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Porcupine Tree - The Incident CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.67 | 1493 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Dead leaves at the end of the Tree.

There's something heartbreaking about The Incident that I've never quite been able to put my finger on. The story at the core of the album would probably like me to believe that it's the entire concept that puts a damper on each and every listen that I have of the album but that's just not it. If the album had actually achieved what it had set out to do by hitting my heartstrings in a way that made me feel for a character or concept the album would be a triumph - and that's not how I feel.

No, the heartbreaking thing about The Incident is that the whole thing feels lackluster. Half-assed. Effortless. Tired riffs and monotonous singing may have attempted to bring across an emotion that started with the rather nihilistic Fear of a Blank Planet but without the care and attention that was brought into each well crafted song. The 55-minute song cycle that makes up the first disc of the album has so few ideas stretched out over so long a time period that often times it feels like a drone album done by a drone band trying to expand into rock and roll without knowing how. The guitars clunk, the vocals whine and there are very few standouts that make my hair stand on end the way this band usually can.

Even Time Flies, the notable standout (and single) of the album is not without major flaws. Clocking at nearly 12-minutes it becomes the only song to actually leave a place in the listener's mind. However, any prog fan with depth to their catalog will not easily be able to dismiss the fact that it rings so heavily of the riff to Pink Floyd's Dogs that they will likely be put off of it.

The redeeming part to having made purchase of this album is the second disc. What a shame that is is only 20 minutes long! If they had combined this with the Nil Recurring recordings and released that as a kind of FOABP 2 they would have been met with much greater success! The odd tone and grumblings of Bonnie The Cat ring back to their Signify days while expanding on their current themes. Flicker is such a haunting melody that it DOES send shivers down my spine and Remember Me Lover takes us back to a darker version of Up The Downstair and finally ends off the hour plus long album.

In conclusion, The Incident is not without it's merits. It is simply unfortunate to see a band so lauded in the progressive, metal and alternative communities release an album that feels like an afterthought. Steven Wilson clearly had other things on his mind when the album was released, having already released his album Insurgents. His solo career has taken the music of Porcupine Tree to an entirely new level and continues to be truly progressive, but it's too bad he left the Tree to fall with no one around to hear it.

2 stars for an album that is worthwhile for the 2nd disc (a must for fans) but an ultimately disappointing, perhaps final, release by a once titan of the genre we adore. If you have not already become familiar with their music check out Up The Downstair or The Sky Moves Sideways if you are a fan of Floyd-flavored psych rock, or Deadwing and Fear of a Blank Planet for brooding Opeth style psych-heavy-progressive bombast, or Stupid Dream and In Absentia for top notch song-driven crossover prog with feeling. Avoid this release until familiar with what made the band an impressive force and solidified Steven Wilson as a demi-God of music.

Queen By-Tor | 2/5 |


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