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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 2005 ⭐

⭐ 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 lik...
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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 | 969 ratings
On the Sunday of Life...
1992
3.88 | 1130 ratings
Up the Downstair
1993
4.07 | 1509 ratings
The Sky Moves Sideways
1995
3.85 | 1361 ratings
Signify
1996
4.00 | 1512 ratings
Stupid Dream
1999
4.03 | 1699 ratings
Lightbulb Sun
2000
4.26 | 2772 ratings
In Absentia
2002
4.13 | 2225 ratings
Deadwing
2005
4.28 | 2824 ratings
Fear of a Blank Planet
2007
3.68 | 1678 ratings
The Incident
2009
3.88 | 374 ratings
Closure/Continuation
2022

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

4.45 | 509 ratings
Coma Divine
1997
3.53 | 101 ratings
Spiral Circus Live (LP)
1997
3.73 | 167 ratings
XM
2003
3.43 | 23 ratings
Live in Poland
2003
3.95 | 345 ratings
Warszawa
2004
4.04 | 166 ratings
XMII
2005
4.20 | 185 ratings
Rockpalast
2005
4.45 | 258 ratings
Arriving Somewhere...
2006
3.49 | 263 ratings
We Lost The Skyline
2008
3.71 | 146 ratings
Ilosaarirock
2009
4.45 | 229 ratings
Atlanta
2010
3.66 | 255 ratings
Octane Twisted
2012
3.60 | 5 ratings
Köln 4th Dec 2007 (TV Broadcast)
2020
3.43 | 7 ratings
First Live Performance 4th Dec 1993
2020
3.86 | 7 ratings
Los Angeles (30th July 2003)
2020
3.58 | 12 ratings
Coma: Coda (Rome 1997)
2020

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

4.57 | 579 ratings
Arriving Somewhere...
2006
4.66 | 620 ratings
Anesthetize
2010
4.20 | 106 ratings
Octane Twisted
2012
4.82 | 22 ratings
Closure / Continuation.Live
2023

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

2.79 | 147 ratings
Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape
1994
3.33 | 449 ratings
Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip
2000
4.19 | 437 ratings
Recordings
2001
4.19 | 306 ratings
Stars Die: The Delerium Years 1991 - 1997
2002
2.91 | 4 ratings
Porcupine Tree Sampler 2005 - Transmission 3.1
2005
3.00 | 5 ratings
Porcupine Tree Sampler 2008 - Transmission 8.1
2008
4.45 | 11 ratings
The Delerium Years 1994 - 1997
2016
4.43 | 14 ratings
The Delerium Years 1991-1993
2017
3.93 | 24 ratings
The Sound of No One Listening (2020 Remaster)
2020

