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PORCUPINE TREE

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Porcupine Tree biography
Formed in 1987 in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire - Suspended activity since 2010

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.

⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2007 ⭐

The band started as a solo project of singer-songwriter-guitarist STEVEN 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 com...
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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)

3.03 | 845 ratings
On the Sunday of Life...
1992
3.90 | 998 ratings
Up the Downstair
1993
4.07 | 1346 ratings
The Sky Moves Sideways
1995
3.83 | 1207 ratings
Signify
1996
4.00 | 1345 ratings
Stupid Dream
1999
4.03 | 1513 ratings
Lightbulb Sun
2000
4.25 | 2542 ratings
In Absentia
2002
4.11 | 2017 ratings
Deadwing
2005
4.26 | 2577 ratings
Fear Of A Blank Planet
2007
3.67 | 1525 ratings
The Incident
2009

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

4.45 | 473 ratings
Coma Divine
1997
3.49 | 94 ratings
Spiral Circus Live (LP)
1997
3.70 | 148 ratings
XM
2003
3.53 | 19 ratings
Live in Poland
2003
3.93 | 322 ratings
Warszawa
2004
4.02 | 151 ratings
XMII
2005
4.21 | 173 ratings
Rockpalast
2005
4.47 | 219 ratings
Arriving Somewhere...
2006
3.46 | 245 ratings
We Lost The Skyline
2008
3.67 | 135 ratings
Ilosaarirock
2009
4.24 | 207 ratings
Atlanta
2010
3.60 | 219 ratings
Octane Twisted
2012
4.00 | 3 ratings
Köln 4th Dec 2007 (TV Broadcast)
2020
4.00 | 3 ratings
First Live Performance 4th Dec 1993
2020
4.08 | 4 ratings
Los Angeles (30th July 2003)
2020
3.60 | 5 ratings
Coma: Coda (Rome 1997)
2020

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

4.57 | 545 ratings
Arriving Somewhere...
2006
4.67 | 571 ratings
Anesthetize
2010
4.19 | 86 ratings
Octane Twisted
2012

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

2.60 | 127 ratings
Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape
1994
3.30 | 398 ratings
Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip
2000
4.19 | 393 ratings
Recordings
2001
4.20 | 273 ratings
Stars Die: The Delerium Years 1991 -1997
2002
3.00 | 2 ratings
Porcupine Tree Sampler 2005 - Transmission 3.1
2005
3.10 | 2 ratings
Porcupine Tree Sampler 2008 - Transmission 8.1
2008
4.67 | 6 ratings
The Delerium Years 1994 - 1997
2016
4.57 | 7 ratings
The Delerium Years 1991-1993
2017

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

3.40 | 69 ratings
Tarquin's Seaweed Farm (K7)
1989
3.19 | 56 ratings
Love, Death & Mussolini (K7)
1990
2.98 | 48 ratings
The Nostalgia Factory (K7)
1991
3.73 | 124 ratings
Voyage 34
1992
3.32 | 32 ratings
Radioactive E. P.
1992
2.92 | 60 ratings
Voyage 34 : Remixes
1993
3.31 | 73 ratings
Moonloop E.P.
1994
3.82 | 193 ratings
Staircase Infinities
1994
3.72 | 55 ratings
Waiting
1996
3.32 | 95 ratings
Insignificance (K7)
1997
4.06 | 35 ratings
Ambulance Chasers
1997
2.99 | 57 ratings
Pure Narcotic
1999
2.92 | 50 ratings
Stranger By The Minute
1999
2.91 | 52 ratings
Piano Lessons
1999
3.83 | 21 ratings
Coma Divine II
1999
4.05 | 38 ratings
Stars Die - Rare and Unreleased
1999
3.56 | 9 ratings
The Rest Will Flow
2000
3.10 | 68 ratings
4 Chords That Made A Million
2000
3.24 | 63 ratings
Shesmovedon
2000
4.00 | 114 ratings
Transmission IV
2001
2.97 | 229 ratings
Metanoia
2001
4.40 | 20 ratings
Blackest Eyes
2002
4.35 | 17 ratings
The Sound Of Muzak
2002
4.61 | 18 ratings
Trains
2003
3.58 | 36 ratings
Delerium EP
2003
3.75 | 4 ratings
Men of Wood
2004
3.61 | 127 ratings
Lazarus
2005
3.80 | 15 ratings
Shallow
2005
3.71 | 14 ratings
So Called Friend
2006
3.48 | 156 ratings
Futile
2006
4.08 | 12 ratings
Way Out Of Here
2007
4.00 | 13 ratings
Normal
2007
3.92 | 12 ratings
Fear Of A Blank Planet (Single)
2007
3.96 | 491 ratings
Nil Recurring
2007
3.06 | 8 ratings
Novak
2008
3.96 | 71 ratings
Transmission 10.1 - Ilosaarirock
2009
2.73 | 67 ratings
Time Flies
2009
3.67 | 9 ratings
Acoustic Session Jan 2010
2010
4.00 | 4 ratings
Pure Narcotic - Acoustic Session 2012
2020
3.50 | 2 ratings
BBC Session 13th April 2007
2020

