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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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AnesthetizeAnesthetize
KSCOPE 2015
Audio CD$11.69
$12.76 (used)
The IncidentThe Incident
Roadrunner Records 2009
Audio CD$11.06
$3.55 (used)
In AbsentiaIn Absentia
Lava 2002
Audio CD$5.08
$1.98 (used)
Fear Of A Blank PlanetFear Of A Blank Planet
KSCOPE 2012
Audio CD$9.12
$9.36 (used)
DeadwingDeadwing
Lava 2005
Audio CD$8.26
$6.95 (used)
Up the DownstairUp the Downstair
Import
Kscope 2009
Audio CD$10.59
$14.99 (used)
Sky Moves SidewaysSky Moves Sideways
Import
Kscope 2009
Audio CD$11.78
$10.00 (used)
Lightbulb SunLightbulb Sun
Import · Special Edition
Snapper UK 2008
Audio CD$16.24
$15.10 (used)
SignifySignify
Import · Special Edition
Kscope 2009
Audio CD$16.80
$14.71 (used)
Nil RecurringNil Recurring
Import
KSCOPE 2010
Audio CD$7.29
$10.99 (used)
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PORCUPINE TREE shows & tickets


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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 | 707 ratings
On The Sunday Of Life.....
1991
3.90 | 828 ratings
Up The Downstair
1993
4.06 | 1128 ratings
The Sky Moves Sideways
1995
3.83 | 1004 ratings
Signify
1996
3.98 | 1145 ratings
Stupid Dream
1999
4.03 | 1270 ratings
Lightbulb Sun
2000
4.24 | 2115 ratings
In Absentia
2002
4.09 | 1717 ratings
Deadwing
2005
4.24 | 2151 ratings
Fear Of A Blank Planet
2007
3.67 | 1339 ratings
The Incident
2009

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

4.45 | 400 ratings
Coma Divine
1997
3.73 | 76 ratings
Spiral Circus Live (LP)
1997
3.67 | 124 ratings
XM
2003
3.75 | 8 ratings
Live in Poland
2003
3.93 | 279 ratings
Warszawa
2004
4.04 | 125 ratings
XMII
2005
4.24 | 150 ratings
Rockpalast
2005
4.50 | 161 ratings
Arriving Somewhere...
2006
3.36 | 215 ratings
We Lost The Skyline
2008
3.67 | 112 ratings
Ilosaarirock
2009
4.26 | 175 ratings
Atlanta
2010
3.52 | 170 ratings
Octane Twisted
2012

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

4.57 | 489 ratings
Arriving Somewhere...
2006
4.67 | 493 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 | 332 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
2.94 | 47 ratings
Voyage 34 : Remixes
1993
3.26 | 56 ratings
Moonloop E.P.
1994
3.83 | 157 ratings
Staircase Infinities
1994
3.83 | 43 ratings
Waiting
1996
3.30 | 76 ratings
Insignificance (K7)
1997
4.00 | 22 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
3.21 | 51 ratings
Shesmovedon
2000
4.10 | 88 ratings
Transmission IV
2001
2.96 | 189 ratings
Metanoia
2001
3.86 | 7 ratings
Blackest Eyes
2002
4.17 | 6 ratings
The Sound Of Muzak
2002
4.17 | 6 ratings
Trains
2003
3.34 | 29 ratings
Delerium EP
2003
3.45 | 130 ratings
Futile
2003
3.56 | 109 ratings
Lazarus
2005
3.00 | 4 ratings
Shallow
2005
3.50 | 4 ratings
So Called Friend
2006
3.25 | 4 ratings
Way Out Of Here
2007
3.75 | 4 ratings
Normal
2007
3.67 | 3 ratings
Fear Of A Blank Planet (Single)
2007
3.92 | 438 ratings
Nil Recurring
2007
2.00 | 2 ratings
Novak
2008
2.66 | 60 ratings
Time Flies
2009
3.99 | 64 ratings
Transmission 10.1 - Ilosaarirock
2009
3.80 | 5 ratings
Acoustic Session Jan 2010
2010

PORCUPINE TREE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 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.

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 The Sky Moves Sideways by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.06 | 1128 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.

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 The Incident by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.67 | 1339 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.

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 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!

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 Fear Of A Blank Planet by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.24 | 2151 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!

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 Lightbulb Sun by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.03 | 1270 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.

