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Porcupine Tree - In Absentia CD (album) cover

IN ABSENTIA

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.22 | 1796 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Johnny_Tsunami
5 stars In Absentia was the first encounter I had with Porcupine Tree. I was really starting to appreciate Opeth at the time and heard the band always cite Porcupine Tree as something special, so I decided to look them up. After hearing a small sample of The Sound of Muzak, it was all over. I quickly purchased the album and fell in love. There really is no way to give the album justice with only words; it's simply beyond description. I hope I can help a prospective listener with my synopsis though!

There couldn't be a better opener than "Blackest Eyes" for this album. As soon as the ambient guitar starts to get drowned out by the creeping feedback, you know something big is coming. Then it happens, the centerpiece guitar riff comes in and knocks you right on your ass! What really make this song though are Steven Wilson's vocals through the verse, and especially the chorus sections. The harmonization is simply blissful. From start to finish, this song gives you a snapshot of what you can expect from the album. 5/5

"Trains" continues to bolster the album and is another one of the stand-out tracks. I find myself at a loss for words to even accurately describe this song, I'll try though! Opening with acoustic guitar and solo voice, the song has a catchy vocal melody that will get you humming along in no time! Then the band comes in and blasts the tune to new heights. The serene and peaceful music evokes an image in my head every time I hear it! The banjo and guitar middle section further carries on the mood of the song, and then the heavy reprise of the main theme just brings everything together beautifully! 5/5

A more mellow side of Porcupine Tree, "Lips of Ashes" brings a whole different atmosphere into the album, sounding almost ghostly but sublimely beautiful at the same time. The hypnotic acoustic guitar is almost like a lullaby. Great song! 4/5

"The Sound of Muzak" is another stand-out track. I always love when a group can make a rhythmically complex song sound catchy and wonderful. It took me a while to even realize that the song was in 7/4! That's always an added bonus; very prog! Of course the harmonization in the chorus is absolutely brilliant, the layering is just so powerful, it gets me every time. The guitar solo in this song is also one of my favorites of all time; Steven Wilson phrases it so well! 5/5

"Gravity Eyelids" was a song that took me a while to get into; the lurking sound in the first half of the song isn't as active as what has been offered in the previous tracks. But once the song gets to the halfway point, you realize the whole beginning was just a build-up to the climactic metallic section. The song then meanders its way back to the mood it started with, ending the same way as it began. Good track, not as strong as what's been given already though. 3.5/5

"Wedding Nails" is another one of my own personal stand-out tracks. The opening riff is just so quirky and epic, especially when it progress into the section with the shifting octaves; a Steven Wilson trademark. Then the song goes into a very experimental solo section which is absolutely awesome and finds it way back into the main riff, except in a new key this time around! Some people think that the song drags a little, which I sort of agree with, but I appreciate the end of the song more often than not. Very good song to serve as the album divider! 4/5

"Prodigal" is such a powerful and melancholic track. The almost humorously depressing lyrics and rocking chorus are what gives this song its own identity. Of course there are the trademark beautiful vocal harmonies, but I guess that's expected by now. Overall, just a straightforward tune that is great to just rock out to! 5/5

".3" is another song that took me a while to appreciate as much as the rest of the album. The hypnotic and groovy bass line starts things off and the song slowly starts to form its atmosphere. Then the strumming of an acoustic guitar brings the song to its epic climax and moves toward the end with great orchestral work adding to the atmosphere. 4/5

"The Creator Has a Mastertape" is a very morbid and creepy song which has an intensely violent atmosphere to it. The lyrics perfectly add to the song's atmosphere and tell a very chilling tale indeed. Gavin Harrison on the drum kit shows his tasteful chops in this track with his very busy style drumming. Very good song. 4/5

"Heartattack in a Lay By" is a song that's in the same light as "Lips of Ashes", although this track is notably more depressing. The vocals are what make this track shine, Steven Wilson masterfully layers the vocals to make them sound so sweet and serene. The lyrics also evoke great images! Good song, but not among my favorites. 4/5

"Strip the Soul" is next and in this song, Colin Edwin revives a familiar bass line heard earlier in the album on ".3". This song is very strong lyrically, based on deceased serial killer Fred West. Musically the song is pretty strong as well, the main riff has great head- banging potential and the jazzy keyboard solo section is pretty interesting as well. Very good song, made even better by the story it tells. 4/5

"Collapse the Light into Earth" is yet another one of my favorite tracks on the album; such a minimalistic song but so powerful at the same time. The orchestral work is definitely what makes this song so amazing. The only way to accurately describe this song is as the perfect closer to a masterpiece of an album! 5/5

I hope my review helps persuade you, prospective listener, into giving this band a try. I say with utmost confidence that you won't be sorry you did!

Overall rating: 4.5/5 rounded up to a 5/5

Johnny_T

Johnny_Tsunami | 5/5 |

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