PORCUPINE TREE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Incident by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.67 | 1525 ratings

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The Incident
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by iluvmarillion

3 stars Fear of a Blank Planet represents Porcupine Tree at their peak. Steven Wilson's favorite themes of sensory overload, social alienation and influence of mass media are given free rein, especially in the brutal 17-minute piece, Anesthetize, which takes the name of the Atlanta concert in the promotional tour of the album, the band's best ever concert.

Where do you go from here?

Porcupine Tree's next studio album features their 55-minute musical suite, The Incident" and a bonus EP disc of four songs. There really are only three memorable numbers in the 55-minute suite, "The Blind House", "The Incident" and "Time Flies". "The Blind House" is a typical pop flavored Steven Wilson song with a blistering start, a catchy guitar melody and slow fade out. "The Incident" is a deeper harder fleshed out Porcupine Tree piece. Its concept is of being stuck in a traffic jam at the scene of an accident where someone has died and experiencing a surreal episode of imagining the dead spirit of the person entering into the car and sitting next to you. "Time Flies" is the uplifting piece in the suite and the longest, totaling eleven minutes in length. It is autobiographical and the most progressive with changes of pace and time and liberally quotes from David Gilmour's rhythm guitar section from the Pink Floyd classic, "Dogs" from the Animals album. Quoting is a legitimate form of musical expression from an improvisational artist like Steven Wilson who is tracing the steps of his musical influences growing up, but understandingly may grate with some listeners who want to compare it with Pink Floyd.

The remainder of the 55-minute suite is Steven Wilson doodling, while the remaining members of the band work on their resumes for their post Porcupine Tree careers.

As a parting gift for Porcupine Tree fans, Porcupine Tree have released a bonus disc of four pretty, decent songs on a second CD. "Bonnie The Cat" is the best piece here and may in fact be the best song off the entire album. The fear is you may struggle to get through the first CD and then choose to ignore the bonus songs, which are all good.

The Incident isn't the masterpiece fans of Porcupine Tree might have hoped for from the band's last album, but who's complaining when you have a repertoire as good as In Absentia, Deadwing and Fear Of A Blank Planet?

 Stupid Dream by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.00 | 1345 ratings

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Stupid Dream
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 367

'Stupid Dream' is the fifth studio album of Porcupine Tree and was released in 1999. This album and their next sixth studio album 'Lightbulb Sun', which was released in 2000, represented a transitory musical period for the group. After those both albums, Porcupine Tree moved away from their earlier musical works, more in the vein of instrumental and psychedelic music, to a more metal and heavy musical direction what can be seen on their next studio albums. That can be particularly noted on their ninth studio album 'Fear Of A Blank Planet'. 'Stupid Dream' takes a more commercial and accessible approach to pop rock sound while still maintaining the heavy progressive rock musical influences.

The album's title refers Steven Wilson's view of today's music industry. While many artists aspire to be a musician for fame and glamorous lifestyle, he feels that it's a stupid dream because, in reality, it leads to a real life of hard work and struggle. If a modern musician wants to survive as a musician he has to learn and to deal with the need to sell his music and his art, which is a very difficult thing to do nowadays. And I'm sure that Wilson knows perfectly well what he says.

The line up on the album is Steven Wilson (vocals, guitars, piano, samples and bass), Richard Barbieri (analogue synthesizers, Hammond organ, mellotron and piano), Colin Edwin (bass guitar and double bass), Chris Maitland (backing vocals, drums and percussion) and Theo Travis (flute and saxophone). Strings by East of England Orchestra.

