Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Porcupine Tree

Heavy Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Porcupine Tree Metanoia album cover
3.02 | 262 ratings | 28 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Mesmer I (8:33)
2. Mesmer II (6:03)
3. Mesmer III / Coma Divine (13:18)
4. Door to the River (4:25)
5. Metanoia I / Intermediate Jesus (14:32)
6. Insignificance (4:55)
7. Metanoia II (11:03)
8. Milan (2:25)

Total Time: 56:54

Line-up / Musicians

- Steven Wilson / guitar, vocals
- Richard Barbieri / keyboards, electronics
- Colin Edwin / bass
- Chris Maitland / drums, backing vocals

Releases information

CD reissue of improvisations recorded during the sessions for "Signify" and originally issued as a limited edition double 10 inch vinyl in 1998. Tracks 4 and 6 are additional tracks recorded during the same sessions and originally included on the "Insignificance" cassette.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy PORCUPINE TREE Metanoia Music

PORCUPINE TREE Metanoia ratings distribution

(262 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (37%)
Collectors/fans only (19%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

PORCUPINE TREE Metanoia reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Metanoia is great background music, hypnotic. It's mostly improv music, which I love, showing the creation of song out of jamming. Alternate listening to this and Signify and try to figure out what parts match.

Occassionally the constant ride cymbal, clicks, gets annoying. Still, a good addition to your Porcupine Tree collection.

Collectors only

Review by loserboy
5 stars Progressively dark and foreboding, PORCUPINE TREE's "Metonia" easily takes the listener into deep space where we encounter a strange new vastness of instrumental wizardry and improvised jams. "Metonia" is essentially several unused improvisational jams from the "Signify" album which up until now have been unavailable to us. Although a series of studio experiments, this album provides a real meaty excursion into the the musical genius of Steve Wilson and company. Songs vary in length and we are treated to a few 4 mins tracks and couple of epics as well. For those who love the space jam thing will need to have this album without hesitation. Most of the songs follow a similar format in C. Maitland and C. Edwin establishing the flow while Wilson and Barbieri overlay some stunning guitar and keyboard atmospheres. Of course a few Spinal Tap moments are tossed in for good luck including a very funny final track where we are joined by the band at some restaurant in Italy where the menu selection is in question... I love the sticker on the outside of the album which tells us to "file this album under self-indulgent". Overall a brilliant album with some very creative moments.

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
3 stars I really like it when PORCUPINE TREE is jamming for a while if this is embedded in a complex song structure. So they do for example in some songs on their great live album 'Coma Divine'. And this is what I missed a litte bit in the last studio outputs.

'Metanoia' contains improvisations/jams from the 'Signify' recordings. It begins with Mesmer I which for me is good enough to be on any normal album. But Mesmer II compared with the good start is totally uninspired. Mesmer III/Coma divine comes very ambient and psychedelic - the second highlight. Door to the river and Intermediate Jesus you can also ignore. The following Insignificance in fact is another great song with a very powerfull drum and bass playing.

But the whole release is too monotonous and may only completely satisfy a PT hardcore fan.

Review by obiter
2 stars Oouch !!!!

Since I discovered these amazing guys a few years ago I have almost always been pleasantly surprised with every album. That is except this one.

To be honest I don't understand it. The word PANTS springs to mind, but then agian I watched Australia lose to Bangaldesh in a one day international so sh*t can happen.

The redeeming quality of this album is that prog lovers know that all great bands produce some real mingers at some stage. This, is in my opinion PT's worst album by a country mile.

Having said that, and being forewarned, I bought it.............


Try Deadwing/Signify/Voyage34/Stupid Dream/Sky Moves Sideways you will not be disappointed.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars This should not really be considered as a full "Porcupine Tree" album.It is made of mostly improvisation tracks. This might be OK for a while, but almost an hour of his treat is a bit too much. Less trippy than "Voyage 34" this "Mesmer" thing holds some pleasant moments. But it is repetitive and there is absolutely no melody. Just the start of an encounter with some space structure (but don't know of which type).

