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Porcupine Tree - Fear Of A Blank Planet CD (album) cover

FEAR OF A BLANK PLANET

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.22 | 1889 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Planklin
4 stars

Fear of a Blank Planet was my first taste of Porcupine Tree, and boy, was I impressed. The music I was hearing was a solid combination of everything I looked for in music: power and ambience. Most bands I've listened to before leaned toward one or the other, but Steven Wilson has managed to find a solid medium between the two, and he goes about it so well.

Fear of a Blank Planet starts the album off with a punch. Right away you can tell that this is a darker, heavy album. The lyrics aren't progressive-style lyrics, being extremely straightforward and easy to understand (lol), and while some may detract from Porcupine Tree for their lyrics, I find it refreshing. I listen to so much prog, sometimes my mind needs a break.

About six minutes into the song, the power drops off, and the overall "echo" theme of the album sets in. This is why Porcupine Tree is excellent - their skill with simply jamming. Most jam sessions are tiring to listen to. Not Porcupine Tree's.

The ending jam flows excellently into My Ashes, which is the polar opposite of the track before. This song is slow, steady, ambient, and almost depressing. The balance that is displayed here is tremendous in its effect. You'll have albums like Muse's Absolution that have hard songs and soft songs along beside each other, and it simply doesn't work the way they plan. But this album isn't one of those. My Ashes is an excellent listen.

Anesthetize picks up the pace. This song is easily the best song on the record, and is one of my most favorite songs of all time. Who could say no to this song? It's a near- eighteen-minute monster. I'm about to rant for a long time about this song, so if you want the TL;DR version... IT'S INCREDIBLE! The first section displays that ambience and jamming that Porcupine Tree is so good at. One thing I never noticed until really examining these songs is the skill of their drummer Gavin Harrison (forgive me if the last name is incorrect). He keeps the beat going forward even though the music seems like it should go slower. It's fantastic. The guitar solo from Alex Lifeson is terrific as well, as it goes excellently with the rest of the secion. Six minutes in, one last fast drum fill leads you into the second section, a heavy section reminiscent of the title track. This section is what makes Anesthetize. Sometimes I'll find myself skipping the first section just to listen to this one. The sluggish riff at the beginning really sets the mood for the section well, and the verse is excellent, but the chorus is really what impressed me. This is easily one of the best choruses I've heard, it's powerful, emotional, and excellent. But it doesn't end there: after the second chorus, a little jam breaks out that's truly excellent music. If more music was like this jam, the world would be a better place to live. I mean it. After this, the whole band goes crazy, before repeating the chorus, and fading into the third section. The third section could be a whole other song, but whatever. It's the best vocal performance from anyone, I believe. The counterpoint employed here is of the utmost excellency, and the verses are like unicorn milk.

Sentimental is not a song I was too familiar with until recently, but it's an excellent song in its own right. The ambience from the third section of Anesthetize flows over into the whole of this song (and a bit of the next, I might add), and is truly music at its best. There's really not much I can say about this song that I've already said about the rest of the songs on this record. I'm running out of adjectives.

Way Out of Here is a powerful song in the vein of the title track. This is a great song, and there's not much to say about it, except that its chorus is almost as good as the one from Anesthetize I like so much.

So, after all this harping about how excellent these songs are, you may be wondering why I've rated it four stars. The answer lies with Sleep Together. I don't know what my beef is with this song, but it just doesn't cut it like the rest of the album does. It's a decent enough song, yes, but as far as the album as a whole goes, it doesn't fit. For one thing, it seems that this song doesn't end the album as justly as it should. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I simply don't like Sleep Together.

In conclusion, Fear of a Blank Planet is an excellent album. If you haven't heard this or anything else by Porcupine Tree, you're definitely missing out.

- Planklin

Planklin | 4/5 |

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