'Stupid Dream' has twelve tracks. All songs were written by Steven Wilson, except 'Tinto Brass' which was written by all four band's members. The first track 'Even Less' is an incredible track highly progressive, psychedelic, harder and a bit more atmospheric than the typical band's tracks. The keyboards and synthesizers add a nice and rich musical atmosphere to the chorus and it has also a good guitar solo at the end. The second track 'Piano Lessons' is another incredible track with relaxing guitar tones and parts, atmospheric and psychedelic choruses, and layered vocals work wonders for another one of the album's best songs. The third track is the title track 'Stupid Dream'. This is just a little mood piece of music of 28 seconds long with a tuning orchestra and some sound effects. The fourth track 'Pure Narcotic' is the second single from the album before 'Piano Lessons' which was the first single. This track features acoustic guitars, close harmony vocals, glockenspiel, pastoral piano and wonderful lyrics. The fifth track 'Slave Called Shiver' is a song with funky musical influences which is particularly noticed by the bass and the percussion that open the album complemented by the repetitive piano work. A fantastic vocal work and atmospheric background music can be heard before the electric guitar work that introduces the heavier musical section. The sixth track 'Don't Hate Me' is a more melancholic song with gentle vocals and a fantastic keyboard work. It has also solemn soundscapes and relaxed noises and it features the first use of a saxophone in the music of Porcupine Tree. The seventh track 'This Is No Rehearsal' is a song with great musical atmosphere and the guitar solo is excellent in the middle of the song. The song changes tempo, rhythms and dynamics very quickly, although kind of giving the song a kind of disorder. The eighth track 'Baby Dream In Cellophane' is a song with distorted vocals over acoustic guitar chords and spacey slide guitar. This short psychedelic track sounds a lot like an earlier Pink Floyd's music. The ninth track 'Stranger By The Minute' became the third single of the album. This is one of the most psychedelic tracks on the album with its guitar riffs in the background, the flowing layered vocals and the acoustic guitar rhythm behind the electric guitars. The tenth track 'A Smart Kid' is a song with lyrics that deals with a sole survivor after a nuclear or chemical war. Musically, this song features amazing atmospheric sounds, which really give an image of desolation and destruction. The eleventh track 'Tinto Brass' is the only band musical composition on the album. It was inspired by the Italian director Tinto Brass and starts out with some Japanese spoken text that musically has a funky space tune that turns into a metal extravaganza. The twelfth and last track 'Stop Swimming' is another excellent track with sadness and despair present in both, music and lyrics. Steven once said that this is one of his favourite compositions. This is a perfect way to close this album.

Conclusion: 'Stupid Dream' is a great album and is definitely a must have for any progressive rock fan. The album's variety, emotion, soundscapes, atmospherics and experimental parts work together perfectly well all over the album. With this album, Steven hasn't lost his Floydian musical influences, but on the album, it's a different era of Pink Floyd's development that can be recognized. For instance 'Baby Dream In Cellophane' features effects that clearly resemble the middle piece of 'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun' of Floyd. Concluding, 'Stupid Dream' is an excellent psychedelic progressive rock album that features some of Porcupine Tree's best works. It's another solid chapter in the discography of the band. It also explains why Porcupine Tree is recognized as one of the best prog bands of our times.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Signify by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.83 | 1207 ratings

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Signify
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Mark-P

3 stars Quite different compared to the first 3 albums which are strongly psychedelic, this fourth Porcupine Tree's album is lighter in compositions. The guitar sound is heavier (which I like it better) and to me it is like a transition of the sound of early PT to the later albums.

These are tracks that to me make the good part of the album:

'Signify' is an instrumental track, with a firm guitar riff as intro and nice solo in the middle to end part. This is one of the best PT sound to me.

'Waiting Phase One' is a nice song with several phrases of melodic guitar works. 'Waiting Phase Two' has more soundscapes, mainly guitar, percussion and synthesizers. Both tracks are enjoyable, but not too much progressive elements.

'Sever' is another pretty song, with a nice hook in the chorus. I enjoy the combination of psychedelic in the intro and easier part in the chorus and ending. The phrase 'Coma Divine' that is used for their 1997 live album, appears in the lyrics of this song.

'Idiot Prayer' is kind of blend of techno-pop and soundscape, with a catchy guitar solo. After hearing some of PT albums, this kind of jamming is perhaps becoming one of PT signatures.

'Dark Matter' perhaps has the best composition in this album. It flows beautifully from a calm intro, vocal section and gets a bit heavier sound and faster pace in the guitar solo section.

Each of the other tracks indeed has its own unique sound, but to me most of the soundscapes are lack of theme and progressive elements. Anyway, I like the PT sound better that the previous albums, particularly the heavier guitar sound, and also because of less techno element. Peace.

 The Sky Moves Sideways by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.07 | 1346 ratings

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The Sky Moves Sideways
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Mark-P

3 stars Third album by Porcupine Tree, released 1995. This album is very rich in timbre and has many mood changes.