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

3.19 | 75 ratings
Tarquin's Seaweed Farm
1989
3.13 | 59 ratings
Love, Death & Mussolini
1990
2.98 | 53 ratings
The Nostalgia Factory
1991
3.74 | 136 ratings
Voyage 34
1992
3.29 | 33 ratings
Radioactive E. P.
1992
2.94 | 65 ratings
Voyage 34 : Remixes
1993
3.36 | 82 ratings
Moonloop E.P.
1994
3.81 | 221 ratings
Staircase Infinities
1994
3.72 | 59 ratings
Waiting
1996
3.36 | 107 ratings
Insignificance
1997
3.75 | 39 ratings
Ambulance Chasers
1997
3.02 | 262 ratings
Metanoia
1998
2.93 | 55 ratings
Stranger By The Minute
1999
2.91 | 55 ratings
Piano Lessons
1999
3.00 | 62 ratings
Pure Narcotic
1999
3.75 | 23 ratings
Coma Divine II
1999
3.98 | 40 ratings
Stars Die - Rare and Unreleased
1999
3.10 | 71 ratings
4 Chords That Made A Million
2000
3.23 | 67 ratings
Shesmovedon
2000
3.27 | 11 ratings
The Rest Will Flow
2000
4.01 | 128 ratings
Transmission IV
2001
4.40 | 30 ratings
Blackest Eyes
2002
4.32 | 25 ratings
The Sound Of Muzak
2002
4.61 | 23 ratings
Trains
2003
3.56 | 39 ratings
Delerium EP
2003
3.33 | 6 ratings
Men of Wood
2004
3.67 | 18 ratings
Shallow
2005
3.63 | 134 ratings
Lazarus
2005
3.48 | 164 ratings
Futile
2006
3.56 | 16 ratings
So Called Friend
2006
3.88 | 16 ratings
Way Out Of Here
2007
3.88 | 17 ratings
Normal
2007
3.89 | 19 ratings
Fear Of A Blank Planet (Single)
2007
3.95 | 534 ratings
Nil Recurring
2007
2.95 | 10 ratings
Novak
2008
3.95 | 73 ratings
Transmission 10.1 - Ilosaarirock
2009
2.82 | 74 ratings
Time Flies
2009
3.45 | 11 ratings
Acoustic Session Jan 2010
2010
3.90 | 10 ratings
Pure Narcotic - Acoustic Session 2012
2020
3.00 | 4 ratings
BBC Session 13th April 2007
2020
4.25 | 70 ratings
Harridan
2021
4.47 | 25 ratings
Of the New Day
2022
3.39 | 18 ratings
Herd Culling (Single Edit)
2022
3.47 | 15 ratings
Rats Return
2022
3.84 | 6 ratings
IA / DW / XT
2023

PORCUPINE TREE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Closure / Continuation.Live by PORCUPINE TREE album cover DVD/Video, 2023
4.82 | 22 ratings

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Closure / Continuation.Live
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The reconfigured Porcupine Tree offer up not merely live renditions of most of the Closure/Continuation album, but also a wide range of cuts from their past (including material dating back as far as Lightbulb Sun). With Randy McStine on guitar and Nate Navarro on bass rounding out the live lineup - Navarro in particular doing a fantastic job - this is a shift from the old Porcupine Tree with Colin Edwin and John Wesley, yet then again Wesley didn't join until In Absentia and Edwin wasn't on the earliest Porcupine Tree releases, so unless you have a very odd definition of what is "real" Porcupine Tree this lineup is as legit as any that has existed, and the band manage to integrate the Closure/Continuation material into the setlist in a way which really helps all the disparate material here feel like it belongs in the same overall ethos, despite the changing shape of the band over the years.
 Octane Twisted by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Live, 2012
3.66 | 255 ratings

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Octane Twisted
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Incident had a somewhat mixed reception as far as Porcupine Tree albums go, and heralded the start of the hiatus which was only alleviated just recently with the release of Closure/Continuation. Octane Twisted, then, is one of the last documents of the pre-hiatus version of Porcupine Tree, hailing as it does from the Incident tour and leading off with the 55-minute song cycle which formed the first CD of that album in initial versions. (More recent rereleases take the less wasteful and more economical approach of putting all the songs on one CD - for they will fit.)

As it stands, I think I faintly prefer this live rendition of the epic to the version on the album - it feels a bit looser, more organic, the band a little more comfortable with the direction it represents. Following this up with a nicely selected clutch of tracks from across the Porcupine Tree back catalogue, Octane Twisted is about as good a presentation as this material had.

Nonetheless, I don't find it as compelling as, say, the live albums from the Fear of a Blank Planet period, the band feeling perhaps a touch tired at this point - suggesting that the hiatus was, perhaps, a creatively necessary and inevitable thing at this point. It's also hard to deny that things perk up a bit on the second half; The Incident has its merits, but it still feels like it wasn't quite the album it could be, that something was a little askew in the process which prevented it from hitting the standards of preceding albums.