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 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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 Stupid Dream by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.98 | 1145 ratings

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Stupid Dream
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by tomprog

3 stars I originally explored Porcupine Tree after listening to and loving Steven Wilsons solo works. This came as a surprise seen as my musical preference is symphonic prog, a different sub genre in itself. In 1998, Porcupine Tree released this album, Stupid Dream. It was their first exploration of a slightly more commercial, melodic change of sound for a band that go though phases, ending up with the current alternative 'prog' metal in the albums to come (In Absentia, FOABP).

The album kicks off with a standout track, a fantastic 7 minute ride with the name 'Even Less'. The song starts out with a slow, guitar riff led introduction, before the rest of the band kicks in playing along with the riff, immediately portraying a changed sound from the Porcupine Tree albums that came before (Signify, The Sky Moves Sideways). The song continues at a great pace and has a great chorus, however, the slower middle section I find tends to outstay it's welcome, this could have turned this song from good to brilliant. Nevertheless, this song is still highly enjoyable and a favourite among porcupine tree fans.

The next three songs, Piano Lessons, Stupid Dream (a short instrumental) and Pure Narcotic are simple, melodic songs that cause no offense, but tire with repeated listens. Pure Narcotic being the most enjoyable song here. Slave Called Shiver follows with some great bass playing from Edwin on show.

The next highlight of the album comes in the form of 'Don't Hate Me', a melancholic but strangely uplifting song that Steven Wilson intended to be a duet (which can be heard on Steven Wilsons 2016 release 4 and a half). This song comes with great lyrics and a memorable chorus.

Another 'commercial' (by porcupine tree standards) number comes in the form of 'this is no rehearsal', again pleasant the first few times but unmemorable. This is followed by the slightly disturbing 'baby dream in cellophane', that haunts in the verses but lightens up in the chorus.

'Stranger by the minute' is my personal favourite and the most memorable song on the album, a pleasant listen that improves, rather than deteriorates with further listens. The melody to this song is fantastic with great understanding between Chris Maitland on the drums and Colin Edwin on the bass, making for a great rhythm section. Steven Wilsons vocals also shine on this track with him adding in his own vocal harmonies, making for a pleasing listening experience.

Up next are two songs, A Smart Kid and Tinto Brass, neither which I have much love for. A Smart Kid starts well but never really goes anywhere musically speaking. Tinto Brass is possibly the most progressive song on the album, with its odd moments, but for me fails to be a coherent piece of work. However, the last song on the album, stop swimming, ends an album in typical Steven Wilson style (I drive the hearse, Happy Returns/ Ascendant Here on... , Feel so low etc.). It's a thoughtful song that ends the album on a high note.

Overall, not Porcupine Trees best but a distinct change in direction, featuring songs that stand up with their best. But however, there are too many fillers for this to be considered as one of their best albums.

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 Up The Downstair by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.90 | 828 ratings

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Up The Downstair
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Emiliano

5 stars I remember entering this prog-rock forum a few years ago to see which new prog-rock band could satisfy my musical needs, so after reading some reviews I got hold of this disc plus another of Riverside. The latter I only heard twice, as by that time my interest in metal-centered bands would start dwindling. Instead, I was in search for a new sound, which I found in the form of the psychedelic and spacey Up the Downstair soundscapes.

I can't even count the hours I have spent listening to the perfect progression between Siren, Small Fish, and Burning Sky, which in my opinion is the best song progression I ever heard in my life, even surpassing that of Time/The Great Gig in the Sky, which is a hell of progression that now and then plays back in my head. Gosh, I even learnt to play Small Fish with the classical guitar, an instrument with which I seldom play rock tunes.

My love for the soundscape achieved in this album is incommensurable. That trial-speech style intro leading into the powerful chord pattern of Synesthesia is one of Porcupine Tree's finest moments, only to come back in what I regard one of the finest songs of Porcupine Tree's repertoire: Dark Matter. But, let's get back to Up the Downstair. There are two versions: the original with electronic drums, and the remastered one with Gavin and Staircase Infinities as Disc 2. Let's just say that The joke is on you is a perfect match for Up the Downstair.

If you want to listen to Porcupine Tree's rawest psychedelic and space-rock version this is your album. Other albums from the pre-Gavin era don't have that ambient. For instance, "On the Sunday of Life" is playful, "The Sky Moves Sideways" shifts between tight and spaceful, "Signify" is a revolving sound-wall, "Stupid Dream" is light and sorrowful, and "Lightbulb Sun" shifts between acid and mellow. Of course, in Gavin's era Porcupine Tree would add a metal sound-palette that in spite of not being dominant until The Incident, it would provide the band with a more stable soundscape.