I do agree to other critics that the influence of Pink Floyd in this album is profound. While many think that some phrases in the first track 'The Sky Moves Sideways ' Phase 1' resembles 'Wish You Were Here', it reminds me also to 'The Wall'. This opening track lasts 18:36, with long intro that I personally think is not too much memorable. There is strong techno pop feel in the middle of the song, but okay - while I usually do not like the techno pop influence in the progressive music, I could tolerate as it goes surprisingly well (particularly in the part with Medieval sound).

The final track 'The Sky Moves Sideways ' Phase 2' is also a long (almost 17 minutes) composition, densely packed with synthesizer and guitar works. This composition is very well structured and much more aggressive than Phase-1. This is my favorite part of the album.

'Moonloop' is a long track (17 minutes), but to me the earlier parts (say first 10 minutes) is kind of guitar improvisation with too slow pace. I do like the last 7 minutes of the track, which has increasingly faster pace and heavy guitar riff.

A lot of great guitar works in this album. Steven Wilson is really masterful in creating a guitar sound that fits well to each of the song mood. 'Dislocated Day' has a firm and melodic riffs with heavy sound. 'The Moon Touches Your Shoulder' has a great passionate solo that once again reminds me to David Gilmour. 'Prepare Yourself' is a short piece of guitar playing, clean arpeggio sound accompanying a unique sound of electric guitar solo.

This album maintains psychedelic sound of PT since their first album, but the sound is much more sophisticated and enjoyable. Another key album to enjoy the musical journey of Porcupine Tree.

 On the Sunday of Life... by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.03 | 845 ratings

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On the Sunday of Life...
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Mark-P

3 stars This is the debut album of Porcupine Tree, released in 1991. The early sound of PT in this album is pretty much psychedelic and trippy, especially in tracks that are more likely ambient pieces. Quite difficult to digest, and I feel a strong techno-pop elements scattered around the tracks. The wind section (mainly oboe) enriches the timbre and goes unexpectedly well with the psychedelic ambience.

Among my personal interests of this album is great guitar works by Steven Wilson. 'Nostalgia Factory' features great riffs and beautiful playing of wah pedal. 'Radioactive Toy' has a solid progressive rock taste. The guitar riff and the solo sections in the second half of the song are wonderful and makes this song one of highlights in PT catalog.

'Nine Cats' is a ballad song, with nice solo and acoustics guitar work. 'Begonia Seduction Scene' has acoustics arpeggios that reminds me to Greg Lake's guitar on 'The Sage'. 'Footprints' has a strange but beautiful riffs, its dissonant tone and ambience remind me to The Door's 'The End'.

'Music for the Head' and 'On The Sunday of Life' are great short tracks. It features many glissando guitar as one of PT signature. The sound of oboe brightens a bit.

While many of PT fans would vote for 'Radioactive Toy' as the best track, I choose 'It Will Rain for A Million Years' as my favorite. It has a good and complex structure as we expected from a progressive composition. This song is mostly instrumental (with a few lines of spoken lyrics). SW guitar work is really wonderful and passionate. Again, the wind section fits beautifully in this composition.

Some elements in this album that do not really fit to my taste are the over-distorted sound of SW vocal particularly in 'Linton Samuel Dawson' ; and too much techno pop feel in some tracks.

Overall I consider this as a good album, and I am glad to have this record to get to know better the journey of PT up to the sound of later albums that I adore.

 Deadwing by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.11 | 2017 ratings

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Deadwing
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by PinkyFloydMan

3 stars this1. Deadwing : Rating 2.5/5 (Its different, really like the build up at the beginning and the end and not that fond of how the song progresses in the middle, forgettable there but likeable. great guitar work, song writing in this song is not my taste. very sinsister sounding which i really like.)

2. Shallow : Rating 2.5/5 (Worse then the previous song, not really structured which is not my taste, very heavy guitar parts that I dont like at all, the singing is subpar as of the writing but passable. really more towards people that like heavy guitar solos.)

3. Lazarus : Rating 4.5/5 (Excellent build up of instruments with the acoustic guitar and piano playing in sync, the singing is amazing and the song writing is such a beautiful thing to listen too as it has a very relateable meaning to me, very somber and catchy lyrics. the drums really transitions the song perfectly. excellent song which I think this is what porcupine tree should be like. they nail songs like this.)

4. Halo : Rating 2/5 (most disliked song of this album, the song writing of this is talking about god which isn't my taste at all, very drum heavy and lyrics aren't that good. very cringy and emo. not my particular taste at all. all over the place in structure.)

