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PORCUPINE TREE

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Porcupine Tree biography
PORCUPINE TREE are incredibly hard to describe because their music doesn't fit into any one genre. I like the description on the back of the album "Signify" (one of my all time favorites). It says "Porcupine Tree have managed to defy genres and blend together numerous ambient, rock and avant-garde styles to create a musical landscape that is both refreshing and compulsively seductive". The great post-GONG revival which gave birth to OZRIC TENTACLES now brings us PORCUPINE TREE. The hypnotic rhythms, spacy synthesizers, glissando guitar and crazy voices which made the style successful are all contained here.

The band started as a solo project of singer-songwriter-guitarist Steve Wilson who, back in the early nineties, released a series of increasingly spaced-out ambient excursions. PT is one of the most innovative bands in prog today combining intense musicianship, unconventional composition and superb studio production. They are unquestionably one of the UK's most inspired and inventive rock groups.

The bands 4th studio album from '96. "Signify" saw Porcupine Tree truly gell as a studio band producing a blend of psychedelia, heavy rock, melancholic pop, kraut rock, and wild experimentation that brought the best out of each band member. Their latest two albums ("Stupid Dream" and "Lightbulb Sun") move the band further away from their influences and into their own catagory, by which other bands eventually will be compared. But if you are a fan of progressive, thoughtful, briliantly executed and flawlessly produced music, you will do no better than PT.

PORCUPINE TREE's eighth studio album, "Deadwing", was released in March 2005 by Lava Records / Warner Music. Less rock-oriented than the previous album "In Absentia", "Deadwing" is partially based on a "surreal ghost story" screenplay written by Steven and sometime PORCUPINE TREE / NO-MAN art collaborator Mike Bennion. The 60-minute, nine-track album contains material varying from short airplay-friendly songs such as 'Shallow' to lengthier pieces like the 10-minute-plus 'Arriving Somewhere But Not Here'. Most of the music was written by Steven but the album features the largest amount of full-band compositions since "Signify" in 1997. The album also features guest appearances by Adrian Belew (KING CRIMSON) and Mikael Åkerfeldt (OPETH).

In 2007 the band scored it's biggest chart success to date with "Fear Of A Blank Planet". Featuring contributions from Alex Lifeson and Robert Fripp...
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PORCUPINE TREE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PORCUPINE TREE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.02 | 712 ratings
On The Sunday Of Life.....
1991
3.91 | 833 ratings
Up The Downstair
1993
4.06 | 1130 ratings
The Sky Moves Sideways
1995
3.83 | 1011 ratings
Signify
1996
3.98 | 1150 ratings
Stupid Dream
1999
4.03 | 1278 ratings
Lightbulb Sun
2000
4.24 | 2134 ratings
In Absentia
2002
4.10 | 1729 ratings
Deadwing
2005
4.24 | 2165 ratings
Fear Of A Blank Planet
2007
3.67 | 1348 ratings
The Incident
2009

PORCUPINE TREE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.45 | 402 ratings
Coma Divine
1997
3.74 | 78 ratings
Spiral Circus Live (LP)
1997
3.68 | 127 ratings
XM
2003
3.67 | 9 ratings
Live in Poland
2003
3.93 | 282 ratings
Warszawa
2004
4.05 | 126 ratings
XMII
2005
4.24 | 151 ratings
Rockpalast
2005
4.50 | 165 ratings
Arriving Somewhere...
2006
3.36 | 215 ratings
We Lost The Skyline
2008
3.67 | 113 ratings
Ilosaarirock
2009
4.26 | 178 ratings
Atlanta
2010
3.53 | 172 ratings
Octane Twisted
2012

PORCUPINE TREE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.57 | 491 ratings
Arriving Somewhere...
2006
4.68 | 496 ratings
Anesthetize
2010
4.23 | 60 ratings
Octane Twisted
2012

