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Porcupine Tree - In Absentia CD (album) cover

IN ABSENTIA

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.21 | 1692 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

progaardvark
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Porcupine Tree's seventh studio album, In Absentia, showed a significant change in the band's overall sound. It also marked the first personnel change for the band as drummer Chris Maitland departed and was replaced by Gavin Harrison. But the biggest change was the incorporation of numerous metal riffs into the Porcupine Tree repertoire. This influence has been attributed to Steven Wilson's producing of Opeth's Blackwater Park. To my ears, this change was sometimes good and at other times seems to ruin the song with senseless noise making it a harsh experience.

Again, Porcupine Tree's music is as accessible as on their three previous albums. Clearly with each album, the band expanded its fan base. With the introduction of metallic elements, it would increase even further by reaching out to another large group of listeners in the metal community. Thus, In Absentia became the band's biggest selling album to date, selling over 100,000 copies in its first year of release and making the charts in several European countries.

I must admit that at the time this came out, it really surprised me with this change in direction. I'm not as keen on new releases and what the members of the bands are up to, so I didn't know of Wilson's involvement with Opeth. I remember enjoying this for awhile during the 2002-2003 period (though I tended to skip the harsher songs), but since then it's hasn't seen the inside of my CD player very much. I'm not sure exactly why. The only sensible reason I can come up with is that the merger of the new sound with the Porcupine Tree foundation was not as smooth as many thought. Some songs are clearly Porcupine Tree (no doubts at all), while others sound like some other band was performing them. Make any sense?

Whatever is the cause of my confusion, it's still a good album. But it's still a far cry from the band's earlier masterpieces. I would recommend starting with the band's first three albums and then moving chronologically forward through their catalogue prior to obtaining this. If you're more into prog metal, but looking to explore hybrid prog metal/prog rock bands, Porcupine Tree's In Absentia would be ideal. Three stars. Good, but not essential.

progaardvark | 3/5 |

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