5. Arriving Somewhere But Not Here : Rating 5/5 (Now, this is probably my favourite song out of all porcupine tree songs, it's such an excellent build up with so much atmosphere around it, it gives me chills down my spine throughout the whole song, the song writing is excellent and the way they used the heavy metal guitar in there is a perfect way to build it back up right into its main parts. I love this song, something special to listen too. anyone wanting to get the best experience of PT, listen to this, strongly recommended)

6. Mellotron Scratch : Rating 4/5 (this is a excellent song, really great work with the mellotron which is right in the title, "mellotron scratch" lyrics are very somber and have decent meaning, excellent build ups and down lows that keep it going. very catchy and gives me chills. very chaotic ending to this song which resolves into a chilling tone with the guitar and the singing is in harmony.)

7. Open Car : Rating 2.5/5 (I can't really get into this song, it's very weird and not something that I like much. very heavy guitar sections and the singing isn't really good, the only reason this song isn't the worst is the harmony parts in this song, they are alright but forgetable.)

8. Start of Something Beautiful : Rating 3.5/5 (this song here is pretty good, good lyrics, good build ups and better use of instruments throughout. it is the start of something beautiful which it becomes beautiful at the end of this song with simple piano playing with the mellotron. kind of hoped for something of a punch with this song but still, good overall. I might like it more the more times I listen to it.)

9. Glass Arm Shattering : Rating 4/5 (what we have for the ending of this album is where I looked for in "Start of Something Beautiful" that punch in the lyrics which it drives that point, Excellent works with the guitar and drums playing. the singing is very good with how it centers it's focus throughout the song, giving that punch. good way to end the album.)

Overall Rating : 3.4/5 Beginning of this album for me was a alright start with some glympises of great works like lazarus and dead wing but songs like shallow, open car, halo, and some of deadwing really destroyed some of what the album was going for which I didn't like at all, as you look at the end of their album, "start of something beautiful", "glass arm shattering","mellotron scratch" and "arriving somewhere but not here" are great pieces of work towards the end which saved this album entirely from it not being medicore album at best. I would recommend listening to its best songs then listening to the album fully but then again, i'm biased towards the heavy metal parts as im really picky on how heavy metal solos are good or bad. this album might be rated higher for people that like heavy metal solos.

Highlights *Glass arm shattering *Arriving somewhere but not here *Lazarus

Not recommended *halo *shallow *open car

 Signify by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.83 | 1207 ratings

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Signify
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Porcupine Tree's fourth official full length album, "Signify" released in 1996, proved to be a game-changer for the band. First of all, it was the first full album in which the entire band performed throughout. Previous to this, Steven Wilson was pretty much in charge of everything with occasional help from different people. Their previous album "The Sky Moves Sideways" did present the full band, however, parts of it were still all Wilson. Now, at last, the quartet of Wilson, Richard Barbieri, Colin Edwin and Chris Maitland were together as a full band for the entire album.

The second thing that made this album different from the previous ones, is that the project was moving away from the psychedelic stylings that were dominating their music and shifting more towards a traditional rock sound with a lot of progressive sensibilities thrown in. The psychedelic aspect wouldn't go away completely yet, but the tracks were getting shorter on the average, and more standard. However, the tone for the music was moving into darker places, and hints of the heavier sound of a later phase of the band were already beginning to appear in the music.

By the time Wilson's project was getting ready for the 2nd full length album, he had already had some experience in his other projects ("No-man" and "Bass Communion", not to mention the EPs and demo tapes he produced), and he had pretty much perfected his psychedelic rock sound when "Lightbulb Sun" was released, and then the excellent "The Sky Moves Sideways". Now, with "Signify" defining a change in the overall sound and with playing with other musicians, there was obviously some acclimatizing that had to be done in order to get back the that perfect sound again. Even though "Signify" ended up netting itself into a decent album, it wouldn't quite make it up to the standard of excellence set by its immediate predecessors.

The album starts off with "Bornlivedie", which wouldn't really surprise many listeners as it mostly consists of atmopsherics and spoken word recordings to introduce the title track coming up next. "Signify" is a definite heavy rocker, instrumental, and there to make a sudden statement. The riff immediately catches your attention and it seems the band is there to kick some butt. However, I'm not sure what possessed them to follow that up with a more average sounding track "The Sleep of No Dreaming", which even after many, many listenings, it still has a hard time cementing itself into my memory. It's a good enough track, but doesn't really have a needed hook to follow up the rousing "Signify". After that, another short, atmospheric, intermediary track "Pagan" slips by without much notice.