The whole sounds more as as a remix as anything else. Not too bad, but don't expect great stuff either. Ambient music. Not more. It is hard to be concentrated on this type of work (especially that I'm finalizing this review around 3 AM).

"Mesmer" stuff is clocking at twenty-eight minutes, while the "Metanoia" ones at twenty-five. Did you say long improvisations ?

This effort can only please die-hard "PT" fans . Well worth a listen on a rainy Winter afternoon when you have decided to have a rest and want to listen to some tranquil, quiet, and peaceful music. A good antidote to narcotics at the end of a busy week.

From time to time it works (at least with me). So, if you are in that mood one day, it might be interesting to play this album. But this is not an entry point in "PT" repertoire.

Standout tracks are "Mesmer III" and "Metanoia II.

Two stars.

Review by Prog Leviathan
2 stars Dark, cryptic atmospheres and moody playing make this entirely improvised album a very aquired taste, but for those seeking ambient background music it fits the bill nicely. Sounds are very similar to what we've heard on "Signify", with Wilson chiming out guitar effects and Edwin's clear bass delivering some enjoyable grooves. Maitland's drumming is very laidback, and effective given the setting. Great for mellow listening with the lights down.

There isn't a melody to be found, and it will come across as very repetative to most listeners-- know what you're getting into. As the sticker on my copy's CD case says, "File Under Self-Indulgent".

Songwriting: NA Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: NA Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Porcupine jam

The band were clearly so worried about the impact this album would have on their growing reputation that the sticker on the front of the CD reads "File under self indulgent". The intention is clearly to warn new found followers of the band that the music on this album is not compatible with any expectations they may have, based on albums such as "Lightbulb sun" and "Stupid dream".

That warning is well placed and should be heeded, as this album is not for those seeking strong melodies and tight arrangements. Originally released as a limited (1000 copies) edition double LP intended for diehard fans only, "Metanoia" is made up of material which Porcupine Tree did not feel was appropriate for inclusion on the "Signify" album. Two further tracks from the same sessions have been added to the widely available CD version.

The music here is entirely improvisational, devoid of the tight melodies and detailed production which is now a feature of a Porcupine Tree album. By and large it features Steve Wilson on lead guitar, supported by the remaining band members. Chris Maitland takes the opportunity to place his drums well forward in the mix, to the extent that with a little effort on the part of the listener, this could be heard as a 60 minute drums solo!

The track lengths are not outrageously indulgent, the longest being around 14 minutes. Some of the content would be tightened up and included on "Signify", the titles here such as "Coma divine" and "Intermediate Jesus" offering clues as to the destination.

This is not an album to be taken too seriously, and should certainly not be considered a part of the main discography of Porcupine Tree. As a piece of background music it is adequate, but perhaps a little too intrusive. As such, this is not really a fans only set, as many fans will not find the album particularly appealing. More perhaps for collectors interested in hearing what the band do in their spare time!

Review by russellk
2 stars Self-confessedly self indulgent, this album is one of the few unnecessary items in the PORCUPINE TREE discography.

Not that it's poor. Far from it. 'Metanoia' is the fruits of a couple of improv jam sessions held during the 'Signify' recording sessions, and consists largely of guitar and synth noodling over a steady rhythm. The musicians play well together, and I particularly enjoy COLIN EDWIN's bass work. In the end, however, it is the space-rock equivalent of a LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT exercise: impressive sound but of limited compositional value, which, I guess, is the nature of improv.

Prospective purchasers should note that it bears little resemblance to the polished albums in PT's catalogue. Not an album that gets regular play in my collection.

Review by ProgBagel
2 stars Porcupine Tree - Metanoia 2.5 stars

A jam for the fans.

Besides the occasional annoyance of repeated clicks, beats and endless space noise.I find this to be a good record. 'Metanoia' was recorded during the 'Signify' sessions. All of the music is improvisation brought out by the consistent line-up of Steven Wilson, Richard Barbieri, Colin Edwin and Chris Maitland.

