the cover artwork and there is no such music style alike.

Conclusion

I highly recommend this album because it's a true masterpiece of prog music. I dare to say that anyone who is still new to the music of Porcupine Tree can start with this album and I am sure s/he is going to be satisfied! A will spin this CD over and over as until now there is no sign of being bored with the music. In fact tonight I will play the title track in the radio program that I host regularly right here at Trijaya Network FM Station 104.6 in "Saturday Night Rock" program conducted weekly from 7:30 PM - 11:00 PM. I will discuss the topic on "The Groove Maker" and the title track of this album fits into this category: it has great groove!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

DragonForce "Inhuman Rampage World Tour" Live in Jakarta, 19 May 2007, Tennis Outdoor, Senayan. Featuring The Fastest Metal Guitar Virtuoso.

Gatot | 5/5 |

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