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Porcupine Tree - Deadwing CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.10 | 1868 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Abyssal Sheep
3 stars Deadwing is Porcupine Tree's ninth studio album and continues in the heavier direction the band took with In Absentia. The album is based on a film script written by lead singer, producer and composer Steven Wilson and a friend of his, Mike Bennion. The album opener and title song starts off with some mellow, pulsating sounds with a certain urgency to them, after which the guitars break loose. Interesting chord progression and some quite aggressive riffing follow, supported by Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt's vocals, eventually ending in a very technical guitar solo. What's not to like? Well; the song lasts for 9 minutes and 46 seconds, and in my opinion it's just two minutes too long. While the aggression, bass playing and chord progression are interesting at the start, they get rather tiring after five minutes or so, and there isn't much variation in the vocals either. The ending solo is very impressive though, so it's worth listening this song from beginning to end.

The second song on the album, Shallow, has the perfect title. Wilson himself has stated that Shallow was "the closest to a big dumb rock song we've ever done", and he hit the nail right on the head ? it's a big dumb heavy rock song, which explains perfectly why I dislike it. This isn't progressive rock, it's just something the Foo Fighters could've come up with and it wouldn't sound much worse. I always skip this song because it just doesn't compare to the rest of the album at all. The playing is flawless as expected but the song is monotone and very uninteresting to me.

Lazarus is completely different from the first two songs ? instead of an aggressive rock song, it's a poppy ballad with beautiful, fragile piano playing. This song was the European single for this album (while Shallow was the American one) which is sort of interesting, because as good as it is, it does not represent Porcupine Tree's sound at all. I really do like this song though, it's very pretty.

The fourth song, Halo, has heavily distorted vocals and rather strange lyrics ("God is on the cellphone") but is extremely catchy. The vocals fit strangely well in this divinely haunted piece. The song has alternating spacey and heavy parts but it sounds more like an alternative rock song than prog rock. I suppose this song is all right; it doesn't really do much for me, but nor does it annoy me in any way.

Up fifth is the epic song of the album, Arriving Somewhere But Not Here. This piece is by far the best and most impressive song on the album. It's easily among the best songs PT have made. Arriving Somewhere starts off with a minute of strange sounds, immediately setting the atmosphere for the rest of the song. Listening to this you can actually imagine yourself travelling through a forest at twilight; the cover art really fits with this song. The atmosphere is indescribable and powerful. One of my favourite songs by PT and the musical and lyrical peak of this album!

Next is Mellotron Scratch. At first I didn't like this song much, though it has grown on me slightly. The song has lots of acoustic guitar sounds and spacey parts. The beginning of this song is quite boring but it changes styles halfway through and becomes heavier and more powerful. This second part is quite enjoyable. The seventh song on the album is Open Car, a somewhat tormented song that isn't bad but I don't find it particularly interesting (and the lyrics are pretty bad).

The Start of Something Beautiful is, to me, the second best song on the album. The acoustic beginning isn't too great but when the guitar riffs start, followed by piano and organ, the song gets much more interesting. The ending of this song gives me goose bumps, it's simply fantastic. The Start of Something Beautiful is second only to Arriving Somewhere on this album and a very worthwhile listen.

The closer is Glass Arm Shattering. This is a very quiet, dreamy song which many people on this site seem to love, but I find it terribly boring and a huge anticlimax after the perfect ending of the previous amazing song. Vocals are nothing special, musical ideas aren't interesting? just a bad ending to an otherwise fine record.

I rate this album three stars. If all the material were on the level of Arriving Somewhere this would be a masterpiece, but the quality of the songs is quite inconsistent and there's a bit too much alternative rock and too little prog here for me. Despite this, the album is definitely worth buying and listening. It's good, but if you're going to buy one album first, get In Absentia or Fear of a Blank Planet.

Abyssal Sheep | 3/5 |


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