If there is one thing to rave about on this album, it would be Colin Edwin's bass performance which is pretty damn nice. Colin and Chris Maitland both hold down the beat while the guitar and synthesizers take the lead work. That pretty much sums up this album well. The improvisation is not too bad besides the occasional over indulgence and repetition.

The fans could enjoy this one. If you are looking for a Porcupine Tree record you would want to have as a first, look the other way.

Review by Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Porcupine Tree, active for already 17 years, have become - in a graduate way - the band with many faces, with enough potential to squeeze one of the best expressions of new prog rock ever, still never forgetting to attract many fans, since their music always boils perfect pitches with blank commercial ideas and modern art with impulsive rock standards. Though you can't blame much of the changes, and in fact each large phase (three, so far) came with an essential or at least close to perfect work, there are still enough words for evoking the loss of the psychedelic flair, after the mid-90s, upon the embrace of alternative and pop, towards the end of 90s and the following aforementioned boil of great and bit dubious stuff during these new successful times. I was never personally convinced and fully content with post-Signify albums like Stupid Dream or Lightbulb Sun, but I'm even more disappointed that, since talking about the PT's eclecticism, one of the band's faces is kinda left out of the equation, most of the time. And the masterwork of this split side, suffering the most, is Metanoia.

Snapping out of this hard (and empty, in places) critic to Porcupine Tree's half portion of less artistic and less profound music, but purely ecstatic, heart-shaking, melding the progressive with the mainstream, it's more important to recommend this different, more unknown, bit surreal, unexpected, challenging, difficult to get into or retain achievement. What's true is true, it can't compare in any way with Porcupine Tree's main line of projects, with the big albums that is, but even considering this, it sounds like a great moment when fantasy took over, instrumentality was more perfectioned (ending a bit too rough, sometimes), it's not something greatly unusual coming from them, though it could be annexed inside the "alternative" directions. Being perceived against all the common tendencies doesn't make it bad, unrecompensed. And, since it's just a sort of "side-album", comported as an extra experiment, it's not even style-shifting Porcupine Tree's main glow, since, considering it a 2001, it's strictly an album placed between PT's line of easy, modern-pop music (culminating with Lightbulb Sun) and new shift (starting with In Absentia). It's much harder to accept, for me, the fact that we can talk about Metanoia being marginalized, just like the Voyage 34 re-installed story one year ago. Distaste is one thing, preference is another, but treating the album as, let's assume, "not of a PT worth" is just sad. Still, overall, the hard way how Metanoia is received enhances even more, IMO, its special nature.

Since it is originally a 1998 project and a Signify special session, things aren't so insufferable, neither that radical. Released only in 2001, it has a good place there, as a crossover effect of new endorsed music, lately imagined subtlety, vainly crisped shadiness.

Metanoia is able to passionate and intrigue, under constant fret. I found it to be splendid in a juvenile period when Porcupine Tree didn't clicked to me so much, and still is, nowadays, of a penetrating fervor, of a fantastic difficulty, so that it doesn't matter what kind of common music Porcupine Tree does best, it matters that this different and curiously unwanted side-project is above expectations. What we can hear is a fruitful game of dark, charliehorsed, unstable music; overall the band practices nothing more apart than an improvising and glowing space hard rock. It's also a serious training into heavy listening, one dense piece following another, the caliber being thick, changes whirpooling, the effervescence being somber, suffocating, the style being more of an underground flavor, the dynamics being obsessive. Nuances are like nerves, glitches or thunders, there's little melody and harmony to be taken in a simple way, the album practically attacks your cerebral sense for metallic, demonic, gloomy music, through stirring and susceptibly lush effects. It's up to you whether you like it or not, the hard, dark catharsis that's build is all there. Conventionally, this could go a bit lower, seen as a regular session of heavy instrumental rock which to blacken the same mind we've talked about earlier and which to build your affection based on hollow structures. Still, the music's strong, the vigor's push is towards illusion and dizziness; the soundproof is excellent. Somehow, Porcupine Tree's hard improvised rock session makes me think of King Crimson's THRaKaTTaK, a similar un-commercial, un-conventional, un-controllable work.

