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


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.26 | 2606 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Solemn and bored the kids stay

Porcupine Tree's latest attraction (at the time of writing) has gained a lot of attention from the prog community, and for many good reasons. A concept album about how tomorrow's kids are going to be zombies to their computers, Xboxes and malls is sure to intrigue anyone who thinks the same about modern society, especially us cynical ones. The ironic part about this is that the audience targeted by the lyrics became the target audience when it was marketed over mySpace and the like. Mr. Wilson is very wise as to how to get his message across.

But speaking of message, a bigger question arises - being someone so good with the progressive structure and a modern master of the instrumental, how is this lyrically thick moral aspect going to affect the music? The answer is - a lot.

Fear Of A Blank Planet shows an entirely different Porcupine Tree [PT] than the blokes who traveled Sideways in the Sky or running up down staircases, this one is a heavy, rougher edged band who wants to get a point across. It's even a very different album from their previous effort Deadwing. This is, of course, not a bad thing since PT has always gotten by on being a very dynamic and shifting band, expecting them to stay the same would be ridiculous.

What should we expect on this album then?

Well, prepare to be bludgeoned with lyrics, but if you're ready for that then you should be fine. This is PT's most vocally heavy album to date, but it's also one of their most heavy in everything in general. Tone, mood, depth, it's all very heavy. This is clearly evident from the opening riff on the title track right though to the final chord on the final track. Though the album does tend to leapfrog itself with fast and slow there's no stopping of the heaviness, no matter what incarnation it takes. Fear of A Blank Planet (the track) is quick and jaunty while My Ashes is simply heavy in subject matter, and so on and so on.

Likely the greatest standout on the album (and this is hardly surprising) is the 18-minute suite Anesthetize. Starting with some chilling chimes and some catchy bass the song eventually makes it's way into motion. Going from fast and destructive to slow and calm coming into the end, this one visits it all. Featuring an excellent and very Rush-like solo from Alex Lifeson coming into the beginning of the second segment, this one is also a very good track for all the Heavy Prog fans out there.

Whether it be the heavy and chugging tracks like the title track, Way out Of Here and Sleep Together or the melodic melancholy of others such as Sentimental this album is one that works off a couple carefully selected aspects. Being a concept album as well they tend to stick close together creating a sound that, the first couple spins, seems like a very samey album. The tracks are well placed in the timeline however, and this effect soon wears off. even if never completely.

Being one of the most important prog bands of this decade (even if Wilson denies the prog label) it's to be expected that they release very well respected albums. This one isn't perfect, but it's still miles above some of the other music on the market. Voted PA's album of the year 2007 (very deservingly) this one is very unlikely to not catch your interest if you fancy yourself a prog head. It's very hard to give this one a 5, but it's very well deserving of a bright 4. Maybe even 4.5. An excellent addition to your library.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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