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Porcupine Tree - Fear Of A Blank Planet CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.25 | 2360 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Ace Face
5 stars This is the first true Porcupine Tree I heard, aside from Shallow, which doesn't allude to their true abilities. This album is absolutely one of the best albums I have ever heard in my life. Its right up there with the classics of the 70s in creativity, technical skill, emotion, power and drama. By far the best of all the Porcupine Tree music I've heard, this album is predicting a future which could be much nearer than we realize. The idea that computers are taking a bigger role in our lives combined with the younger generations increasing reliance on drugs, pornography, sex and violence makes for a scary concept with is true nonetheless. Wilson's lyrics are filled with allusions to modern life, something which had never been done on a grand scale since the Gabriel-era Genesis. Now, as for the music itself, I had been growing uneasy looking back into Porcupine Tree's career and seeing them develop from the Floyd influenced spacey textures band into the band they became on In Absentia, with a little too many heavy electric riffs for my taste. Now, on Deadwing, they lightened up a little bit, and on this album they found the perfect mix, plus they make it more progressive as opposed to In Absentia, which was mainly conventional heavy rock. They also make good use of guest musicians on this album, not too many, so as to overshadow the band's talents, but Alex Lifeson adds an excellent guitar solo to Anesthetize, and Robert Fripp slides nicely into the background of Way Out of Here. Wilson is still superb with his multi-instrumentality, including all guitars, piano and singing, and Richard Barberi is a great keyboardist in that he knows when to shine and when to create the greatest background textures since Pink Floyd. Colin Edwin has his share of nice bass parts, and Gavin Harrison continually bangs away, creating the throbbing heartbeat over which this masterpiece is created. Alright, on to the songs.

Fear of a Blank Planet: Excellent opener to a masterful album. the lyrics here are the best, giving us tons of pop cuture allusions like X-box, pornography, Pearl Jam, and many more. opening with odd computer sounds, we are soon introduced to an angular acoustic riff in 6/4, and Harrison jumps it to bring it up to speed. The electric guitar sounds here have an effect on them that suits the song perfectly. Wilson sounds like hes inside your head, ranting about all the crazy junk in his life, and talking in spurts like hes going mad. He trashes his parents, the mall and his home life. Lots of talk about popping pills, it seems the main character is a druggie. The chorus is a little saddening, questioning life itself. the lyrics really make this album what it is. finally, it is revealed he has bipolar disorder, and the music backs off, adding some spacey guitar notes. the drums bring us back in to a slower, spacey jam part. Barberi shines here, adding some eerie tones to the scary riffing from Wilson. it really gets heavy now, but I don't mind it. the guitar solo is hard to hear underneath all the distortion, but its amazing. Then we get taken into a section that sounds straight out of Pink Floyd's "echoes". the noises are great. some more depressed vocals from Wilson, bringing us back to the concept, of being tired of life at age 15 or so.

My Ashes: A nice, tragic, eeriely happy and sad ballad.The piano finally comes out here, along with some nice acoustic strumming. Wilson sings in a more sad tone now, remembering wasted opportunities in life, and taking on more problems than he needed. the chorus is bad sad and happy, and one of the best in a traditional song ive ever heard. the lyrics are so crammed with nostalgia its hard not to feel very sad while listening to this song. My favorite line of the album is the one in the second repetition of the chorus: "And a dream plays in reverse on the piano keys". its brilliant. ends with some great strings and singing from Steve.

Anesthetize: Kicking off right away with some pounding drums from Harrison and interesting chords from Steve, this song is the masterpiece of the masterpiece. it goes through so many moods it could be a concept all on its own. it has some very creepy lyrics, introspective and scary, with lines like: "I simply am not here, shut up, be happy". the way Wilson sings this is positively hair-raising. the person talking seems to be paranoid, mentioning diseases and staying away from certain things, while the whole time the drums are throbbing away. we soon get treated to a drum riff with actual snare, and the music darkens accordingly, but soon backs off, giving Alex Lifeson plenty of room to stretch out on a masterful solo, so filled with confusion that it suits the mood of the song. soon Wilson comes in with some deep, heavy riffs, overlaid by gorgeous electric piano from Barberi. then another guitar track is overdubbed, going far higher than the piano, making for a very interesting sound. the drums get very complex as the riffs get heavier and more complex. the mellotron in the background is nice, and Steve comes in to sing again, sounding far away, and the lyrics bring us more references like MTV, Shopping Malls, and more talk of popping pills. the drums mix it up a little sounding african at one point, then back to heavy metal. I especially like the synth following Wilson's vocal line. at this point, the song is only half over, if you can believe it. there is a big section filled with many different riffs and moods, as per Wilson's mood, seemingly. after this comes a spacey keyboardistic section with nice sounds from Wilson's computer to aid it. the guitar comes back in after a while, and the mood has completely changed from anger and hatred to sadness and regret. the vocals are echoed everywhere for a nice effect, and the hammond in the background is great. when it gets to just Wilson singing, it sounds very personal and meaningful, and then the other voices come in. the hammond once again fills out the sound to the point of orgasmic, and the guitar tones are gorgeous. there is a small, simple guitar solo that suits this section perfectly to close the song, followed by just a few keyboard chords.

Sentimental: The saddest, most emotional song on the album brings us deep into the heart of the narrator, showing the listener how he feels, and that feeling is horribly sad. Wilson sounds far away, and the repetitive piano chords are a great touch. the chorus is talking about viewing the children from an adults perspective, wasting every day because of their drugs and lack of interest in anything. the drums are dexterous and agile, making a great beat for this guwrenching ballad. the song picks up a little near the end, with a nice acoustic guitar solo, followed by a gorgeous ending of piano and Steve's sad voice singing the chorus once more.

Way Out of Here: it starts with odd noises, probably courtesy of robert fripp and his Frippertronics making the soundscapes. Wilson comes in singing in the same tone as the previous song, with yet another allusion to pop culture: the Ipod. He seems to be frustrated with people talking to him, asking questions. the drums kick in in a 3/4 beat that sounds very nice. however, when the electric guitar blasts in, its 6/8. yes, I know its basically the same thing, but it doesn't sound the same. the lyrics are telling of a plan to forget everything the narrator has loved and escape from it all, hence the name "Way Out of Here". after the second repetition of the chorus, a great electric solo comes in, giving Steve a little bit of space to show his chops off, and what chops they are. After the solo, everything backs off and several tracks of guitar are overlapping and make a great sound, with little bits of electric piano here and there, until the riffs come fast and heavy. the chorus repeats, as do the riffs, with some heavy double bass work from Garrison. ending with an odd jam, this song leads us into the closer...

Sleep Together: The Lyrics here say it all. Leave together, Sleep together, Switch off the Future Right now. it seems to be suggesting that the druggie has gotten high once more and thinks he can escape it all by dying. the beginning has some awesome synth sounds and Steve sounds positively mystical. The drums are harsh here, and some vague premonitions of a heavy riff are heard far away. The chorus is harsh, seemingly talking to someone and ORDERING them to "Sleep Together". it sounds very scary, with some strings heard in the background only emphasizing this. the strings add some great fills to the next verse, making it twice as good. the echoes in the next chorus are creepy, making you feel as though people are all around you saying leave forever, the ending line of the album. . the synth sounds are ever present and soon come to the foreground again, with more electric piano frills. it slowly builds into a cacophony of guitars and strings clashing all over the place. it hits out, followed by a so-random-its-hilarious drum thing in the middle of nowhere.

I think I've said enough here, and people might not even read this far due to length but I love this album That is all. Let's Leave Forever, this dark and depressing planet to another.

The Ace Face | 5/5 |


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