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Porcupine Tree - Fear Of A Blank Planet CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.26 | 2606 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars After two straight hits with In Absentia and Deadwing, Wilson and co. score a hat trick with Fear of a Blank Planet, PT's most lyrically brilliant album. However, whereas I don't care too much for Deadwing, I absolutely love this album. The album is conceptual and deals with technology's and society's desensitizing affect on modern youth. As a member of Generation Y, I can tell you that Wilson knows his stuff. The standout star here, however, is drummer Gavin Harrison, who places himself high on the list of greatest prog drummers with this release.

The title track opens the album with a look into the true "blank generation" (eat your heart out, Richard Hell). TV addiction, drugs, and meaningless sex are all touched upon. The lyrics wouldn't sound out of place on a Fugazi album, honestly. This track is one of the more metallic pieces in the PT repetoire. My Ashes is a great ballad in the vein of the ballads of Stupid Dream. Anestethize is the highlight of the album, a near 18 minute epic complete with absurdly good drumming and a killer guest solo from Rush's Alex Lifeson. The song goes from opressively heavy to hauntingly soft in the course of it's epic length, and the lyrics are masterful. Sentimental lives up to its title with it's look into the emotions of the empty youth. It is one of the most beautfiul ballads I've ever heard. Way Out of Here features soundscapes from Mr. Robert Fripp. The song deals with the pain of a a failed relationship and the feelings of depression and isolation that come with it. Fripp and Wilson mesh wonderfully. Sleep Together ends the album with the teen trying to cope with the scale of his emptiness with suicide. This is the one song on the album that does not have awe-inspiring drumming, but it's still a great tune.

With this album Wilson takes a snapshot of today's youth. We are no longer allowed to learn and discover things on our own but rather are force fed what a school board believes is useful. The answer to any problem is mediaction rather than trying to discern the root of the problem (ADD, depression). Every child gets a trophy so no one's feelings are hurt. Schools lower test standards so everyone passes. With all of these issues, it's no stretch of the imagination to see teens committing suicide once they realize the emptiness of their lives. It amazes me that a middle aged Englishman has his finger so accurately on the pulse of American youth. Musically, this manages to be both Porcupine Tree's heaviest and softest album. It is even more atmospheric than the early psychedelic material. The influence of Opeth (who Wilson produced several albums for) has never shone through as beautifully as it does with FoaBP (In Absentia is another good example of the positive effect of Opeth on PT). The album is not without flaws, but it's PT's best studio effort yet (even surpassing the wonderul In Absentia).

Grade: A

1800iareyay | 5/5 |


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