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


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.25 | 2367 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars This album may be highly revered for several reasons. For one, it has a lengthy track, "Anesthetize" which is killer. Another reason is that the production and atmosphere of some of these tracks are killer. However, I think the biggest reason for Porcupine Tree's success is their alternative rock base blending with prog rock. Progressive rock fans, unfamiliar with some of the latest trentds in the past couple of decades might have missed the alternative rock trend. So when a more intelligent band in the genre gets labeled as 'progressive rock', they find it a refreshing new sound. Although the genre blend is pretty unique, a lot of Fear of a Blank Planet lacks in originality.

The overall sound of the album can be described as moody alternative rock with large doses of progressive ideas blended with a few dashes of heavier guitar riffs. Either the songs on here are loud, driving alternative metal, or Pink-floyd esque atmospheric prog. Steven Wilson's production on the album is pretty much flawless, but sometimes this can lead to the tracks seeming to have some 'sterility' to them. The production allows the listener to immediately see everything that's going on, and with the repetition in the album, sometimes it makes the album more than a little boring.

Anyways, most of the songs are pretty straightforward in any event. Standard rock structures float through each of the tracks except for the aforementioned epic, though still in each of its sections has a pair of verses, so it could be argued that it still follows the structure. Most of them are based on soft keyboard themes and are lethargically slow, sometimes to the point where the listener can get pretty bored, especially in the song "My Ashes". Sometimes there are more energetic riffs to be found, like in "Fear of a Blank Planet" or towards the end of "Way Out of Here".

The epic track, "Anesthetize", though is still pretty interesting. Through the entire piece, the listener is enveloped in a killer atmosphere, beggining with a regular moody keyboard melody above some flowing toms on the drumkit. The piece progresses fantastically through its 17-minute voyage, eventually exploding with double bass pedals and metal guitars, and at points dabbling in great polyrhythms. The ending is a bit predictable, but it's a fantastic composition nonetheless.

As an album, I feel Fear of a Blank planet is mostly dissapointing. The sterile, clean production and the repetition of generic adolescent mood brings the album down a ton. However, most of the music isn't bad, and there are still great ideas to be found in the album. Most prog fans should be able to enjoy it.

topofsm | 3/5 |


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