PORCUPINE TREE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.53 | 101 ratings
Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape
1994
3.23 | 333 ratings
Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip
2000
4.18 | 333 ratings
Recordings
2001
4.22 | 228 ratings
Stars Die: The Delerium Years 1991 -1997
2002

PORCUPINE TREE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.48 | 54 ratings
Tarquin's Seaweed Farm (K7)
1989
3.26 | 44 ratings
Love, Death & Mussolini (K7)
1990
2.98 | 38 ratings
The Nostalgia Factory (K7)
1991
3.31 | 23 ratings
Radioactive E. P.
1992
3.67 | 96 ratings
Voyage 34
1992
2.89 | 46 ratings
Voyage 34 : Remixes
1993
3.25 | 57 ratings
Moonloop E.P.
1994
3.83 | 157 ratings
Staircase Infinities
1994
3.83 | 43 ratings
Waiting
1996
3.29 | 77 ratings
Insignificance (K7)
1997
3.96 | 23 ratings
Ambulance Chasers
1997
2.86 | 41 ratings
Stranger By The Minute
1999
2.84 | 43 ratings
Piano Lessons
1999
2.91 | 44 ratings
Pure Narcotic
1999
3.79 | 15 ratings
Coma Divine II
1999
3.97 | 30 ratings
Stars Die - Rare and Unreleased
1999
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Rest Will Flow
2000
3.04 | 56 ratings
4 Chords That Made A Million
2000
3.23 | 52 ratings
Shesmovedon
2000
4.09 | 90 ratings
Transmission IV
2001
2.96 | 190 ratings
Metanoia
2001
4.11 | 9 ratings
Blackest Eyes
2002
4.29 | 7 ratings
The Sound Of Muzak
2002
4.25 | 8 ratings
Trains
2003
3.38 | 30 ratings
Delerium EP
2003
3.45 | 131 ratings
Futile
2003
3.57 | 111 ratings
Lazarus
2005
3.40 | 5 ratings
Shallow
2005
3.20 | 5 ratings
So Called Friend
2006
3.25 | 4 ratings
Way Out Of Here
2007
3.80 | 5 ratings
Normal
2007
3.75 | 4 ratings
Fear Of A Blank Planet (Single)
2007
3.92 | 442 ratings
Nil Recurring
2007
2.00 | 2 ratings
Novak
2008
2.67 | 61 ratings
Time Flies
2009
3.99 | 65 ratings
Transmission 10.1 - Ilosaarirock
2009
3.83 | 6 ratings
Acoustic Session Jan 2010
2010

PORCUPINE TREE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Signify by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.83 | 1011 ratings

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Signify
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by SteveG

4 stars Signify is Porcupine Tree's somewhat disregarded stepchild in that it's a transititional album between their earlier ambient work and their more popular later alternative work. But Signify is a cohessive whole that spans space rock, Kraut rock, Floydian influences and, of course, ambient moods of a darker world (or a darker mind) as suggested by the album's disturbing cover art. And this viseral darkness could only come from the imagine of Steven Wilson.

While Wilson is still the band's primary instrumentalist, even playing some fab mellotron, bassist Colin Edwin and drummer Chris Maitland lock in the twisting groves of this sometimes twisted sounding music to great effect, while deftly dailing back the drama on the album's quieter ambient bassed tracks. It's a delicate balance that both perform well.

The hard question to answer is if prog a fan is missing something by not having Signify in their collection. I would have to say yes, as it's easy to miss much of what this music offers on just a few listens. It's one of those deeper albums that sneaks up on you and that, IMO, is why it's important to experience the music, over and over again, that's on this great album. 4 stars.

 Deadwing by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.10 | 1729 ratings

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Deadwing
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Rodrigo Andrade7

5 stars Such a beautiful album, I've heard it countless times...

Let's face it! This is one of the best modern prog albums put out to date, top music written by none other than the talented himself mr. Steven Wilson, which everyone knows, it's one of the main prog heads of this universe.