Metanoia, in terms of going overboard and try to huff its essence, could also be a stunning ode to purely instrumental, free-guided rock. Complex, calibrated or just full of ornaments, this is modern and luscious, with artistic, demonic, capricious elements coming out of all its heavy-sounding great prose.

Review by LiquidEternity
1 stars This album fits a neat niche in the Porcupine Tree discography, but one that most fans will not be terribly interested in.

Primarily, there are no real song structures here. What we have is a lot of free-form improvisation and psychedelic strains of music. This album is closer to Up the Downstair out of the entirety of the band's catalog, but even still it really is nothing like that release. So, kudos to the band for appropriately venturing into different directions. They play into the psychedelic very obtusely, though, not gently evoking moods and themes through soundscapes a la Pink Floyd or Camel, but rather roughly throwing some abrupt and jarring shifts into ambient chord sequences. The final effect is a neat one, and not unlistenable, but it's nothing very appealing in the long term. It very much is mood music; meaning that you most definitely have to be in a very particular mood to enjoy the creativity and musicality of this record. In over a year, it's happened to me maybe two or three times. In those couple times, the music is wild and powerful, but for the rest of the time, it's the Porcupine Tree album that easily gets the fewest plays from me.

Fans of the band's most psychedelic records probably will find something to enjoy here. Fans of the band's more recent releases may be particularly stymied by the oddness of Metanoia. In the end, it really is a release only recommend to serious fans of the band who have already purchased and gotten to know most of the rest of their output. The single star is not due to a lack of quality but to a very narrow window of enjoyment.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars These were improvs that PORCUPINE TREE did while recording the "Signify" album. Steven didn't feel that any of these tracks fit in with that album, but he also felt they were too good to put in the archives. He originally released this as a 10" single. I have the remastered version which has a couple of added tracks from the same sessions. Steven Wilson is a big Krautrock and Psychedelic music fan and he's quite proud of these recordings.

"Mesmer I" features a beat throughout as other sounds come and go. Nice bass before 5 1/2 minutes. High pitched sounds come in later. "Mesmer II" has no beat but is spacey. Drums then come in as guitar plays over top. Nice. Back to that spacey soundscape 5 1/2 minutes in as guitar and drums stop. "Mesmer III / Coma Divine" opens with spoken words then you can hear that someone is changing stations on the radio. Drums and synths 4 minutes in as we can still hear voices. Deep bass 6 minutes in as we get a great sound here as drums continue. Keys 7 minutes in. It's spacey after 10 minutes with no beat but then drums return before 11 minutes followed by the guitar making some fantastic noise. "Door To The River" is eerie to start out as drums come and go along with other sounds. Great sound before 4 minutes.

"Metanoia / Intermediate Jesus" is dark and haunting. Drums 4 1/2 minutes in with guitar to follow. Excellent sound after 10 1/2 minutes.The guitar is really good and the drums are very prominant. "Insignificance" opens with cymbals. Bass and floating synths before drums come pounding in. Guitar before 2 minutes. Nice. An all out assault 3 1/2 minutes in.This is heavy ! "Metanoia II" builds as bass, drums and synths create a great soundscape. It settles some before 4 minutes. The tempo picks up and the guitar becomes more prominant. Waves of synths roll in. Nice bass. Some incredible guitar before 8 minutes then Steven starts ripping it up even more later on. "Milan" is basically a funny interview with no music.