 Anesthetize by PORCUPINE TREE album cover DVD/Video, 2010
4.66 | 620 ratings

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Anesthetize
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Porcupine Tree's live performances in the wake of Fear of a Blank Planet are pretty well-documented - as well as this live release you also have live albums like Atlanta, Ilosaarirock, and We Lost the Skyline from this era - but Anesthetize deserves to stand head and shoulders above all but Atlanta, which is close to the same standard but a mite shorter. Released both as audio and as a DVD of the performance, it's a stunning performance which sees them offering a host of compelling tracks from what at this point was a very rich repertoire indeed. After this would come the Incident and then the hiatus, but for my money this perhaps represents the peak of what Porcupine Tree were doing in the 2000s.
 Atlanta by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Live, 2010
4.45 | 229 ratings

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Atlanta
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Recorded on the Fear of a Blank Planet tour, this show from (as the title implies) Atlanta was one of several considered for a live release, before the band eventually settled on the show from Holland to form the basis of the Anesthetize live album and blu-ray.

Eventually, Atlanta would see release on a download basis (initially to raise some money to help Japan bassist Mick Karn's family during his final illness), and whilst its set list has much in common with Anesthetize, the atmosphere here is so absolutely electric that many Porcupine Tree fanatics will want to have both shows to hand, and the slightly shorter track list makes the thing more digestible to boot.

This is absolutely the sort of thing you could put on to instantly hook a curious listener on the late 2000s sound of Porcupine Tree, with an excellent group of songs drawing heavily on In Absentia, Deadwing, and Fear of a Blank Planet, with a pinch from Nil Recurring and some archival dives into Stupid Dream and Signify to round out the running time.

By this point, Porcupine Tree had honed their sound wonderfully, intensive gigging having refined the Blank Planet material to perfection. Whilst prior phases of the band could be pigeonholed as space rock or indie-prog, here the group were in a sonic realm all of their own, following no bandwagon or genre and guided only by their own inspiration. The result is marvellous.

 Closure / Continuation.Live by PORCUPINE TREE album cover DVD/Video, 2023
4.82 | 22 ratings

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Closure / Continuation.Live
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by LakesideRitchie

5 stars I was present at the recorded show on November 7th 2022 in Amsterdam and we were told the concert would be recorded for video purposes. Well, I've been waiting and looking forward for the Blu-ray to arrive and after more than a year it's finally here. And what a treat it is. The visuals and the sound quality are on par with all Steven Wilson's other releases, wether his solo and collaboration projects or his remixes of classic albums from the 70's and 80's. This man is a master of sound. Unfortunately at the concert I wasn't near the stage due to the fact that I was with a friend who was not able to stand up for a long time because of an accident. So we had seats on the balcony and had to enjoy the show from a distance. But this release puts me right up front on the stage with the band and the sound was already good at the venue, but this sounds like you're inside the music. The Blu-ray contains a hires stereo mix, a 5.1 and a Dolby Atmos mix. They all sound incredible and oh, by the way, the concert itself was mindblowing. PT played just the right mix of old and new stuff and Steven was in his funniest mood. This was my 5th time seeing Steven, twice with PT and three times under his own moniker. I saw SW a sixth time with PT after this show on Bospop in The Netherlands last summer (2023). And again it was awesome. SW and PT have never ever disappointed me with their concerts and this release proves again what a fantastic band and performer PT and SW are. A must have for every progfan. I can't give this anything less than 5 stars because it gives me goose bumps every time I play it.
 Nil Recurring by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
3.95 | 534 ratings

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Nil Recurring
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In the last third of 2007, Porcupine Tree released "Neil Recurring", an EP that could well have been included as a bonus album on the excellent "Fear of a Blank Planet", released less than half a year earlier. Far from being a collection of discards or extended sessions, "Neil Recurring", while maintaining the hardships of the tormented teenager "Robby" as its thematic axis, takes on a life of its own with four very good pieces that in several passages come very close to the hardened sound of progressive metal, combined with some reflective brushstrokes of melancholic sadness.