What can you ask more, when you have a album that is melancholic,dark,heavy,melodic,soothing,wonderful and calm all in one pack jammed together? Seems unreal, but its Deadwing. A brilliant album, it makes me happy that music like this exist. The creativity on this album is off the charts, which is already to be quite expected from Steven Wilson, but I think that its the greatness of making so many different records with so different characteristics from each other thats makes every single of them standout. Highlights: "Arriving somewhere but not here" is clearly, the masterpiece of the album which you should check out, but I also reccomend some heavy and fast paced songs like: "Deadwing" (amazing adrenaline to start up a album) "Shallow" and "Open car" and last but not least "Lazarus" which is the most beautiful track in the album and perhaps the most beautiful song Porcupine Tree has made. The album, is clearly more enjoyable if you listen to it as a whole, in the correct order, which is what I always do, but there goes my highlights anyway, just in case you just want a small touch of it first.

Rating: 5 stars: A masterpiece of progressive rock.

This is not hard for me to rate, as I do feel that the rating for "Deadwing" here is way lower than it really should be, any 3 or less stars reviews for this album are meaningless.

 Radioactive E. P. by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
3.31 | 23 ratings

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Radioactive E. P.
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by thwok

3 stars I am a definite fan of Porcupine Tree. However their early material, including the first couple of albums, is the least interesting to my ears. A lot of it is just too ambient, too derivative of Pink Floyd IMO. I did enjoy this RADIO ACTIVE promo. I will give it 3 stars, although it may be hard to locate. I believe most of this material ended up on the UP THE DOWNSTAIRS album. "Synesthesia" is a bland way to begin the EP, but "The Joke's On You" is great. I wouldn't call any of these among my favorite Porcupine Tree songs, but there's enough variety on this release to hold your interest for 16 minutes. As with most of what Steven Wilson has a hand in, this is mostly quality material.
 The Sky Moves Sideways by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.06 | 1130 ratings

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The Sky Moves Sideways
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams

4 stars A dramatic space rock filled with heavy, crossover elements. This grand sound theatre "The Sky Moves Sideways", released in 1995 as the third album of PORCUPINE TREE (PT), should have got apparently influenced by Pink Floyd (Waters' era), and launch space rock-based striking fantasia including repetitive dreamy melody lines mainly composed by Steven and impressive, technical plays by all of the combo and collaborators. Actually this is my first PT acquisition (after my experience in some Steven's) recommended by my prog mate Caio aka CCVP (many thanks!), that could spread my knowledge for psychedelic prog / space rock via another interpretation of a creator of genius.

Interesting is Steven's method and assumption (in a sense) for Space Rock ... his flooding musical expression strategies would have completed this sweet "The Sky Moves Sideways" suite "without any breath", inspired with some masterpieces by the Space Rock Giant. On the other hand, Steven squeezed his obvious originality seasoned with heavy but catchy parameters, that gives this album fine variation and keen modulation. Various sound essence, whether organic or inorganic, artificial or natural, is heard here and there ... pity that his musical intention is a tad too refined to bring the whole suite to a fruitful production perfectly, though.

Via some short tracks, their easygoing play (and this sounds more matured and polished) can be heard. Beautiful chord, cynical discord, and mystic improvs ... every effect notifies the audience they have eclectic intelligence (and strongly understandable for all pop / rock fans). And another premature (and impressive) item of theirs is "Moonloop", let me say, that has spacey texture and obvious systematic movement during such an improvisation-oriented loose session. This methodology might be heard via their productions I imagine ... would like to listen to other material in near future.

This album filled with novel explanation of Space Rock awoke me favourably with no doubt.

 In Absentia by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.24 | 2134 ratings

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In Absentia
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Watchmaker

5 stars With albums like this you really don't know where to start, because each song flows into each other and plays a significant role in the album. So I will give a short review for each track, since this album is obviously a five-star masterpiece.