Never fear, though. This is followed with the excellent one-two punch of "Waiting" Phase One and Phase Two. The first phase carries the main theme and song while the second phase works off of the band's previous strengths of improvised sound with psychedelic leanings. It also introduces the band's signature harmonization sound which fans would begin to take for granted as their sound became more familiar. Both phases are very strong and restores your faith in the band for its strong cohesive playing and songwriting skills. The album then continues with the effective "Sever" which has strong, intense verses and mellower and harmonic choruses. Field recordings are peppered throughout the track to add to the intensity when needed, yet the flow from intense to mellow is smooth and very professional sounding.

It's also obvious that there are a lot less instrumentals on this album than on previous albums. "Idiot Prayer" is only the 2nd instrumental up to this point, at least in a full song. Following in the same formula as some of their longer instrumental tracks, this one begins soft and atmospheric, soft percussive noises, warm swashes of flute, and atmospheric guitar. This builds slowly in intensity, and then really starts to roll when the drums and bass kick in, backed by synth foundations and building guitar, and looped and processed spoken words. This builds against the ramblings of what seems to be a preacher with an unholy crescendo, then backs off to an atmospheric middle section that borrows from the lovely sounds of "The Sky Moves Sideways" with the Gilmour-like guitar effects. The loud section returns again abruptly and finishes the track off.

"Every Home is Wired" goes for a more acoustic sound with Wilson's vocals on the verses and then layered vocals on the choruses with some great sonic effects. The melody is very nice and intriguing, plus the harmonics are once again spot on. The real psychedelic, meandering sound comes back with the track "Intermediate Jesus", but the track just kind of flows along without developing into anything. It's nice, but not up to par to previous material. Again, there is some rambling spoken words from what sounds like a preacher. "Light Mass Prayers" continues in this vein using more synthesizers this time, staying with a dark ambience as they fade in and out. This track is an obvious Barbieri-style track which follows the same style as his solo efforts.

The last track on the CD is "Dark Matter". This track brings back the new direction of the band with dark vocals and harmonics. Wilson was still sort of finding his feet with lyrics, and the weakness shows in this track, however, the strong instrumentals in the track make up for this and overall, it ends up giving the album a powerful ending. The vinyl edition also contained one more track "The Sound of No-one Listening". This track was actually used on the CD edition of the "Waiting" single that was released previous to the album. It is an instrumental, albeit one of the stronger ones from the sessions for this album.

Later editions of this album came with a 2nd disc that were outtakes and demo versions from the sessions. The 2nd disc was mostly material taken from the cassette "Insignificance" with a different track listing and a few other track changes. Many think that the 2nd disc is the same as the EP, but it's not quite the same as the EP had the tracks "Door to the River" and "Insignificance" where the disc that came with the reissue had the track "Dark Origins" which is actually the demo version of "Dark Matter"

One of the strengths with Porcupine Tree's sounds is their use of dynamics. Sure, they are not the loudest band out there, however, their use of a mix of mellower passages make the intense sections even more powerful than some progressive metal bands that haven't learned how to use dynamic effectively yet and only strive to make things as loud as possible, thus making their music less powerful. Thank goodness PT found a better way to make powerful music, dark and dynamic, sometimes brooding and other times intense and heavy. This album starts to show off that strength along with beautiful harmonies that were unique to the band also. But it hasn't quite perfected them yet and there are weak points in the album that tend to bring its overall score down. It would be a while, but each album would eventually bring the band back to its high standard of excellence.

 The Sky Moves Sideways by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.07 | 1346 ratings

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The Sky Moves Sideways
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by alainPP

5 stars one of THE major albums of PORCUPINE TREE! A concept album well narrated and dissected on previous posts, an album so where I'll just tell you some anecdotes to listen to him. 1: during the first listening, amazement (remember ingesting the time of course) to finally have conventional prog with soaring tablecloths, to also have hushed atmospheres that followed each other perfectly, to the point of making them finally a two-title 30-minute each. 2: on a night when the children were small, the pleasure of listening to this album on headphones and discovering sounds not yet recognized in theaters; strange, twirling, spatial sounds that gave the desire to listen again at the end of the album, and to prevent in fact to rest as everyone should do after a day of toil. 3: the pleasure of mixing these two sensations and seeking to create one's own audio room, in order to transcribe as faithfully as possible the sounds heard on the headphones in a suitable room; the beginning of purchases to have at home the sound PORCUPINE TREE.
 Anesthetize by PORCUPINE TREE album cover DVD/Video, 2010
4.67 | 571 ratings

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Anesthetize
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by MaxnEmmy