If your really into Psychedelic soundscapes you'll love this i'm sure. A lot of PORCUPINE TREE fans won't like this though.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is some very odd music by Porcupine Tree but at the same time some pretty awesome music! Metanoia is as the sticker on the album said pretty self-indulgent yet that is what makes it an interesting album to listen to. Made of entirely improvisations each track is a trip into deep space. Mesmer III/Coma Divine is a track that stands out for some reason. If you listen you'll probably think so too. The closest this album gets to acsessible is Door to the River and Insignifigance although they are improvisations as well. Not everyone will agree with me when I say this but this is some of the most artistic music Porcupine Tree has ever released. On the prog scale I give this a three and on the improvisation scale I give this a five, so on the improg scale, (I made that up! How clever am I?) I give it a four.
Review by The Sleepwalker
2 stars Metanoia is an album by Porcupine Tree, existing of several studio jams. The compositions are all instrumental, except for radio noises and recordings of the band talking. This album really isn't meant for everybody, as some songs are lengthy psychedelic soundscapes, which people might find a bit too much or even boring.

The songs on this album are no stand-alone songs, the first three tracks for example are Mesmer I, II, and III. Most tracks also segue into another track. The songs are made up of spacey effects, psychedelic guitar playing and very typical basslines. The basslines are, though all powerful and good, one of the weak things of this album, they are incredibly repetative. Nearly every song has a bassline that sounds like the bassline of a different song. For this reason, the album doesn't stay interesting for more than lets say 20 minutes for me. Now, not every song is uninteresting. The most interesting songs on the album are Insignificance and Metanoia I and II. Mesmer I also is pretty good but the remaining tracks don't really do it for me. The final track, Milan, is a recording of the band being in a restaurant in the italian city Milan. The track is basically a pretty silly conversation, but a nice extra on the album.

So, this review is a pretty short one... The reason for that is that I can't say really much about this album, it's just so repetative. This doesn't mean the album is bad, it is actually very nice for background music when you're doing something else and it has some good moments. I think the album does deserve two stars, as it's not bad but more of a thing for fans of the band's spacey era than a casual Porcupine Tree album.

Review by Conor Fynes
2 stars 'Metanoia' - Porcupine Tree (4/10)

'Metanoia' is a series of improvised jams that the band did while recording their 'Signify' album. It is a stark contrast to 'Signify' in that the construct of each of the compositions is very loose and spaced out; much like the band's early Psychedelic material.

For what it is, 'Metanoia' is brilliant. The songs are listenable, and there are basically no 'songwriting process' for this album. It was just music on the spot. The members play off of a particular theme then build up something special from there. Keeping this in mind, it's a real testament to the band's tightness as a whole.

This is definately not the most interesting record to listen to, however. Much like Steven Wilson's solo project 'Bass Communion,' this is best listened to in the background. There's not enough happening in the music to keep things lively, but there are some parts, such as the opening track 'Mesmer I' that have really cool parts that spark the listeners interest; if only for a moment.

'Metanoia' is also a good demonstrator of how good some of the other musicians in the band are, besides solely Steven Wilson. A special regard to bassist Colin Edwin, who's skillful playing shines above anything else the record has to offer.

There are certainly flashes of brilliance here, but I would choose an actually songwritten Porcupine Tree album anyday over this.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's strange so many people would call this a fan only release. I'd say it's entirely the opposite as it doesn't conform to any expectation a fan might have from a PT album. Metanoia is a collection of improvisations from around the Signify era. All tracks are lengthy improvisations that might have more appeal to fans of laid-back jazz-rock and Gong-alike spacetrips, then to PT's regular fanbase.

So, while many refer this to the fans-only trash bin, I couldn't disagree more. A versatile band like PT doesn't think in boxes and takes their creativity into whatever direction it sends them in. On Metanoia the course of action is improvised instrumental music. The result is very imaginative and progressive, music that appeals by its free structure, loose feel and the fragile tension created on the spur of the moment.

There is quite a lot of music to wade through and it demands some patience to sit through the 60 minutes of slowly developing atmospheres. At first I didn't play it frequently either, but every time I heard it I regretted not spending more time with it. It won't give instant satisfaction of PT's normal structured and song-oriented approach as it has more a jammy vibe then the usual composed control that characterizes PT. But for once I love the unfinished imperfection of it.