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 The Incident by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.67 | 1339 ratings

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The Incident
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review Nº 25

This is my first review of a Porcupine Tree album. Porcupine Tree is a British progressive rock group formed in 1987 by Steven Wilson, their mastermind, mainly composer and front man. They're one of the best and most important bands to emerge from UK in the last years. They have the guidance of the visionary Steven, who have modernised progressive rock by adding a dash of everything that's happened to music in these days since the genres heyday.

Usually, I start my reviews from a band by my favourite album, their most striking album or their debut album. In this case, I decided to start with the last musical work from the band, because when I made this review I have seen the presentation of the album in a live concert in my country. So, therefore, and after all, I had the two versions, both the studio and the live versions, very fresh in my mind. So, as you can see, I had already made this review some time ago.

'The Incident' is the tenth studio album of Porcupine Tree and was released in 2009. The recording sessions of the album have been started in February 2009, and it was released on September. 'The Incident' is a concept album based on a Wilson's idea. The original idea appeared when he was caught in a motorway traffic jam driving and he passed a road accident. Then, he thought that an accident is something so traumatic and destructive for the people involved, that he decided to make a concept album about it. Therefore, he decided to search some other type of accidents reported in the media and in the news. So, the concept of the album is about several types of accidents very different, like a car crash, a drowning in a river, or a massacre in a religious cult in Texas. Curiously, he decided to call it 'The Incident' not 'The Accident', because he considered the word 'The Incident' a more detached word.

For those who aren't familiar with my progressive biography, I need to say that I'm Portuguese and despite I was born in Lisbon, I live in a small town in the north of Portugal, Viana do Castelo, for some years. On the live tour of Porcupine Tree's 'The Incident', the band had two concerts marked to Portugal. The first was in 20.11.2009 in Lisbon and the second was in 21.11.2009 in Porto. Although I have some family in Lisbon, I live about 400 Km away, and so I decided to go to the Porto's concert with my youngest son. The distance is not far away. It's only about 75 Km away.

I only bought the album in the beginning of November, because the concert was very close to that date. I must say that I was somewhat disappointed with the first listening of the album. After their splendid previous studio album 'Fear Of A Blank Planet' released in 2007, I confess that I expected much more of this new work. So, it was with some expectation, that I waited the presentation of the album live, and above all, because, despite the group had already acted in Portugal in other occasions, for me, it would be the first time that I would see a Porcupine Tree live concert.

The concert was divided in two distinct parts. In the first part the band performed the 55 minutes 'The Incident', without interruption, and in the second part the band played tracks from some other previous studio albums. The only thing I can say is that I became astonished with the concert. Porcupine Tree is really a wonderful live band. When I returned home and I listen to the album again, I maintained my first impression. It still didn't sound to me as good. I usually prefer studio works instead live works. But in this case I confess that 'The Incident' is better performed live than listen on the studio version. The album has a much faster rhythm and is quite heavier than on its studio version. However, to make this review, I had to listen to the album another couple of times. And oddly, I must confess that the more I listen to the album, it better sounds to me. Curiously, I saw, in the same year, three other live concerts in my country. The first was in Lisbon, Dream Theater+Pendragon in June, the second was also in Lisbon the Eagles concert in July, and the third was in Porto, the Progressive Nation 2009-Dream Theater+Opeth+Bigelf+Unexpected in October. However, I must confess that the Porcupine Tree live concert was the best and my favourite of all.

Conclusion: 'The Incident' is in reality a great album, more acoustic and less heavy than the last ones. It's an album with two CD's. The first CD is an ambitious musical project with a fifty five minutes piece of music divided into fourteen separate tracks. The second CD has only four tracks. In my humble opinion, the second CD doesn't explore the same line of the first and it shows the more experimental musical side of Steve. We can say that it's a kind of a bonus CD. So, for this reason, I practically skipped it away, from my review. Certainly, 'The Incident' is the most autobiographical album by Steven, because all the songs are somehow a little bit personal. Probably, it isn't for everyone. It takes time to absorb it. Undoubtedly, we are in presence of an excellent album by one of the greatest progressive bands, which has one of the best progressive artists in our days. Probably, my fault was to have so many expectations about it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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