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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
2 stars Fear of a Blank Planet is Porcupine Tree's most recent album and the follow up to the highly acclaimed, though personally very disappointing, Deadwing, and musically builds on the melodic metal approach that they seem to be heading towards, but without the technical display of other bands. This time its a concept album of sorts were all the songs follow the central theme of the youth of today being apathetic towards the world at large.

Obviously, as with any social observation made by art, it paints all, or most, of modern youth with a wide brush to get across its points but the big success of the album, in my opinion, is that Wilson has succeeded in creating a series of songs, that all fit together into the larger concept, each exploring separate sections of the "problem", without having to judge it himself. In this way he has succeeded brilliantly in creating a piece of art that highlights an aspect of modern society without passing judgment and leaving that entirely up to the listener. This is not something that is easily done but lyrically Wilson pulls it off brilliantly creating probably the strongest album concept of the year. Its just a shame that the music doesn't back it up.

Musically this album fails badly. I have listened to Fear of a Blank Planet many times and each time I feel as apathetic towards it as the people it portrays, surely this cant be a good thing? Each song carries one or two decent ideas but never are they really expanded upon and what they have seems to be left to play itself out to death. The only exception to this is the album closer, Sleep Together, which is a brilliant track that builds to a sudden climax with the tension being piled on by the excellent performance of a string orchestra, really adding feel to the song. However, 43 minutes is a long time to wait before you get any really good music, with the epically long, if not epically styled, Anaesthetise being the worst culprit. Its just far too long and I find myself begging for a change in pace, or song, before halfway. Its the same story with the other songs as well. Though this album is an improvement over its predecessor, Deadwing, I find its mostly down to the fact that it isn't as totally aimless but I cat help but feel that the members of the band lack the technical ability to pull off what they are trying to achieve, with the possible exception of drummer Gavin Harrison who is not bad at all, if nothing special, and the guest musicians of Alex Lifeson and Robert Fripp, who need no introduction.

Overall I could have done without this album and I swear its the last time I'll get carried away with the hype (yeah right). Its better than Deadwing but only because it feels more focused and is lyrically very strong, but its not enough to make me consider coming back for more than the occasional listen and so it gets stuck with only 2.5 stars, rounded down to 2 because it not quite 3.

sleeper | 2/5 |


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