If you can avoid the preconceived idea of what a PT album should sound like, a couple of listens might reveal some pure beauty and challenging art here. Highly recommended to people enjoying fluidly flowing instrumental music like Gong, Ozric Tentacles, IEM, Djam Karet, and other jazzy space-rock or progressive electronic.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the second full album I have heard from Porcupine Tree. The first was Voyage 34. Neither is considered a part of PT's main discography. I thought Voyage 34 sounded too much like a cross between Pink Floyd and techno. I enjoyed this album much more. Both are instrumental(except for talking). I've heard a few songs from these guys but didn't care for any of them at all. I figured I would like their instrumental albums more. Metanoia I happen to like quite a bit. After those two albums I'm going to try some of their more vocal oriented albums and see if I like any.

The songs here are made up of improvisations recorded during the sessions for Signify (which I haven't heard yet). I forgot that former Japan keyboardist Richard Barbieri was a member of Porcupine Tree. I can't believe how little most PT fans think of this album. I think it's great. Because of how much I enjoy this one, I'm skeptical of how much I will like the band's more popular albums.

"Mesmer I" has good drumming. Halfway through changes to a nice groove with cool drumming on the snare. "Mesmer II" has more good drumming. Good spacey guitar work as well. "Mesmer III / Coma Divine" starts with the band joking around in the studio. Then the sound of a radio dial being turned to different stations. Later overdubbed orchestra sounds. After some drums, bass and atmospheric synths come in. More radio samples and orchestra sounds. I like the sound of the bass in this song. Later chorused guitar and cool synth playing. Over halfway through the music calms down and mellows out. At one point there is just synth sounds. Guitar, drums and then bass comes back. Great song.

"Door To The River" has a bass sound I keep hearing more and more of. Don't know the technical term for that sound. I can only describe it as a bass guitar trying to sound like an acoustic guitar. "Metanoia I / Intermediate Jesus" starts with spacey sounds and cymbals. Gets spacier. Then bass begins to play three notes over and over. Later the drumming and guitar playing gets more intense and the bass playing has more variation while still playing the three notes. Bass dies out and then the music gets more ambient and atmospheric.

"Insignificance" picks up where the last song left off. Cool guitar sounds here. Good drumming. Mellows out at the end. "Metanoia II" continues where the previous song left off. Mostly built around a repeated bass line. A guitar solo in the middle. Ends with the tape being sped up. "Milan" is just the band members goofing off in some crowded place.

I wish PT had more albums like this. As far as improv goes, these guys got nothing on Crimson or Henry Cow. But this is more accesible improv that is generally spacey and has grooves. Steven Wilson is a great musician and producer, but I never really cared for the songs I've heard him write. He should stick to things like this. I'm gonna check out some of their other albums. I might like them, I might not. Anyway, I will give this 4 stars.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars 'Metanoia' consists of the outtakes during the recording of 'Signify'. The sessions are virtually jam sessions, no sounding like the finished material of the album to come but still interesting and a curio for collectors. I don't think this is one to grab for newcomers to the band as it is so different but it has some spacey textures and enough to grab the listener's attention. The tracks pound with a consistent rhythm but are highly experimental and explorative. There is a live feel throughout due to the improvisational approach, and most of it simply feels like background mood music. There is nothing that is memorable, per se, but occasionally some moments jump out.

It begins with improv ambience with driving tempos on 'Mesmer I', and then a more dreamier vibe is on 'Mesmer II'. I like the guitar on this with sustained held notes and some passages of psychedelic space rock. 'Mesmer III/ Coma Divine' follows clocking 13:18, opening with slabs of weird dialogue and then moving into a low drone, gentle guitar and keys and an ethereal atmosphere. This tested my patience though as it seemed thrown together and was avant in approach and I prefer PT on their more constructed compositions.

