Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Porcupine Tree - Deadwing CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.13 | 2165 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
4 stars Having found myself numbly staring like a zombie at the computer screen on the internet for no particular reason yet again, I have decided to become nostalgic and return here to write a review for the first time in ages. It is a review of an album that I've known for two and a bit years and has always been one of my favourites. It is a review that is withOUT a template to base my ideas on. Thus rendering it a very uncharacteristic review of mine indeed. If you don't like what I'm writing, message me some time... Deadwing: One would, of COURSE find the electronic distortion rifting backwards and forwards at the start of this track just ever so slightly pretentious but it does the trick: the first guitar strum, coupled with the drums, BANGS us right into it. Now I'm sure I don't need to describe the epic chord combination that is so typical of Porcupine Tree and reminiscent of 80s arena rock, yet certainly uplifting in a sublime way (or at least that it what it tries to reach to. When I say 'it' I actually mean people: Steven Wilson and the gang.) and I have a mate of mine that sure knows more about *sound* than I do who even noticed the similar guitar tuning for each song. Now I can't do that. If anything- I'm a piano girl. The lyrics of this song...oooh the lyrics. Now something warm insight just passed through here. It took the precious things that I hold dear. Is this song about the decadence of society or just about being stuck in a moment? Heck- are we even supposed to know? (...No. Music looses its spark when the message becomes unsubtle. Or at least I feel that way- don't you agree?) But I can certainly say this is one of those 'Song of the soundtrack of my Life' songs. Like a cancer scare in a dentist's chair.. Random flickering images- from a dream even? Who knows! Who cares? It's does the trick- and the spooky synth/mellotron over the top is reminiscent of a haunted house in a cliched 50s horror/spook flick. Subconcious fear may even be the theme of this song. "Afraid to touch someone. Afraid to ask her for a name." Not only that but this song fades into an echoing guitar strum (guest guitarist from Opeth: Adrian Belew. Huzzah.) at one point and then back into where it was. With this in mind- Steven ( have certainly made a perfect epic prog-rock opening track to this album with the same name.

Shallow: You can certainly hear the more rocky sound in this one. A *tad* moregeneric. Just a tad! Extremely catchy though. And the catchy guitar riff is slightly reminiscent of classic rock too. (Deep Purple anyone? Black Sabbath?) In fact the distorted guitar and the drums act well together. Gavin Harrison is having a hay-day in this one. "I live to function- on my own is all I know." I reckon the piano adds the essential P.T touch to this song.

Lazarus: I know a man once, who had his father die of cancer when he was only a kid, and he says this song has somehow moved him to tears. (Altogether now): Awwww. Though it is the softest song on the album, it is also the simplest. That major-key chordal progression is nice but easy peasy and the least prog of Porcupine Tree. I have nothing wrong major keys (obviously) but this song is not prog- it has an uber-simple template but it is STILL rendered moving. You can get the same kind of thing from Snow Patrol. The best part would probably be at the very end where the chords twist: "Come to us, Lazarus, it's time for you to go."

Halo: This is a slightly angsty song which calls into question the topic of religion. *sigh* They always have to have a song about being against, or questioning, religion don't they. By 'They' I mean most bands of today, or actually in prog. Think 'My God' by Jethro Tull or 'Tarkus' by ELP. Being an Agnostic -Catholic, I find these songs interesting but tiresome after a while. Then again, it depends how WELL they are done. And this song is certainly around the average level. "You can be right like me with God and all his righteous souls. I've got a Halo round me." Again the melody and riff give it spooky-feeling undertones. And Harrison has a hay-day again- very like Shallow. It's catchy though the distorted voices are a bit irritating. Very sing-along-able in the chorus.

Arriving Somewhere But Not Here: Slow creepy synth (or mixed keyboard) in the intro. And then the guitar follows. Steven Wilson really wants us to focus on his words for this one: "Never stop the car on a drive in the dark. Never look for the truth in your mother's eyes." The lyrics, like in Deadwing, seem to focus on images of life. But also resolution and trying to find out the meaning of things. (I empathise with Steven. Very muchly.) "and, All of my dreams- sacrifice." Good use of harmony is seen here and in the title lyrics. Now despite the fact that this is a good song, it doesn't strike me as much as Deadwing. Probably because it is slightly repetitive. But it gains rhythm and beat as the song progresses- getting typically and increasingly rocky at the bridge. I can compliment it that way. Guest guitarist Adrian does his thing again throughout this track.

Mellotron Scratch: Play this song to me all day and I shall not hate the sound of it by the end. Oh yes. I tell the truth. This is the second P.T song I ever heard- a few years ago now, and it still gives me the shivers. Lazarus was the softest song on this album, but this one is the most romantic. "The scratching of the mellotron, it always seemed to make her cry." Mr Wilson really touches a nerve there- This song is about the memory that songs can bring back- about romantic things you'd rather not remember. "Don't let the melody or the sound drag you down." Instrumentally this song develops as well. A simple but innovative riff of the mellotron/keyboard that goes straight to the heart. It's both quite and echoing, and rhythmic and catchy. It goes quiet, dims and then gets unexpectedly fast and loud (another guest guitarist- Mikael helps out with this rocky bit) and then sinks into a round: again- good harmony. This is one of those many songs that mere words cannot explain. There are too many wonderful little things about this that make it, without any further adieu, the *best song of the album* .......Just listen to it! Okay??

Open Car: So it's a slight downfall that, straight after the best song, we are thrown into the *worst song* of the album. It's not that I don't like this particular track, as I really do, but the constant drumming guitar and staccato words mumbled by Steven are a bit naff. To be more eloquent- I'll just say it's a bit too decadent for moi. A song about having an affair. Still a typical P.T epic-sound in the chorus. This song is good at conveying stress and frustration. "Gave her the truth, gave her the proof- I gave her everything." The acoustic fade out at the end is a nice touch.

The Start of Something of Something Beautiful: My last boyfriend (simple, like a child, he was) said that this song reminded him of me absolutely. I rolled my eyes and told him he should take a closer look at the lyrics. He didn't need to- a few months later he left me. The song played a subconscious part on his mind I should think. "Always out of REACH you are." Which is pretty adequate! This song is not romantic: it's *realistic*. "You though it was the start of something beautiful- well THINK again." And BRILLIANT! The spooky use of the keyboard coupled instantly with the smash of the guitar overwrites the fact that it's slightly repetitive. And just when you think it's going to be generic like that, it fades out and develops with a piano over the top and then a guitar to go with it. And then various guitar solos. The third best of this album. Indeed.

Glass Arm Shattering: Not much to be left for this song. It's a slow song and remains like that. As much as it's a good song, (melancholy, sensual image-invoking, echoing) there's nothing which stands out as particularly fantastic about it. The piano sounds gorgeous in this. Along with the round- like harmonies of the vocals. Awww-bless! They're singing "sha-la-la-la" and "dum dum". This song was a group effort by the band so I suppose they wanted something simple.

Five or so minutes later, there comes a bonus track...

Shesmovedon: This song is me. It really is. If my life was a movie then this would be one of the theme songs. This song is simple but it's hard and serious. Another song about realistic resolution. The chorus is softer than the verse but the electric guitar is overriding and Steven chooses to distort his voice. Though I do like the softness of his normal tone when he melds into the backing line: "All gone away....She's moving on..." Gotta love the guitar solo at the end as well.

Thus ends my first prog review in ages (hence the unprofessional tone) of a really, really, really awesome album. Would you like to throw eggs at me? Throw yours eggs now. I'll be waiting!

Starette | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this PORCUPINE TREE review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.