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

FEAR OF A BLANK PLANET

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.22 | 1833 ratings

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Atkingani
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The name PORCUPINE TREE was more or less familiar for me when I started to visit the Prog Archives in 2005, but I recognize that except for the available streaming tracks I was totally unaware about them in musical terms - anyway, I thought they were just another new band; I wasn't prepared to witness the ecstasy the name PORCUPINE TREE achieved in the forums and, to be discovered afterwards, throughout the host of progressive fans, especially the youngest. So much ravishing made me curious and with time I ran through PT albums only to be grabbed too although in a less captivating way. Here, instead of laudatory speeches related to their entire discography, I'll jump this part going directly where the caldera stirs: "Fear Of A Blank Planet", PT 2007 release and noted by many as a summary of everything they've done before, presently and. in the future.

FOABP is really a fair and honest work, with the band biting a cluster of musical styles, including many spots of the prog-rock genres. Some people told me that PT feel a bit uncomfortable being labeled a progressive band, but they are and this direction is shown notably here in this album - the association with a underground mood can be disturbing especially if one wants to make money and/or to reach a wider audience. Anyway, like it or not, FOABP can be considered a neat modern prog-rock output, incrusted inside the Eclectic/Heavy sub-genres, in spite of emo/pop touches that spoil here and there some parts of the album.

Track arrangements and general production are among the best FOABP features, together with the already notorious band musical competence, being worthy to highlight the drumming and keyboards actions, while vocals and guitars run accordingly as always. Addition of guests Fripp, Lifeson and Wesley more than improved the appeal provided by FOABP.

'Fear of a blank planet', the title-track and opening act, starts soft and plain, only to throw the listener into a myriad of different tunes, ranging from typical space/psych chords (PT's roots) to clear heavy sounds and hovering above these that dazzling prog atmosphere able to please the most diverse tastes; there's a feeling of unfinished things like a page to be written further - and it seems to be done with a purpose. The balladesque 'My ashes' reminds me some early 70s melodies, this time seen from a 21st Century point-of-view, not spectacular but keyboards play in a symphonic manner, a symptom of the band's and album's eclectics.

The mentioned introductory songs act like a preparation for the epic-like 'Anesthetize', a lengthy track so meaningful and touching with so many variations and possibilities that's almost impossible not to be caught by its tunes that I suggest simply let the flesh and mind flow in parallel - even not picking immediately the lyrics one may visualize clearly to where this voyage goes.

The 3 last songs are well fitted within the album concept (dare I say there's one, no?) and complete fairly the superb first half well above the average platform: 'Sentimental' is pungent and has a catchy piano; 'Way out of here' brings some Floydian memories mixed with other influences; and 'Sleep together' closes the ark with a golden key and I swear I could hear Beatles tunes from the Magical Mystery Tour era and the final question remains: did they try to take us into a magnificent journey with FOABP? Well, they got closer and who knows if I'll embark totally in this tour with more hearings.

Truly, a fine work from Mr. Steve Wilson and companions that lands correctly into the excellent addition to any prog collection. That's it!

Atkingani | 4/5 |

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