The spacey "Nil Recurring" kicks off the EP with the collaboration of Robert Fripp and his guitars, and imposing his personal stamp on the song with undisguised similarities to the experimental dalliances so typical of King Crimson, continues with the painful "Normal", a rearranged and more complete version of "Sentimental", follows with the powerful "Cheating The Polygraph" and Harrison's mastery of percussion and Colin Edwin's bass to support Wilson's infectious solos and guitar riffs and Richard Barbieri's intriguing electronic sounds, and concludes with the full band in a state of electronic hypnosis that becomes dramatic as the unfolding of "What Happens Now? "grows in intensity and yields its final stretch to a suffocating, schizoid guitar solo from Wilson, suggesting a desperate and fatal denouement.

"Nil Recurring" is a soaring EP, complementing "Fear of a Blank Planet", and is probably one of the band's best in that format.

Very good.

4 stars

 Fear of a Blank Planet by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.28 | 2824 ratings

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Fear of a Blank Planet
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Porcupine Tree's maturity reaches one of its high points with "Fear of a Blank Planet", their ninth album. Guided by Steven Wilson, the band's blend to produce a work that has moments of instrumental brilliance and also a vehicle to express themselves regarding youth issues in times when nothing is beyond the reach of a click, is remarkable.

Inspired by Brett Easton Ellis' novel, "You Do an Awfully Good Impression of Yourself", the album unfolds narratively from the point of view of the hopeless teenager "Robby" in Wilson's voice, with a depressive and intimate vision of his life and the refuge in external agents to cope with it. From the opening "Fear of a Blank Planet", a dark and powerful melody that starkly describes the character's perception of reality, Wilson's distorted guitars find in Colin Edwin Edwin's bass the ideal partner to accompany him, and has in the desolation of the melancholic and orchestrated "My Ashes" a pause sustained in good measure by Richard Barbieri's keyboards and a distant nod to the watery sound of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter", exposing once again the teenager's disenchantment with his life and family environment.

And it's with the superb "Anesthetize", a suite divided into three segments, that Porcupine Tree shows one of the highest points of brilliance, from Gavin Harrison's incisive percussion, the full band builds step by step a dramatic and forceful scenography, with Wilson's crushing guitar riffs and Barbieri's angsty and lysergic keyboards, until its final section, sheltering in its theme once again the wandering and lost "Robby". Alex Lifeson chipped in with a fine guitar solo and John Wesley backed Wilson on the choruses.

The mood, from there on in, maintains that reflective, aching feel, with the minimalist piano of the clinging "Sentimental" and the heartbreaking, escapist "Way Out of Here". The dark, electronic psychedelia of "Sleep Together" brings the album to a close, as well as the tribulations of the teenager, cornered into making a potentially fatal decision about his future.

"Fear of a Blank Planet" is not only one of Porcupine Tree's best albums, but also one of the best of the entire genre in the 2000s.

Excellent.

4.5 stars

 Deadwing by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.13 | 2225 ratings

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Deadwing
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The hardened sound developed by Porcupine Tree on "In Absentia" also sets the tone for their subsequent work, "Deadwing", the British band's eighth album. With the collaboration of Mikael Akerfeldt of Sweden's Opeth and Adrian Belew of King Crimson, the album is the reflection of a ghostly and dark script designed to be taken to the cinema, which Steven Wilson wrote together with the also British artist and director Mike Bennion, among other facets related to art.

From the opening "Deadwing" and Wilson's powerful guitar riffs backed by Gavin Harrison's consistent percussion and crowned by Belew's crimsonian solo, the musical proposal of the album flirts permanently with the most decibelic side of the genre, as for example with the virulent "Shallow" and its intoxicated volts, an unprecedented exercise for the band's standards, or with the excellent "Arriving Somewhere but Not Here", an extensive piece that moves between the intriguing synthesizers of Richard Barbieri and the megaphonic voice of Wilson, in a development that grows progressively and ends in an explosive and metal instrumental section complemented by the very good guitar solo of Akerfeldt, in one of the best pieces of the album, or with the forcefulness of "Open Car" and "The Start of Something Beautiful", both built on solid instrumental walls.

And to contrast the demanding pace of "Deadwing", the long-suffering and warm "Lazarus" with its peaceful piano and angelic vocal development, and the exhausted and atmospheric "Glass Arm Shattering" that doesn't lose its composure at any moment nor seems to have the strength to do so, give the calm and paused touch to one of the heaviest albums of the band.

