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Porcupine Tree - In Absentia CD (album) cover

IN ABSENTIA

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.26 | 2779 ratings

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ComaEcliptic
5 stars Porcupine Tree is one of the most important modern prog bands of the mid 90s and early to mid 2000s, going from space rock to alternative rock with huge Beach Boys and Pink Floyd buzz, to Crosby Stills and Nash, Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Nine Inch Nails infused Prog Rock with metal undertones. This album was the start of a new phase in the PT discography, where they went from space rock - Pink Floyd like music, to being a very unique blend of Beach Boys, CSN, and Pink Floyd like music with a metal twist. In Absentia introduced a new member of the band, world renowned drummer (that would eventually end up with King Crimson), Gavin Harrison. Having heard the Deluxe Edition released in early February 2020, I learned more about this spectacular album then I did when I first heard it. Although, the concept of this album was known to me before reading through the notes of the Deluxe Edition, now back to the review.

In Absentia is one of my top 20 (maybe even top 10) favourite albums of all time. This album combines all the elements that I find appealing in progressive rock music, mixed with a folky and psychedelic approach that comes with extreme harmonies and melodic acoustic guitar. Another interesting element about this album is the Tool like track that is Strip The Soul (shockingly enough, better than Tool in my honest opinion). So let's get down to business and review the tracks themselves.

Blackest Eyes: The opener, a very strong way to introduce the music found on the album, with large and gorgeous harmonies, heavy guitars and hammond organs, and lots of amazing layers of acoustic guitars. 5/5

Trains: Like a Crosby Stills and Nash track with a slight heavy bite, the harmonies are yet again amazing. I think that this track is a very good example of Porcupine Tree trying something unique in progressive rock. 5/5

Lips of Ashes: This is much more on the side of Crosby Stills and Nash, with a huge dark twist to it. Amazing yet again. 5/5

The Sound of Muzak: Odd times, complicated patterns and lots of harmonies, this song shows a lot of newer elements not found on previous albums such as Lightbulb Sun and Stupid Dream. 5/5

Gravity Eyelids: Ambient, dark, and the concept of the entire album start getting more and more obvious with this song leading the dark and grisly side of progressive rock lyrical themes. This is the longest track on the album, reaching in at 8 minutes in total. 10/10

Wedding Nails: Instrumental, complex musicianship, and yet again, ambiance. Incredible. 5/5

Prodigal: Arguably the best track on the album, its my fathers favourite song on this album. I find the sound of this song to be a summary of the previous tracks wrapped into a neat little bow. Incredible. 5/5

Dot 3: Sort of a continuation on Prodigal, fading out from Prodigal and straight into Dot 3. Its lyrics are limited but they fit the tone of this track, Richard Barbieri compliments the actual string section found on this track. Absolutely fantastic 5/5

The Creator Has A Mastertape: A complicated song, not musically, but just the way its written, hard to get into but its still very good. This song is quite loud for sure so... its understandable why some find this song hard to get into. 4/5

Heartattack In A Layby: In my eyes, the best song on this album... love the vocals, guitars, ambiance, and just... everything about this song. 5/5

Strip The Soul: Tool in the eyes of Porcupine Tree, I just can't say enough about this song, its amazing, lots of odd times and bass riffs that just punch through your subs. 5/5

Collapse The Light Into Earth: Piano, string sections and heavenly vocals. A perfect closing to a perfect album. 5/5

Time to get to the concept.

This album is mainly focused on the mindset, and activities of a serial killer. The development of the story throughout the entire album progresses from childhood to death, making a very compelling story for listeners with a dark side and listeners who love concept albums following in the footprints of The Lamb, The Wall, and other amazing concept albums. 20/20

To sum up, this albums music, songs, and concept just make for a very enjoyable modern progressive rock record. Fantastic from end to end.

Total Grade: 84/85 Total Grade Precentage: 98.82%

Rating: Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music.

ComaEcliptic | 5/5 |

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