5 stars One of the best live rock concerts in the last decade. This captured the band during their "Fear of a Blank Planet" tour in 2010 and was the last great PT album from the creative mind of Steven Wilson. After this album they released "The Incident" which was not well received by the public and Steven broke up the band. I think he felt the band had run its course and he wanted to work with other musicians. He has now had a 10 year career as a solo artist, and I don't think Porcupine Tree will ever reunite. He wants players that like jazz and PT was a rock outfit. His solo albums are good but there is something special in the porcupine tree catalog that he has not been a able to replicate with his current bands. PT produced an anesthetic which was melancholy yet blissful. The band had a message and it resonated with people from the 90's to the 2000's. I saw them in concert several times in NYC at the theater in Times Square and it was phenomenal music. They actually sounded better live than on record (or the studio). I never heard a band so tight and well equipped to deliver. One of the best concerts they gave was in the late 2000's which they had Kings X open for them. Mind blowing. If you remember the glory days, you are blessed.
 The Sky Moves Sideways by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.07 | 1346 ratings

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The Sky Moves Sideways
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars 'The Sky Moves Sideways' is Porcupine Tree's 3rd official full length studio album, even though Steven Wilson and (later) his band had released several EPs and such during this time. After some success with his past PT albums, Wilson decided it was time to take the band on the road, but to do this, he would have to put together a full-time band. So, he recruited Richard Barbieri, Colin Edwin and Chris Maitland to be part of this band that was originally put together as a joke.

Before working on their next album, they tested the waters by releasing a single of a non-album song called 'Stars Die' with the b-side being 'Moonloop', which was taken from an over 40 minute long improvisation edited down to just over 18 minutes. (In December of 2001, the full 40-minute unedited version 'Moonloop' would be made available on CD and vinyl.) They also releasing a limited vinyl 'Spiral Circus' which was a live album of the first performances of the newly formed band. Right after this, 'The Sky Moves Sideways' was released.

Originally, TSMS was supposed to be a single track, a 50 minute epic work of the title track. This version of that track was never finished, but instead, was broken up into 2 parts that started and ended the album (in the same mode as Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here' album) with shorter tracks separating the two parts. This was to be the first full album to be released in the US. Because of issues with timing on vinyl, there are some major differences on the two original releases of this album.

The CD would have 6 tracks in this order: 'The Sky Moves Sideways (Phase One)', 'Dislocated Day', 'The Moon Touches Your Shoulder', 'Prepare Yourself', 'Moonloop' with a timing of 17:04, and 'The Sky Moves Sideways (Phase Two)'.

The vinyl on the other hand, began and ended the same way as the CD, but the track listing named out sections of both Phase One and Two of the title track. Phase One was tracked as 'The Colour of Air', 'I Find That I'm Not There', 'Wire the Drum', and 'Spiral Circus'. This first phase was followed by 'Stars Die', 'Moonloop' with an further-edited timing of 8:10, 'Dislocated Day', The Moon Touches Your Shoulder', and then Phase Two of the title track broken up into two sections named 'Is'Not' and 'Off the Map'.

It wasn't until November of 2003. after interest in PT really exploded, that this album was released in an expanded 2CD edition, which has the track listing shown here in the Archives. The track sequence on the 1st CD is the same as the original CD except for 'Moonloop' which has been moved to the 2nd CD. Both 'Dislocated Day' and 'The Moon Touches Your Shoulder' have been remixed to include overdubs done by Gavin Harrison, who replaced Maitland. The 2nd CD contains an alternative mix of 'The Sky Moves Sideways', this time in on full track, not divided into two phases. This mix is more of a 'work-in-progress' mix that was recorded when the track was meant to last over 50 minutes, but since that long version was never finished, it is only 35 minutes and has some material that was cut from the original album version. After this is the track 'Stars Die' (left off of the original CD). Moonloop is then divided up into two tracks, 'Moonloop (Improvisation)' which has a duration of over 16 minutes and 'Moonloop (Coda)' which is almost 5 minutes, and which also contains what most people consider the best part of the 'Moonloop' track.

To make things even more confusing, in 2004, a remastered 3 disc vinyl edition was released, which has a slightly different track line-up from the 2CD set. The Alternate version of the title track is divided between sides 5 and 6. There is also a bonus 7' single included which contains two versions of the non-album track 'Men of Wood', one side is a 1994 mix and the other side is a 2000 mix. This song was originally recorded during the original album sessions.

