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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 | 1796 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Equality 7-2521
4 stars With Fear Of A Blank Planet Steve Wilson has finally convinced me of his compositional ability. FoaBP captures a previously missing emotional intensity in Wilson's earlier works and brings it to the forefront here in an omnipresent depression and apathy. Wilson finally fines the perfect mixture of his metal aspirations and his more mellow side. Instead of seeing the music as a zero-sum game where one must be dwarfed to accent the other, he brings both to the forefront here for what is Porcupine Tree's heaviest and softest album simultaneously that never ceases to segue perfectly despite this polarization.

Every member of the band performs to a degree I thought impossible judging by their earlier work. Everything has been stepped up a notch, including Wilson's voice which never falls short in its emotive range as I felt previously happened. The most dramatic change I see is in Gavin Harrison. Before hearing this album, comparisons of Harrison to legends such as Peart, Palmer, and Bruford left me stunned. His work here quickly made me a believer though. His technical prowess really takes its own form on this album and I believe he proves to be the most essential cog in the FoaBP machine. His sense of rhythm and melody astonish me, but most impressive is his restraint which he never fears to use.

The portrait FoaBP paints is the darkest shade of melancholy, but in it some of the most beautiful melodies I've heard come into play. Richard Barbieri's choice of tones fit the mood like a glove. Every song on the album delivers well more than its money's worth. The opening and closing tracks are perhaps the most one-dimensional and typical PT metal songs, but they still entertain with some great riffs and drumming. As a general rule for the album, the more depressing a track is the better it is. Which shouldn't come as a surprise given that's really what the album is all about. However, far above any competition is the epic "Anesthetize" featuring a trademark solo by Alex Lifeson (the quality of which I wish he could have duplicated on Snakes & Arrows). The epic consists of three parts, the closing being the strongest with one of PT's finest vocal harmonies.

I've never been one to gush over Steve Wilson's music. However, with FoaBP I think Wilson has finally earned his accolade as one of the best modern prog composers.

Equality 7-2521 | 4/5 |

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