1. Blackest Eyes: An excellent opener. As heavy as it's needed to give PT a turn of style. A true classic.

2. Trains: A favourite of mine and many fans' as well. What's not to love in this track? Everything is perfect. Definitely one of PT's finest.

3. Lips of Ashes: A nice break from the first two masterful tracks with something very atmospheric but a tiny bit forgettable. Nothing to worry about as things get only better.

4. The Sound of Muzak: One of the most popular of the bunch to date. It is the only song from the album Wilson still plays live as a solo artist and maybe that is thanks to its "catchy chorus". I don't find the solo all that mind-blowing but it is a nice touch. Also, it's the first song in which Gavin Harrison really shows his teeth.

5. Gravity Eyelids: For me THE "In Absentia" song. I don't know why but it reminds me of the cover art. An excellent piece for sure, with a nice explosion in the middle.

6. Wedding Nails: The first song I really liked from the album. I have to admit that it doesn't offer much more after the first listen, something rare for prog, but I'm always in the mood for it when it comes. A wake up call.

7. Prodigal: For a long time it used to be my favourite song in the album, before it was replaced by "Trains". Everything about it is perfect, I wouldn't change a single thing. As solid as it gets.

8. .3 : Maybe the first (and only) not-that-good song. Is it because preceding "Prodigal" is so good or is it just a little bit...so-so? Who knows, maybe I should give it a few more listens before I completely love it like the rest.

9. The Creator Has a Mastertape : Starts with a kick but drags a little too long. Always fun to listen too and the drums are fantastic.

10. Heartattack in a Layby : The first time you listen to it it's not anything special but after a few listens it shows its true beauty. And it's a very scary type of beauty. One of Wilson's favourites, if memory serves.

11. Strip the Soul : Another good track that maybe drags a little. Nice grooves but the noise at the end isn't all that welcome.

12. Collapse the Light Into Earth: Can you think of a better closer? I can't. Listen to it and you will understand why. Pure bliss...

In general one of the easiest five-star ratings I have given.

 The Incident by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.67 | 1348 ratings

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The Incident
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Porcupineapple

2 stars It is hard to write about a truly favorite band, when for the first time in your life they let you down with their new album. And whilst this is exactly what happened here, I will try to focus on the positives as well, because although my rating might seem low, they are still Porcupine tree, being miles ahead of so many other contemporary bands. Even with this mediocre album of theirs, which it is.

Ok so first of all, no listener, who read any reviews, will be fooled by the promise of the "55-minute-long song" of the first cd, which it is not. Being the string of various songs it is, cleverly (and at places less cleverly) glued together, it has its ups and downs, but rather downs, certainly being the weaker element of this double cd. Songs like the opening "Blind house" try to bring back Porcupine tree's heavier side (with limited success), whilst "Drawing the line" or "Your unpleasant family" do nothing but answer the question of why the band is currently on a hiatus. This is why. These are average pop-rock ideas struggling to seem Porcupine tree, yet failing to find their place in the band's discography, in the end just showing the sad fact that they are lacking new ideas or that chemistry between them does not work anymore. The same goes for the 12-minute-long "Time flies" also, with an important side note being that the middle part (undoubtedly inspired by Pink Floyd) is one hell of a Porcupine tree riffage. Luckily, it then gives way to songs of the same quality, bringing us the heavier part of the first cd, through a string of four heavier songs, peaking in "Circle of manias", which is one of the best they created in the metal department. And when "I drive the hearse" closes this spiral of songs as well as the cd, for the first time the listener is finally reminded what this band used to sound like. The second cd is then nothing but an EP not fitting the structure of the first cd, yet being by far the strongest part of The incident. "Bonnie the cat" stands out like a rock, being a superheavy song built up around Gavin Harrison's amazing idea of a tricky groove, but Black dahlia also gets the job done (though some might say it is a bit too simple, not expanding on its own ideas enough), let alone the closing song, again reaching back to the roots well enough to satisfy hardcore PT fans.

