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Porcupine Tree - In Absentia CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.26 | 2618 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
1 stars Porcupine Tree decide to split the difference between nu-metal and alternative britpop-style rock and in our infinite wisdom, the resulting album shoots directly and deservedly into the prog consciousness. Wait, what? Are we the "In Absentia" market? Have we lost our collective judgement? I felt deceived the moment I pressed play but I bravely endured this godforsaken CD for the purpose of a review, only to discover music buried under a stampede of footprints from the '90s rock-world's worst culprits: Korn, Sevendust, Rage Against the Machine and many more.

To be fair, during the quieter moments of the CD there are vague hints, only here and there, of a band that was once influenced and absorbed by psychedelic rock and the stadium Floydisms that were built out of it, and elsewhere you can hear the melodic contributions of Phil Collins to pop, recaptured in a harder rocking format. "Lips of Ashes" is a good example of these two moderately-benign influences being entwined to pleasant effect, then baptised in a dream-poppy reflecting pool. "The Sound of Muzak" does a passable RadioTool impression and although the chorus is irredeemibly awful, the textural quality of the song really is kind of neat - in fact, the musicianship is generally craftsman like, and Wilson's voice, though limited, has an endearingly frail quality to it that works well thanks to the downtrodden lyrical concept. That's all good news.

The problem is that at least half of these songs are straightforward nu-metal or college rock cliche-athons, with only cursory attempts at concealing this unsavoury truth. The extended track, "Gravity Eyelids", claimed as the favourite of many previous reviewers, contains a "down"-section so disturbingly similar to Korn's verse trademark - what with individual trem notes hanging in mid-air, foggy with trip-hop beatdropping and random sci-fi chord collections - that I feared I might hear a distorted crunch and the trolled words, "Bring it doooooown"... and later still in the same song we get to hear a prime RAtM blues-crunch IQ-reducing rawk riff. NO THANK YOU.

Wedding Nails promises a return to sane and relatively-prog-related music by throwing out a Voivod horn-throwing fourthy metal riff and then manages to ruin it by using funk metal as a substructure. Brilliant. And so it goes on, song after song exhibiting unwanted influences from the angst-peddling college crowd - Korn's legacy in particular recurs frequently. It truly makes me wonder how people don't cringe through this album.

I'm not going to write a conclusion to this review because it's obvious what I'm going to say. Instead, I'd like to close by saying that "The Creator Has a Mastertape" starts with a pretty funny swerve of the "Super Metroid" item room theme. Dorky, wasn't it. ;P

laplace | 1/5 |


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