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Porcupine Tree - Deadwing CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.11 | 1983 ratings

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4 stars There's no doubt that his production work with Prog Metal band Opeth had an influence on Steven Wilson's own band Porcupine Tree giving them a heavier sound which is very apparent on Deadwing. Many fans of the band from their earlier more Psychedelic period did not like this development. Speaking for myself, having only been a fan since their 1999 album Stupid Dream (discovering earlier releases retrospectively), where the signs of change were already evident, I have no such problem believing the Metal style riffing ads yet another string to Porcupine Tree's bow.

The up tempo title track opens with a pulsing Richard Barbieri keyboard pattern before the band crash in with a powerful Wilson guitar riff. It's a good solid track (though better is to come) and notable for a guest appearance from Adrian Belew of king Crimson fame (also appearing on Halo) playing the distinctive guitar solo. Shallow is heavier still and has an excellent grinding Metal riff for the verse before dropping into a piano led quieter bridge and then back into heavier riffs for the chorus; Excellent!

Wilson has a keen ear for a strong melody and the mellow Lazerus demonstrates that nicely, being one of the bands sublimest moments. Halo follows and is an album highlight. Drummer Gavin Harrison and Bassist Colin Edwin lock into a great groove on this atmospheric track and Barbieri's keyboard sounds are lush. Lyrically it touches on religion, always a touchy subject but it's difficult to tell whether this written from a Pro or Anti stance.

The 12 minute Arriving Somewhere But Not Here is another strong piece which covers most of the Porcupine Tree bases from the trippy intro to the acoustic first verse and developing into the bands heaviest moments yet featuring some guitar riffing in the Thrash/Death Metal vein. The beautiful Mellotron Scratch follows which for the most part is fairly laid back until Wilson comes in with another powerful guitar riff and the band come back in with full force.

At just over 3 and a half minutes Open Car is the shortest track on the album and is another heavy song. You may think that with all the Metal riffs around on this cd that there would be little room for Barbieri's distinctive and atmospheric Keyboard textures but I'm pleased to say he still manages to find space to fit them in. Also Gavin Harrison particularly deserves a special mention here. He is one of the finest Drummers playing today, not just in Prog but any genre. An extremely solid and tight player on the complex patterns of the songs here with lots of subtle inflections and excellent fills thrown in.

The Start of Something Beautiful, though not one of the strongest tracks on the album is still worthy of inclusion before the album closes with the extremely atmospheric and moody Glass Arm Shattering; another Porcupine Tree sublime moment with some lovely guitar playing from Wilson and Keyboards from Barbieri.

I thought long and hard about the rating of this album, being either a 4 or 5 star. It certainly has a lot to offer and is one of the best by the band but on reflection it didn't quite make the 5 but still a highly recommended album.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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