All in all, Gavin Harrison is still the drummer of his age, Steven Wilson still has some outstanding ideas, but the whole thing just fails to deliver, allowing me to not be mad at them for their hiatus, which is probably what they need right now. Having said that, I can only hope that Wilson's solo break will do him good, letting him return to his roots in the future, if that is what he wants, with something that is much stronger than The Incident. Until then, may they rest in piece.

 Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip  by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2000
3.23 | 333 ratings

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Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by AndyJ

4 stars Porcupine Tree's 'Voyage 34' is definitely one of the odd-balls of the PT discography. Although this is labeled as a Porcupine Tree album, it is in fact more or less entirely a Steven Wilson solo album, with assistance only on the final track with Richard Barbieri contributing some of the synthesizer moments. 'Voyage 34' is definitely a love or hate affair. Personally, I absolutely love this record and actually consider it to be one of Steven Wilsons absolute finest albums, and some of the most expressive and interesting instrumental music he has ever recorded. In fact, I'm amazed that Steven Wilson doesn't consider this album to be part of the main PT release discography - if I was him I'd be so very proud of this album, it is enthraling and, forgive the pun, such a wonderous trip for the listener.

I think the key to enjoying this album I think is two fold. Firstly, you probably need a bit of experience with ambient / experimental electronic music, and maybe even a bit of intelligent dance music (IDM). If you are a fan of early Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, The Orb and even artists such as Autechre you are much more likely to 'get' this album. The second half of the album in particular does remind me a lot of some of the spacier moments in The Orb's 'Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld' in it's ambience and soundscapes. The second key, I think, is simply to listen with an open mind. Drop any notions you might have of how Porcupine Tree should sound. In fact forget this is even a PT album, as I said in the opening paragraph I think of this more as an instrumental Steven Wilson solo album.

The first two phases of the album are more likely to appeal to the conventional prog-rock fan as they are rooted more deeply in that traditional style. There are guitar solos, bass lines and rock drumming in parts, along with spaced out ambient passages. The second two phases really are much more electronica based with little, if anything, which resembles prog-rock. One of the things I love most about progressive music (of any genre) are long insrumental sections, so to me an album like 'Voyage 34' is like heaven. There is structure in the music, but the four phases are so long and spaced out that you don't really listen to them as individual songs - they are just movements within the confines of the album.

The theme of the album is supposidly the musical representation of an LSD trip gone bad (the subject's 34th trip). Having never done acid I have no idea if this has any accuracy or not. What I do know is that I listen to this album far more than some of my other PT albums, and that 'Voyage 34' is pretty much one of my main go-to ambient / chill-out albums I like to unwind with. In terms of rating this is very much between a 4 and a 5 star rating. I'll officially give it a 4 star rating, but in truth its a 4.5 star effort.

"Is this trip really necessary?" - the answer is a resounding YES!

 Fear Of A Blank Planet by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.24 | 2165 ratings

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Fear Of A Blank Planet
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by AndyJ

5 stars Porcupine Tree's 'Fear Of A Blank Planet' is, for me, the finest PT album ever released. Absolutely everything clicks together on this album - the instrumentation, the song structures and the vocals all work brilliantly over the duration of the album to deliver Wilson's bleak vision of technological isolation and dependence on prescription drugs, as told from a young persons perspective. Perhaps I'm of the right age that this album resonates so well with me - I understand deeply many of the lyrical themes that Wilson has penned on this album, and for me that makes the music even more powerful.

Musically this isn't a huge change from the previous two PT albums - there is still the progressive metal influence found here which marks it apart from the earlier albums of the 90's. But in true Porcupine Tree style the metallic element is only part of the story - there is of course the almost obligatory spaced out ambient sections, smooth acoustic breaks, judicious use of electronic synthesizers and some good old fashioned prog rock moments.

