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Porcupine Tree - The Incident CD (album) cover

THE INCIDENT

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

3.71 | 1196 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group
Site and Forum Admin
4 stars The undeserved bashing needs to end

Porcupine Tree is a widely loved band in the progressive community. Since the early 90s, the band has released a number of classic records, from the quirky debut On the Sunday of Life to the more metallic and incredibly diverse In Absentia. With their latest album, The Incident, the band's second album on the acclaimed (and also declaimed) label Roadrunner Records, host of many a prog-lover's bands, the band truly exemplifies the sound they began to approach back in 2002. The album is essentially one 55 minute long epic, with an EP length disc 2. Comprised of a more metallic edge, a fiercer outlook, and a dynamic range of sonic excellence, the album truly is a treat. Sadly, compared to 2007's great Fear of a Blank Planet, many were skeptical with the release and the album's ratings quickly began to decline. Although this album may not be your everyday Porcupine Tree album, it certainly packs a fantastic punch and is a great display of this band's excellent prowess.

Porcupine Tree is known for its more psychedelic output of the 90s. In the 2000s, the new drummer Gavin Harrison announced almost a new era for the band, with a sharper turn in the Progressive Metal direction with his appearance on In Absentia. The band has steadily progressed in that direction ever since. On this album, a whole slew of influences can be heard, from a slightly psychedelic to mellower rock, great punchy metal lines, and even some more art-pop oriented regions all appearing on the fantastic epic. Although this may not reach the level of the superb long epic like "The Whirlwind" or "Mei", but it certainly marks a superb display of modern prog. Steve Wilson has shown his compositional knowhow many a times, and this album only extends this. With tasty sections and rhythmic and harmonically beautiful sections, this album certainly has a delicious proggy flair to it. Even on my first listen I was captivated by a few incredible tracks, most notably Time Flies and I Drive the Hearse. Although the lyrical theme can seem silly at first, it quickly delves into more philosophical matter and at times has some superb lyrics. Overall, the album is a real treat. Although at times one may speculate the band has sold into a more poppy region of music, the album really stays true to its original genre and is a great album for the year.

I'd like to talk about two tracks on this album that really strike a chord with me on this album - Time Flies and I Drive the Hearse. Both are incredible, impeccably composed and mastered and overall just wonderfully done. When I had first heard Porcupine Tree around 2007 or 2008, I was still a huge metalhead and thought most of the band's music, which was overall much lighter, was boring and not listen-worthy. Despite the fact, I got The Incident. When I heard Time Flies, I was blown away. The gentle chords, the simple yet complex rhythms and the potent atmosphere created by the truly genius Richard Barbieri really made a spectacular effect on me - it showed me the power of more "simple" music; that music didn't need to have shredding solos or intense riffing sessions, that it truly could just be this incredible blend of psychedelics, popularly leaning melodies, and an overall wonderful atmosphere that could make up a spectacular song. Overall, this track is genius and a wonderful gem on this album.

The next real kicker for me was the final movement, I Drive the Hearse. This is probably one of the most pop-oriented tracks on the album, yet I absolutely love it. The incredible simplicity of it, the fantastic lyrics, and the overall spectacular atmosphere of the music really turned me on to this classic of the PT discography. Although it may seem one of those "sell-out" sort of tracks, it really is an almost retro-PT track, reaching into the back catalogs of PT's sound and extracting a truly marvelous song - and an incredibly addition to this album.

It's quite sad how this album is poo-pooed by so many critics. It really is a great album, and although it may not be a masterpiece of the band's discography, it really is a magnificent addition to a line of great albums. Yes, the band seems to be moving in a more popularly leaning direction, but this album is in no way pop - it still has that PT vibe, the slightly psychedelic, almost metallic, superbly progressive, and overall great atmosphere associated with a Wilson production. Overall, the album is a great addition to anyone's collection that is yearning for a more accessible but still fantastic prog record. 4 stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |

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