Very good.

4 stars

 In Absentia by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.26 | 2772 ratings

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In Absentia
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Preceded by the very good reception of "Stupid Dream" and "Lightbulb Sun", it is with their seventh album, "In Absentia", that Porcupine Tree reaches new heights of reputation and raises the figure of Steven Wilson to superlative levels of recognition. A proposal that conserves the atmospheric dalliances and structures detached from the floor, but adds a hardened and raspy sonic content that at times is akin to Prog Metal. The constant contrast of scenarios that flies from tense calm to overflowing, reflects the vertebral concept developed in the album: the diseases of the mind and what they can generate in human beings, and whose disturbed cover art in the best style of Tool's animated videos clearly conveys it.

From the sombre "Blackest Eyes" and its powerful guitars combined with Wilson's acoustic riffs that serve as a backdrop to describe in first person the unbalanced thoughts of a serial killer, "In Absentia" shows the complexity of its subject matter in different passages, such as with Barbieri's sickly synthesizers and the intensity of the guitars in "Gravity Eyelids", or in the unhinged "Wedding Nails" and its dark ending, or the also frenetic "The Creator Has a Mastertape" with Wilson's voice in megaphone mode and the recharged and insistent drums of the recently incorporated Gavin Harrison, describing in a very saturated sound structure the horrible plans of a family father with a double personality.

But the album also interweaves moments of rawness with gentle backwaters used as oxygenating pauses, such as the delicate "Trains" and Wilson's electro-acoustic solo, or the floydian "Lips of Ashes", or the acid and harmonic "The Sound of Muzak" and its critique of the music industry business, to conclude with the beautiful "Collapse the Light into Earth" and the diaphanous piano that gives way to a very successful and emotional orchestration as a melancholic vindication of life in spite of all its ups and downs. An unbeatable ending.

"In Absentia", one of Porcupine Tree's best works, is a demonstration of the maturity that the band had reached by that time and which positioned them as a fundamental reference of the 2000's.

Excellent

4/4.5 stars

 Lightbulb Sun by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.03 | 1699 ratings

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Lightbulb Sun
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A year after the successful "Stupid Dream", the prolific Steven Wilson and his bandmates released "Lightbulb Sun" at the dawn of the 21st century. Porcupine Tree's sixth album maintains the general lines of its predecessor, leaving aside the intergalactic journeys and settles on planet earth, while maintaining the experimental and vaporous character to build introspective spaces of reflection from the sorrowful experiences of everyday life.

Hence, the album moves between melodies guided by unplugged rhythmic guitars like the opening "LBS", or the beautiful "Shesmovedon" and its sad refrain crowned by an overflowing and distorted guitar solo by Wilson over the hardened percussion of Chris Maitland, the gentleness of "Rest Will Flow", with Nick Parry's cello and the violins of the Minerva string quartet, or the correctness of "Where We Would Be" and its pleasant acoustic sounds, until reaching the album's climax with the extended "Russia on Ice", an atmospheric piece about alcoholism that unfolds among dark landscapes guided by Wilson's meditative voice, takes powerful and complex instrumental turns with Maitland very animated on percussion and Richard Barbieri on keyboards, and ends up resting among chimes and whispered synthesised sounds, undoubtedly one of the best parts of the album. And not to change the general mood, the delicate and emotive "Feel So Low" refers to a deep sadness for the lack of correspondence of the loved one that gives an ideal closure to a work dominated from beginning to end by melancholy.

When the album was finished recording, Maintland, Wilson's long-time sideman, left the band because of how absorbing being part of Porcupine Tree had become for him at the time.

"Lightbulb Sun", with its well-constructed musical structures and Wilson's usual superlative production work, consolidates Porcupine Tree as one of the main animators of the genre in the second part of the 90's and most of the 2000's, despite the fact that its leader mentioned on more than one occasion that the band should not be pigeonholed in any particular style.

Very good.

4 stars

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