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Porcupine Tree - The Incident CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.66 | 1444 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars The Incident is a great idea with less-than-great execution.

I am a fan of this type of idea: the idea of how a single moment ripples 'forward' in time and can affect many other things that could not be anticipated. If Hitler's great-great-great-great grandmother had stepped funny one day, she might have fallen, landed on her head, and died, and we'd be living in a very different world today. This album takes a look at these moments - these small moments of times, these 'incidents', whose ramifications are far-reaching and entirely unpredictable, from a personal view.

Okay, so that's the concept, and Steve Wilson even promised us a 55 minute song to pull it off. And a 55 minute song we got (people may argue whether or not it actually is one song, stating a lack of recurring themes, etc...but if we can count Genesis' "Musical Box" as a single song, despite the fact that it is constantly changing and doesn't repeat itself, I don't see why we can't do the same with "The Incident" if that's what Wilson wants to call it.)

As should be obvious, "The Incident" is the meat and bones of the record. In fact, Porcupine Tree even gave it its own disk so that we would KNOW it was important, despite the fact that the remaining content would have fit on the same disc.

The music is pleasant, although I feel it is less inspired than their previous album (Fear of a Blank Planet). When I heard Fear for the first time, I didn't think much of it, but each successive listen increased its appeal. I cannot make the same claim about The Incident. While it has some moments that do seem to have the same level of inspiration, it has at least as many that are nice to hear but reveal no further depth.

As well, the concept is not very clear or obvious, and I would not really know what the album was about were it not for the title and reading about it before it came out.

The album does have a few moments which I do genuinely enjoy. The Incident (track, not the full song) is an excellent example,with Porcupine Tree creating a great, spooky atmosphere with their use of effects and their heavier instrumentation. Octane Twisted/The Seance is another favorite part of mine, and I love the way that the two have repeating themes (parts like this help the song feel more holistic to me).

Unfortunately, the song has too many weak points for me to consider it truly a masterpiece. For one, the ending, "I Drive the Hearse", feels drawn out and not very interesting compared to some of the parts that came before. "The Yellow Window of the Evening Train" feels like it was added just to make "Time Flies" stand out more, as it is entirely forgettable. "Time Flies" itself is another nice track, but it really doesn't feel very creative compared to some of the other stuff on the album, making the fact that it is the longest section of the song drag on a bit.

I stopped listening to the second disc after a few listens. It just didn't feel important enough that I would keep listening to it after the first disc, if I have to get up and put another CD in (or change which album I am listening to in iTunes). The tracks on it aren't bad, but they aren't great either. For some reason, Bonnie the Cat always makes me think of King of Comedy off R.E.M.'s Monster.

Overall, there is better music by this band. And, in the year it was released, we have many other better albums to listen to as well, so it doesn't even stand out for its time. Without any truly crowning moments to make this album stand out, I don't really see what a fan of progressive music would gain from it. As much as I hate to do it, I must give this album two stars. For Fans of Porcupine Tree, but there's not much here for others.

TheGazzardian | 2/5 |


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