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Porcupine Tree - In Absentia CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.26 | 2619 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars What do we have here? A little band called Porcupine Tree, as underground as it gets here in America. Having garnered a cult-like status among prog fans of late, I heard about this band a little before venturing into the deepest depths of prog (pretty damn deep) to hear bands like King Crimson, Yes, Rush, Genesis, ELP, and The Flower Kings. Enter Porcupine Tree with In Absentia. I downloaded "The Sound of Muzak" off this site and was blown away. It was unlike anything I'd ever heard -- one hell of a chorus, thoughtful lyrics, great acoustic work and drumming, everything wrapped in one cohesive package. It was a true work of art for me at the time, a masterpiece. About a month has passed since then. King Crimson, Yes, Rush, Genesis and others have all grown on me, as I started off a bit leary of them. Porcupine Tree, however, caught me from the beggining. I went and bought In Absentia, and man, what I got exceeded the epectations I had set based solely on Muzak. Now, enough of my rambbling, the review. I'll start with songs first.

Blackest Eyes - Like Muzak, a simple yet attractive piece. Unbeknownest to me when I first heard it, this is probably PT's heaviest song, yet it stil lretains everything Steve Wilson is all about, with some nice spacey work with excellent acoustic and some heavy riffs thrown in. The lyrics are catchy too. The only weak point is the slightly repetative chorus, but eh. 9/10

Trains - Now HERE'S a good song. Featuring some excellent acoustic with more heavy riffs, Traisn manages to blow me away like it's new each time I listen to it. I finish the song feeling like I just got done listening to an excellent album. My favorite part is when there's a little hand-clapping solo thrown in there with somehting that sounds vaguely like a banjo playing. Then, the acoustic guitar comes back in with Wilson singing some odd but effective lyrics with a very ctachy chorus. Overlal, the song is probably the most complete package on the album. 10/10

Lips of Ashes - Starting out with some interesting sound effects, this one mainly focuses on Wilson's singing. Some light acoustic is on the background with an electric guitar solo over near the end. With Wilson's voice in there, the song creates a pleasant experience that never fails to entertain. Wilson's voice also works perfectly for this. Some excellent chord transitions here too. Well done. 10/10

The Sound of Muzak - The song that started it all. Basic in itself, but has some bizarre drumming going in, oddly rhythmed. Effective, though. Catchiest chorus ever, great lyrics, radio friendly. Not too much prog in this, just like Blackest Eyes, but it still has prog influences in it for sure. Not much to write on this, good song all around. 9/10

Gravity Eyelids - Throwback to old PT! Some nice spacey stuff here with good sound work all around. Not my favorite song, however, as it tends to drag. When it gets to the heavier part, it picks up, but even that gets old. Good solid work on the sounds, though. 9/10

Wedding Nails - All instrumental here. Heavier, brisk pace. Like Muzak and Blackest Eyes, it isn't really an incredible song, but it's a good song to listen to on a 10 minute car ride or something. There's just other songs I'd prefer over it. Solid, but not awesome. 8.5/10

Prodigal - Following theWORST opening chords ever known to man, the song actual becomes rather likeable with a good chorus and...uhmm,, bizarre lyrics. Not as bad as Mastertape, though. Some chords chosen here hurt it. Good chorus, though. 7.5/10

.3 - Without a doubt, the masterpiece of the album. Excellent sound work all around. It's impossible to describethis song. It's more or less four minutes of variations on the same exact four or five notes ( a bass playing those, stuff going on around it), butthe way the song progresses is so well done, you just want to listen to it over and over again. Excellent work all around, THE BEST song on here. My favorite parts revolve around all the synth work done, it really shines and makes the song a masterpiece. 10/10

The Creator Has A Mastertape - Ehh...quick fix if you need something to listen to and don't feel like devoting your listenign time actually listening and appreciatiing the genius in other songs. Whoof, that came out contorted. Basically, it's a good song, but nothing special. Not good, not bad, and some rather wacky lyrics that made me a bit skeptical of Wilson's train of thought when he was making this song. Not good, not bad. Fast, upbeat song with good guitars, but much like Wedding Nails, it just doesn't have anything about it that shines. It's still not bad, though. There really isn't a "bad" song on this album, thus the 5/5 rating. 8.5/10 (for the song)

Heartattack in a Layby - Nice mellow song with some good keyboard work. Nothing bad, nothing awesome, but all around good stuff. Not much to say. 8.5/10

Strip The Soul - Take Blackest Eyes and Wedding Nails, and you get this song. Catchy, good material. Nothing extroadinary like .3, but nothing I can say is terrible, bad, mediocre. Good effort all around, worthy addition to the album. 8.5/10

Collapse The Light Into Earth - Hmm, I dunno baout this one. Mellow with a lot of violin synth work. Pretty song, but it's not awesome. Probably my least favorite, cause basically, Heartattack in a Layby, .3, Lips of Ashes and Gravity Eyelids (to some extent) all did it better. Ehh, probably my least favorite. Bummer to end such a good album on this. 7/10

I'm tired, don't wanna type anymore. Go buy it. Now. There's nothing truly bad on it, a couple good, a lot of great, and one, maybe two depending on taste, true masterpieces. There's your reason. Don't pass this up.

I'd like to add a couple things. Re-submitted review, fixed some typos, changed some scores aroud (10 for Lips of Ashes, every time I listen to it I discover something new and better baout it. Some other scores boosted too), spaces hopefully added. I'd also like to say sorry to the real Fishy for stealing his name, heh. Next time I'll post under a different name, but to overrate my other review, apparently I have to post underthe same name. I hope that's right. Also, I'd like to say that I'd probably give this album a 4.5, 4.7 out of 5, not a perfect 5. However, lack a concise rating system holds me from doing that, so I give it the closest thing to a 4.5: 5 stars. No the album isn't perfect, but albeit one or two not so awesome songs, the album really does stand out as something special. Thanks.

FishyMonkey | 5/5 |


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