'Door to the River' is a weird thing with atmospheric percussion, avant keyboard effects, and swamp noises like on a river. It has a creepy atmosphere, but just floats along meandering like a stream going nowhere. The 14 and a half minute 'Metanoia I / Intermediate Jesus' is a soft piece, with a Tangerine Dream ambience, though I am not a fan of this style. It is spacey and builds with psychedelic flavours, but is interminably long and simple relaxation mood music, with a New Age vibe at first, then moves to a percussion and bass beat. 'Insignificance' is ambience and some strong bass pulses, with sporadic drums, and reverb guitar jamming. 'Metanoia II' cranks along a nice bassline, atmospheric keys, building to trippy guitar effects and spacey textures. I like the strange sounds emanating and the way it is nothing like the Porcupine Tree of modern times. 'Milan' is like an interview about eating food or ordering in Milan I think, and they swear a bit.

This is a real oddball release, pure instrumental and jamming over improvised phrases. The album will appeal to those who want to delve deeper into the earlier sounds of Porcupine Tree when they were exploring psychedlica and space rock sounds. It is strictly for collectors though and is a genuine acquired taste as it is so ambient and devoid of any real songs. It would make a nice bonus disc for "Signify" but alone does not really deliver much more than nice background music.

Review by Warthur
4 stars The Signify period, which saw Porcupine Tree gelling further as a band (having been more of a Steven Wilson solo project prior to The Sky Moves Sideways), certainly yielded plenty of material beyond the studio album itself. As well as the Coma Divine live album from the tour and the Insignificance collection of studio off-cuts, it also provided us with Metanoia, a collection of live-in-the studio improvised jam sessions which the band indulged in.

Some of the material here would be picked up and used as the basis of more polished tracks - Intermediate Jesus on the Signify album had its backing track derived from an edit of one of these improvisations, for example - but most of this is unique to Metanoia, and all of it is offered in a rather different context.

If you like the more song-oriented side of Porcupine Tree, you won't find that here: what you will find is material remarkably like the sort of spacey, jazzy jams which the early 1970s krautrock scene was fond of turning out. If you like the spacier, less focused parts of On the Sunday of Life or Voyage 34, you're in the right sort of territory, though the Edwin/Maitland rhythm section adds a certain amount of drive to these jams not present in those earlier works which helps ensure that the release isn't just going over old ground.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
3 stars Beginning with "Signify" PORCUPINE TREE was going beyond the mere solo project of Steven Wilson's psychedelic whim and evolving into a bonafide progressive rock band that was gradually adding elements of alternative rock and metal but you can't just simply switch off one's love for psychedelic space rock that takes you to planet Lysergia and in the process of recording "Signify" the band members of PORCUPINE TREE decided to have a little fun with spontaneous space rock jams in the vein of classic 1970s Krautrock.

The result was a set of tracks that would be released between "Signify" and "Stupid Dream" called METANOIA which referred back to Wilson's early years in the vein of "On the Sunday of Life" or "Up The Downstair" only with no vocals and really no songwriting of any kind. One of those releases that found many formats and track listings, METANOIA originally came out as a 10" double vinyl record in December 1998 with a limited 1000 copy run but rereleased in 2001 on CD with extra tracks. Given that they are entirely improvised instrumental jams, whichever release you find yourself hearing will pretty much yield the same results.

Unlike anything else in the PORCUPINE TREE canon, METANOIA pretty much took the psychedelic space rock of the band's early years and really went off the deep end. The results were something that sounded like a less acid guitar fuzz fueled version of Guru Guru's classic 1970 debut or even something the Cosmic Jokers would've dreamed up. The tracks more or less run together and the three versions of "Mesmer" and the title track mean that the hour long listening experience (if you have the CD like i do) is somewhat of a monotonous one that is more suitable for totally escaping your consciousness in a meditative way rather than relying on melodies or lyrical stories to guide you through the musical processions.