The obvious highlight of the album is the seventeen minute opus 'Anaesthetize'. What an incredible journey this track is. Though comprised of a single track, this is really three separate tracks cleverly arranged together with interwoven lyrical themes. So in that respect it's a little bit like Genesis's 'Suppers Ready'. Individually the three musical sections are wonderful compositions, but when arranged together they really do mesh brilliantly together and tell a disturbing story that is the cornerstone of the album's concept. There is also the small matter of the sublime Alex Lifeson guitar solo during the first movement of that song - that alone is probably worth the price of the record!

Every song offers something a little bit different and I'm sure any fan of progressive music who hasn't already heard this album will definitely find plenty on offer to get enjoyment from. For me this is the best Porcupine Tree album, and, assuming the band doesn't get back together, will probably be the crowning achievement of the band, at least from my perspective. Pretty sure this is the only PT album worthy of the sacred 5-star rating - so that's what I'll give it!

 Lightbulb Sun by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.03 | 1278 ratings

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Lightbulb Sun
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by AndyJ

4 stars Porcupine Tree's sixth album, 'Lightbulb Sun', is perhaps the bands most commercial sounding and pop-oriented release, and marked a natural progression in the song writing and style from their previous album, 'Stupid Dream'. Afterwards the band would find themselves replacing some of the pop influences with metal, which ironically landed them with far more exposure than this album ever received!

In a nutshell, 'Lightbulb Sun' is simply a fantastic progressive rock album driven forward by Steven Wilson's unique take on progressive music composition. It is an album very much of two halves. The first half of the album consists of relatively short duration, softer and poppier sounding songs. In the second half of the album things get a bit more complicated in their arrangements and instrumentation, not to mention the song durations increase quite a bit! The opening track, "Lightbulb Sun" is a microcosm for the rest of the album to come - delicate vocals from Steven Wilson, pop melodies but combined with some soaring progressive guitar parts and engaging musical structures.

The band really find themselves on fire on the fourth track of the album, "Shesmovedon", which might be one of the finest vocal performances by Wilson, and the melodies and arrangements are absolute perfection. It is a haunting, beautiful, soulful and highly enjoyable piece of melancholic rock music. The other strong highlight on the album is the bass driven "Hatesong", with some sublime bass and guitar interplays throughout.

Prog rock fans will probably be drawn straight away to penultimate track on the album, the 13-minute epic, "Russia On Ice". This is definitely one of the most transformative tracks on the album, and gives a nod to the style Porcupine Tree would follow on later releases with some heavier guitar riffing towards the end of the song.

Porcupine Tree as a band have always been about evolution - their musical style has never stayed in the same place for too long, which is one of the reasons why they have remained so vital in the progressive rock community. 'Lightbulb Sun' marked the end of an era for the band as they moved into new territories with 'In Absentia'. The biggest crime in the music industry is how this band has never achieved massive world-wide success, and how albums like 'Lightbulb Sun' have remained relatively unheard of by fans of rock music.

A very solid 4-star album by one of the finest progressive rock bands out there.

 Pure Narcotic  by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1999
2.91 | 44 ratings

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Pure Narcotic
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by thwok

3 stars This PURE NARCOTIC single is primarily valuable for established fans, although the primary purpose of a single is to draw in radio listeners new to the band. Although PT puts out uniformly interesting releases, this isn't where I'd turn first. If you're on Prog Archives and you've bothered to search for this single, I'm going to assume you're probably familiar with PT.

The two tracks from STUPID DREAM are good, but not the best from the full album. I'm not a big fan of "Tinto Brass", but Steven's guitar solo is terrific. The third track, "Door to the River" from METANOIA, is nice; it's more of an ambient experiment than an actual song. If you're new to the band or STUPID DREAM, I don't think this is a particularly representative example of what the band does. I would start with a different single or EP.

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