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Porcupine Tree - Deadwing CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.11 | 1982 ratings

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The Sleepwalker
Prog Reviewer
3 stars deadwing, the Porcupine Tree album that's based on the script of a never released film. The script was written by Steven Wilson himself and his friend Mike Bennion, and tells a mysterious ghost story. What you would expect from music based on a ghost story, is that it's mysterious, and maybe even haunting. Well, it is. The album knows various moods and musical styles, but they all tell the story on a mysterious but interesting way. Those moods vary from the accesible and heavy "Shallow", to the very emotional "Glass Arm Shattering".

The album starts with the title track, and I could not ask for a better opener. After a short moment of bleepy sounds and background noises Steven's heavily distorted chords strike in to you. Very good riffing opens the song, varied by Steven's vocals. In the nine minutes that "Deadwing" lasts, there is a nice amount of diversity. From the striking guitar chords, to a mellow part with an incredible guitar solo of Adrian Belew, who's best know from king Crimson. "Deadwing" really is a powerful opener and one of the biggest highlights on the album.

The second song here is "Shallow", the most straight forward rocker on the album. The song combines heavy riffing with a soft pre-chorus, which turns into a powerful and catchy chorus lead by distorted guitars. The song has a very basic structure, it actually has just the typical verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure, but the fierce power of the guitars make this song a great experience. Maybe not one of the true Porcupine Tree classics, but for sure a nice song.

"Lazarus" is just as "Shallow" one of Porcupine Tree's best known songs. the song is a beautiful ballad, with very peaceful sounding playing of the instruments. The song has a catchy chorus and Steven Wilson does a very good job here with his vocals. "Lazarus" is the most poppy song on the album, but it nevertheless is a very enjoyable song.

Lead by a funky bassline, the next song is "Halo". "Halo" is one of the most uninteresting songs on the album, with its spoken words in the verses and its not memorable choruses. Even though I don't really like "Halo", I have to say that Colin Edwin does some very nice stuff with his bass.

The longest song on the album is "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here". By many people, this song is said to be the best song on the album, or even the best song the band has ever made. I see where that comes from, as this song seems to be the ultimate combination of early Porcupine Tree, with its spacey atmospheres and soundscapes, and the more recent Porcupine Tree. "Arriving Somewhere..." begins with soft and mysterious synths, but soon a clean electric guitar sound shows up and the first verse begins. The verses and choruses here are very well done, they create a great atmosphere. After the first chorus Steven plays a very interesting guitar solo, in the style he usual plays, very emotional and a bit like Pink Floyd's David Gilmour. After the second verse and chorus, the song reaches its climax, a powerful distorted guitar riff. I must say I am not a big fan of the riff, I think the idea is great, but I can't really enjoy the riff itself. Anyway, after this riff another guitar solo is heard and the song slowly fades out. "Arriving Somewhere..." is a great track, but I don't think it's as fantastic as many people say it is.

After the longest track on the album things start to become less interesting. First, we get "Mellotron Scratch", a soft song that on some points can be compared with "Lazarus", but on other points is completely different. The song sounds kind of melancholic, but at the same time very poppy, and unlike on "Lazarus", here it is not very enjoyable. "Mellotron Scratch" also has an ending that's quite different from the rest of the song, but even that can't really save it from being only a mediocre song.

"Open Car" is another song I really don't care about. It has a nice chorus, but apart from that it is very straight forward and has very uninteresting vocals. At some moments, the song even feels like a weak copy of "Shallow", and that makes this song one of the most uninteresting songs on the album.

The album doesn't get any better yet, "The Start Of Something Beautiful" starts out very spacey, but soon as the vocals come in I can't care about it anymore. After a couple of minutes the song gets louder, but it doesn't get any better. Between the heavy choruses the band plays some spacey interludes, but they can't make this song much better than what it is. The only good thing I can say about it is some nice guitar parts by Steven, but that's it.

The albums closer, finally, is a good song. "Glass Arm Shattering" is a slow tempo, very emotional and melancholic final track. The songs first half is very quiet and touching, while the second half gets a bit louder and even becomes an epic track. This really is a good way to close an album, such a beautiful melancholic song.

I think Deadwing is a very good album, some songs are among Porcupine Tree's biggest achievements. But at the same time, some songs are very uninteresting and really take the albums quality down. I think four stars is the perfect rating for this album; it's far from perfect, but it still is a very enjoyable album.

Edit: on second thought I feel that Deadwing deserves nothing more than a three star rating, for the reasons already stated above.

The Sleepwalker | 3/5 |


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