The tracks included are primarily based around a bass groove that finds many guitar and keyboards improvisations developing around. The drums serve for keeping the beat but are allowed off the leash once in a while for some more adventurous drumming workouts. Given there are no vocals except a few spoken word segments, it's really the instrumentation that offers subtle variations over the main groove that give the album any serious grit. As i've mentioned, the early years of Krautrock seem to provide the most inspiration as the band looked more to Germany than English psychedelic space rock for references.

This one is hardly an essential album from the great PORCUPINE TREE in any way but for diehards who relish the band's unique style and want to check out other musical expressions that yield some clues as to how the band crafts the more sophisticated albums, METANOIA certainly offers some breadcrumbs into the psych parts of the band's overall sound. While mostly on chill mode there are a few moments of upbeat action complete with sizzling guitar workouts and galloping bass and drums. Like all PT albums, the production and mixing is impeccable which means this is like the perfect Kraut jam record of the modern ages.

Any true PORCUPINE TREE fan will get to this eventually but even though it's a fun ride now and again, it's not really an essential listening experience at but rather a modern tribute to the early psychedelic 70s when musical freedom was en vogue. While the music is pleasant enough there are also a couple pointless spoken word conversations which are completely unnecessary the worst being the closing "Milan" where presumably the band members are discussing what they plan to eat in a restaurant complete with crowd noise. Yeah, this was not intended to be a serious release, just a decent supplemental dose of PORCUPINE TREE at its most laid back devoid of the pressures of crafting all those cleverly brilliant tunes that they would become famous for.

Latest members reviews

1 stars There's no question in my mind that "Metanoia" is the least appealing of all Porcupine Tree albums. I understand that there's a proviso on the release - that it merely comprises jam sessions recorded during the creation of the album "Signify". But really, did this need its own release? If t ... (read more)

Report this review (#959509) | Posted by bonestorm | Wednesday, May 15, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Metanoia is an album by Porcupine Tree originally released back in 1998 as a limited edition vinyl. In 2001 the album was reissued in CD format. The album mostly contains improvised jams recorded between 1995 - 1996 while the band was working on the album Signify. Other reviews tend to claim that ... (read more)

Report this review (#293489) | Posted by Tursake | Thursday, August 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Significance... "Metanoia" contains mainly improvised instrumental jams and is quite different from most of Porcupine Tree's other releases. This is without doubt one of my favorite releasese by Porcupine Tree, if not THE favorite. This is not because it is different from other Porcupine Tree r ... (read more)

Report this review (#273689) | Posted by Time Signature | Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Not exactly the best PT album, and considering this was all jam sessions it's not really going to be a masterpiece, eh? I wouldn't recommend this as a starter on a journey into Porcupine Tree, but it really is a good listen - lie down on a grassy bank - stare at the blue sky and float into Space ... (read more)

Report this review (#157709) | Posted by PinkPangolin | Saturday, January 5, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars As Porcupine Tree grows up, we see progressively less free-form improvisations in their music, which was for long their signature, and more tightly composed and planned pieces. Since Stupid Dream, the jamming has diminished, until this year's Fear of a Blank Planet, and 05's Deadwing, and 02's In ... (read more)

Report this review (#128619) | Posted by Shakespeare | Sunday, July 15, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars You have to be a fan to enjoy this. I gave it two stars because I think it's the last PT release you should check out of all their catalouge. These improvisations are interesting, but I really doubt that anybody will listen to this album from beginning to end more than two times (except die-ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#9569) | Posted by | Monday, May 31, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is by far the best thing Porcupine Tree published. The ambiance that is created is simply amazing. The heavy bass guitar playing is also very nice. My favorite part of the album is the end of Mesmer III / Coma Divine (13:18), where the drum and bass guitar take over in a very catchy riff. ... (read more)

Report this review (#9568) | Posted by | Sunday, May 16, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When a band has the guts to publish an album of improvisations must have all your attention... this is an exposure of great music through abmbient, space and mind, real raw expessions of music, a little bit studied, but very nice excecuted, i cannot see a better way to know the true feelings of a ba ... (read more)

Report this review (#9567) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 21, 2004 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of PORCUPINE TREE "Metanoia"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.