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Porcupine Tree - Deadwing CD (album) cover

DEADWING

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.08 | 1459 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

blueavenger
5 stars This is my first review for Prog Archives. And what better place to start than what I feel is the best album that I have heard so far, progressive or otherwise:

Deadwing, by Porcupine Tree

Given that I only discovered Porcupine Tree in March 2010, theirs has been a heady ascent in my heart and soul. Without doubt they are now firmly entrenched as my favourite band and Steven Wilson (with whom I share a birthplace) by far my favourite musician / genius / deity.

And it was Halo that kicked it all off, strangely enough, via the ITunes "Introduction to Prog" section, specifically the key-change during the 30-second snippet of chorus.

Needless to say, it was the best $ 1.69 I have ever spent. Fear of a Blank Planet followed, along with Insurgentes...

Anyway, enough with the biography, and more about Deadwing and why this album is worthy of 5-stars (and yes, I thought very carefully before assigning the rating Mr. Administrator: only 2 albums in my entire ITunes library have 5 starts!).

What I will say is that this album soars. It flows and glides and floats and drifts and speeds... The heavy moments are heavy and compelling and sometimes contrasting, but the contrast is always welcome and inspired. The softer, quieter moments also fall in the right places, at the right time and don't disrupt any continuity or sonic momentum that the preceding songs generate.

Like any good day in a person's life, Deadwing is about simply great moments (to say nothing of great songs). We define a good day as one that has had some laughter, some stress, some fine wine, a bit of sport or contest, and certainly a few challenges. Most importantly, it is the promise of what is to come and a reflection on what has been that we take comfort in. And this is the real magic of Deadwing: not only do you enjoy what you are listening to at any point in the album, but you are also still feeling the warmth and benefit of what has come before, whilst simultaneously looking forward to what you know is coming next.

But enough with the new-age love-in. How about those moments; Deadwing: the speedy, powerful intro; the instrumental section replete with heavy guitars and clashing time signatures; the great riff, resonating at the end; atmospheric background noise right at the end.

Shallow: the great riffage and (very "alternative") rock metal feel; the juxtaposition of / inspired switch from heavy guitars to piano and acoustic for the 2nd verse (or is that the bridge?); the great instrumental section; the reprise of the intro and the end leading perfectly into the quieter...

Lazarus; the anthemic lyrics; the empty 3rd verse of the 2nd chorus (yeah, I know, that's the wrong description), allowing us to appreciate the simple piano melody; the train sound effects leading into...

Halo; ALL of it, especially the great bass line, great snare sound, inspired time-change instrumental passage and then, finally, the soaring coda when the piano kicks in

Arriving; the slow, patient intro; the mellotron; the chorus harmony; the "I know where this is headed" build-up to the instrumental; the indisputably head-banging / hand-slapping metal section; the seamless return to the introspective tone of the song, via a Latin-style acoustic break

Mellotron Scratch; the peaceful, slow pace, perfectly complementing Arriving...; the 70's / Alan Parsons feel of the harmony chorus; the ending, filled with swirling, overlapping vocals

Open Car; again, the perfect compliment to Mellotron; the time signature and metal guitars with Abacab-era vocals; the anthemic bridge; the rocking chorus; the solemn outro.

Something Beautiful..; the cinematic intro; the superb bass line; the great instrumental bridge to the chorus; the mournful piano break near the end.

Glass Arm; the crackly intro; the soothing, peaceful Floydseque essence; the chiming guitars.

This album really underlines the art of crafting an album, rather than just throwing some songs onto a CD. When Steven Wilson insists that listening to an album all the way through is the only way to truly appreciate an artist's work, it is no better illustrated than Deadwing ? although one can certainly dip into the album and play any number of combinations of tracks to suit a certain mood or satisfy a particular craving (sorry Steven).

For anyone that has yet to sample Porcupine Tree or Steve Wilson's work, then it goes without saying that Deadwing is highly recommended. This is an album for lovers of music; for people that can appreciate piano ballads alongside metal; anthemic harmonies alongside a strong rhythm section; great melodies next to great riffs.

This will certainly appeal to people who like conventional, alternative AND progressive rock. It gives the listener regular doses of these various genres throughout, without overplaying one form, or not doing credit for another. It might not be for Progressive "purists", but it is certainly worthy to be included in the great progressive pantheon.

Indisputably 5 stars.

blueavenger

blueavenger | 5/5 |

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