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Porcupine Tree - Deadwing CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.11 | 1983 ratings

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Marc Baum
Prog Reviewer
5 stars One of the best albums of the year for sure. No, three or less stars are bad jokes, and four stars are not enough. "Deadwing" reached me personal like no other album this year and is one of my personal favourites together with Ghost Reveries by Opeth. I've heard many great discs this year, but the most challenging was definitely this one. With such great records like "Lightbulb Sun" and "In Absentia" in their previous catalogue, Porcupine Tree brings some heavier tunes on "Deadwing", but still deliver us the important PT character inside of the music, which makes them a unique cornerstone of the rock genre. The heavier parts, specially in "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here" remind on a cross between Dream Theater and Tool, but always catch back the guideline of the PT sound during the piece.

Track by track:

01 - Deadwing: Rocks pretty well, changes the mood with a haunting chord change in the middle-part, takes back the rock-forward-style from the beginning and flues into an ambient-styled instrumental part, where a guitar solo by Steven Wilson takes a wider place and takes back the main-style of the song again. Strong opening! (Track rating: 9.5/10 points)

02 - Shallow: Unusual, more straight-ahead metal song, which contains a pretty cool refrain, where also some good Dream Theater-inspired riffs and breaks take control. Maybe some prog-purists feel turned off by this one, but I enjoy it very much and it's very well constructed and performed. I also hear some Tool-esque undertunes out of it. (Track rating: 9/10 points)

03 - Lazarus: A beautiful place to relax and to get a bit sentimental, with beautiful mellotron and piano and contains an haunting refrain. This song is a pure mellow piece and really can bring one to tears in a special situation. Otherwise, it's just nice. Definitely a highlight, because of it's mellowed beauty. (Track rating: 10/10 points)

04 - Halo: Another accesible track, with a complex ending part, which sounds great. Another well performed song, but can't match with the first three songs, far from beeing mediocre though. (Track rating: 8.5/10 points)

05 - Arriving Somewhere But Not Here: The heart of the album and most progressively mooding piece on "Deadwing". The intro with the stunning acoustic guitars promise much and introduces a masterful epic. The dreamy melodies and meditative arrangements let you travel to an other place, before they throw you in an uplifting part, where the pure magic of the band sound takes control. There are several heavy parts in the middle, where I also can hear Dream Theater-influenced parts in combination with Tool-esque riffs and breaks. I don't know if Mr. Wilson took these two bands as influences here, or is it just for fun, maybe I should ask him personally. The main-part of the song comes back and fades out the piece. Definitely the cornerstone of the record and needs to earn the high score. Without the track, this album would be only the half as good. (Track rating: 10/10 points)

06 - Mellotron Stratch: A mellow piece, with pretty good vocal performance of Steven Wilson and top notch instrumentation. It's a fitting piece to let the record flue well. (Track rating: 8/10 points)

07 - Open Car: A heavier song with some great powerful guitars in the refrain. The guitar rythm inside the verses underline the the spoken words of Steve Wilson very fittable. Overall another great song and very accesible. (Track rating: 9/10 points)

08 - Start Of Something Beautiful: I like the mood of this song: It's mellow, shineful happy and heavy all in one package. The crowning highlight of the song is definitely the brilliant instrumental part, which sets in after close five minutes, with the haunting piano melody, which remind me somehow on some of the big crowning moments of some 70's prog observations by Genesis or else. One of the best pieces on the record. (Track rating: 10/10 points)

09 - Glass Arm Shattering: Porcupine Tree end their records for usual since "Lighbulb Sun" with a mellow piece. This song delivers a relaxed mood, with one "shalalala" singing part, which reminds me on some Yes. The song is the fitting end to close the record. (Track rating: 8.5/10 points)

It's confirming to see how Porcupine Tree improve their sound and maturity from record to record. The people, who prefer the psychedelic/space/ambient prog 1st period, will complain again about the style-change, but all the people who know and love Porcupine Tree for their bundled songwriting-creativity, and accept the metal and alternative rock influences, which they add to their progressive rock sound, they know that they get another brilliant record, which is a real grower. I had some few problems at the beginning to find full access to "Deadwing", but the time I've spended to it was very well invested. It touched me personally after some rounds in my cd player, and this is very rare these days. The record can really be disappointing a bit on first listen, but don't let you scare off about it, because there is much to find and love about this album, you only need the personal access, which must be discovered first, before it will show off it's real brilliance. I thought it isn't as great as "In Absentia" or "Lightbulb Sun" at first, but I recognized it needs more time than these two, after all I find it as great as them, if not even better. The hit-potential of "In Absentia" is a bit reduced and don't expect a "Sound Of Muzak", "Shesmovedon" or kind of that on "Deadwing". This record got it's hidden doors, it's more in a dark vein, but the moods are always changing or mixed together, it plays in it's own category as a PT-record.

Thank you Porcupine Tree for your constantly high quality products and specially Mr. Wilson for your musicianal ambition to lead the prog scene in a modern way into the future, without throwing your roots overboard. This is a highly recommended disc!

Record rating: 9.5 + 9 + 10 + 8.5 + 10 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 8.5 = 82.5 / 9 tracks = 9.166666667 = 9.17 = 9

Porcupine Tree - "Deadwing": 92 % on MPV scale = 9/10 points = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

Marc Baum | 5/5 |


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