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Porcupine Tree - Coma Divine CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.45 | 466 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars In 1997, between the releases of the albums "Signify" in 1996 and "Stupid Dream" in 1999, Porcupine Tree released this live album "Coma Divine". It gathered together some of the best tracks from the four studio albums that come before it and put them in a live setting, with a full band, consisting of Steven Wilson (guitars, vocals), Richard Baribieri (synths), Colin Edwins (bass) and Chris Maitland (drums, percussion, harmony). The album was recorded live in Rome over a 3 day period (March 25- 27, 1997). The first night unfortunately had some technical problems, so the live album only includes recordings from the 2nd and 3rd days.

Originally, the band had decided to only release a single disc of the best performances. The recording was successful and so 3 other tracks were made available and given away as "Coma Divine II", but these were later added to the single album and re- released as a double album in 2003. The vinyl edition also included a 7" single which had two different demo versions of the track "Disappear" which was a song recorded around the same time as the concert. These different demo versions of the song, one recorded in February of 1997 (before the concert event) and on in April of 1997 (after the concert). The finished version of it included on the single for "4 Chords That Made a Million" which was released in 2000. There were several studio overdubs throughout the live album that were done to make the album have a better and more consistent quality.

This live album is excellent, a fitting document to the band that was quickly becoming a progressive phenomenon. It is an excellent album for both fans and for those wanting to explore the early work of the band, but don't necessarily want to sit through a lot of the early material just to pick out the best songs. The tracks on this album are some of the very best of the band, and the two very long studio tracks, "The Sky Moves Sideways" and "Moonloop" have been condensed down to their best sections for this concert, so if you don't like the psychedelic meanderings of those original tracks, this is the perfect answer as they don't meander, but showcase the band at their inventive best.

This also contains an extended version of the early fan favorite "Radioactive Toy" with an extended instrumental and rousing guitar solo. There are other excellent versions of their early songs here too, and they are done perfectly with perfect sound and minimal crowd noise. You get the heavy rocker "Signify", the psychedelic and Floydian "The Sky Moves Sideways", both parts of the excellent "Waiting", the rarely performed "Is?Not", and the best version of "Moonloop" with the rousing ending that will make you feel like you are there and without all the meandering parts.

I am not one to recommend live albums typically, but this one is amazing with excellent sound. The biggest draw of this album is the new versions (and quite frankly best versions) of their best songs of their early years, perfected by the band and performed live. This makes it an essential album for fans and the curious alike. I would also definitely recommend it for an album to start exploring the band with, right up there quality-wise with "Deadwing" and "In Absentia", it's that good. This is definitely one of my all time favorite live albums ever and a must have for prog lovers and fans, plus the best collection of their early work that is out there.

TCat | 5/5 |


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