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Porcupine Tree - The Incident CD (album) cover

THE INCIDENT

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

3.71 | 1172 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars PT again tip-toes on the balance to repetative mediocrity with this album, which thankfully breaks Fear of a Blank Planet's heavy-handedness in favor of a more subdued, cohesive sound, but it stil only takes its listener on a trip to nowhere special.

Pitched as a single-track "epic", The Incident treads familiar territory for the band, albiet introducing a few new guitar sounds and vocal deliveries to distinguish it from predeceding albums. The band's trademark of heavy/light juxstaposition is intact, with the light moments standing out for me as the album's saving grace. There are some delicate textures and tender singing from Wilson which occasionally shine through an otherwise predictable set of songs. Thankfully, Wilson's lyrics are much better here than on FOABP, but fail to entice the listener into the story to any great emotional depth.

The album's heavy moments are-- like FOABP's-- largely useless, and appear only for the sake of satisfying the band's forementioned trademark. Take, for example, "Drawing the Line", which opens with meloncholy, day-dreamy effects, giving way to a big, noisy, repetative chorus whose chugging and banality borders on insulting. These moments are found throughout the album, perhaps most offensively in the instrumental "Circle of Manias"; the album seems to cry out to be left alone so it can pine out its sad story about a family torn apart by belief and tradition. Overall, I would compare this abum to the group's early (and much better) "Signify", which leans towards the ambient with punctuations of hard rock for effect. So too does "The Incident", but the songwriting can't decide how best to use the group's heavy sound, which is simply boring and with unconvincing intensity.

The rhythm section and Barbieri's keyboards are "ho-hum" as well, coming across as flat and unengaging; I can't imagine any of these songs sounding especially good live, and I feel like there is so much missed opportunity throughout both heavy and minimalist passages.

All that being said, the album is stil finely performed and produced, and it makes for fine background music. The trademark PT sound shimmers with just enough dark beauty for me to keep this one above the dreaded "just for fans" rating, but "The Incident" will likely leave honest Porcupine Tree fans wondering what direction one of the coolest bands around is going, and whether "cross-over" appeal simply translates to: making compromises in songwriting quality.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |

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