Looking at the structure of the 2 CD track listing, the album opens up, as it should, with the first phase of 'The Sky Moves Sideways', which, whether it is divided up into two phases or complete, is the absolute best long-form, space rock style track the band did in their early years. The lead parts on this track are improvised, but the sections and moods it travels through are all structured, and that keeps the entire thing much more engaging and dynamic. It is absolutely beautiful, being the most similar to the atmospheric sounds of Pink Floyd than anything else they did as a whole. It begins with the lovely layers of keys and guitars, slowly floating along with lush and full textures that will capture you right away. It's not until far into the 4th minute before the vocals begin, and this lushness continues through the verses. When the vocal section ends at nine minutes, the music switches gears and moves faster and heavier, even approaching the heaviness of later albums at times, but then later taking on the Arabic vibe as the rhythm ticks along, then explodes back into life again. This track is much more than just a meandering and aimless improvisation, it has an almost structured feel to it where the background is dynamic and often changing while the guitar, synth , flutes and other instruments are driving the changes, and all the way through there are excellent and memorable riffs that will stay with you long after it is over. At 16 minutes, the music turns more pensive and atmospheric with some lovely acoustic guitar moving along with the shimmering keys and echoing electric guitar.

It wasn't my plan to describe the tracks in so much detail for this review, but I can't help it as I listen to this masterpiece, and the first phase just engages you all the way through. Absolutely beautiful! We now move into the next three, shorter format tracks that divide the two phases of the title track. First there is 'Dislocated Day' which begins with a dial tone and the band suddenly comes in while Wilson sings with a manipulated vocal. This one is a nice heavy and dark track with an exciting extended guitar riff which hits with a solid punch. 'The Moon Touches Your Shoulder' on the other hand, is more of a pensive ballad style with nice acoustic guitar chords surrounded by lush keys and Wilson's airy vocals. Things get more intense in the 2nd half of the track as layers of sound usher in a rousing guitar pattern that suddenly quiets down and leads into 'Prepare Yourself' which is a short instrumental that features the wailing guitar and a soft background. It builds up for the next track.

The first CD ends with Phase 2 of the title track, a continuation of the masterful journey. The build up takes its sweet time this time around as atmospheric synths and effects are influenced by short dramatic drum rolls. A screeching synth brings in a soft guitar to help calm it down. After 4 minutes, the bass starts a thumping beat and then suddenly the band comes to life again with a solid progressive motif that once again will get your blood boiling as it generates excitement and a bit of dread, but things calm as female wordless vocals sing and then an amazing guitar solo brings things up to another level just when you think it couldn't get any better. I'm telling you, Wilson knows how to make a guitar emote. At 8 minutes, the motif returns, things smooth out, and then tension builds and builds as a miasma of sounds whirl around, finally breaking down and resolving after 10 minutes. Shimmering and mysterious effects continue for several minutes before a sudden move into more guitar soloing, improvising off of the original vocal melody from the first phase. At fifteen minutes, the track ends on water effects, a sinister bass against atmospheric wails and sounds. The sky has moved, yet there is the feeling that things are not quite right. This masterpiece just attests to the brilliance of Porcupine Tree, and shows them at their creative best. How could anyone not love this?

The second CD begins with the alternate version of the title track, this time in its entirety at 34 minutes. It is pretty close to the same version as the finished version, but also adds some parts that were taken out of the original. With a track this gorgeous, I don't think anyone will argue with having a different version, and there really is no need to break it down as far as the differences. Just listen. After that, is what was previously the non-album track 'Stars Die' which is one of PT's most sensitive and emotional ballads. It fits in well with the album. The b-side to that single, the edited improvisation 'Moonloop' comes next at over 16 minutes. This long track is much less structured than the title track, so don't expect it to pack the emotional wallop and dynamic that the title track does. It's more like a long space rock jam, with very subtle changes during its long play time, though it is still a great track especially of interest to PT fans that haven't heard it. The interesting thing is that the 'Coda' section of this track is listed as a separate track, and that is for a good reason. For those listeners that want to skip the long meandering improvisational section of the track can easily do so, and move right to the best part, which is the strong and powerful guitar ending. Somehow, though, I feel listening to the entire 'Moonloop' edit makes the ending even more powerful. But you can easily decide how to listen to it, the entire album is still a masterpiece.

This is one of the best ways to experience the earlier works of the band, especially as they are presenting themselves as a full band for the first time in a full album. I highly recommend this album to those that have already had an introduction to the band through either 'In Absentia' or 'Deadwing' as it shows a completely different side of the band at their best. The sound is a lot different from those albums, but when you listen closely, it really isn't that much different, just more exploratory. 'The Sky Moves Sideways' is their best epic work in their early discography and is fully deserving of 5 stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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