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

FEAR OF A BLANK PLANET

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.26 | 2607 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

BrufordFreak
4 stars This album was my introduction to Steve Wilson and Porcupine Tree. After a fifteen year hiatus from "progressive rock" and most new music, ProgArchives reviewers led me to this gem. Revived with a new intrigue and interest in the most artistic of music forms, progressive rock, I began my adventures into post-1970s prog with this CD. From the first listening I was impressed. A little heavier than I expected at times, I quickly keyed into the drummer: very impressive. Then found myself bewitched by the beautiful and diverse sound textures (helped out by old "friend" from my David Sylvian years, Richard Barbieri). Even nostalgically amused by the "guest appearances" by prog legends Robert Fripp, Alex Lifeson and John Wesley.

1. "Fear of a Blank Planet." Drums catch you from the start: Tight! Confident! Who is this guy! Google search! (This was my first exposure to the work of the great Gavin Harrison). Pretty cool "metal-ish" feel in the guitars, the kick drum style, though mellotron/synths soften it some. Great mellotron background wash! Lyrics kind of cynical and depressing. Keyboard work is subtle but really absorbing. Good hard driving tune with excellent electric guitar and synth soli at the end. The end is the best part (and more typical of older PT, I will find out). (7/10)

2. "My Ashes." Very cool intro. Haven't heard that effect/sound since Zep's "Ocean". Chorus enters over a beautifully fluid wash of FLOYDian mellotron, followed by entrance of drums and electric guitars.The burdens of cultural transmission. I've read Steve can be a bit down, even depressing (lyrically). Love the flowing, floating strings behind the vocals and acoustic guitars. A lovely, well-constructed song. (8/10)

3. "Anaesthetize." The first truly priggish feeling song. (Especially due to it's 17 minute length.) The drum "arpeggios" underlying the first three minutes are mixed perfectly into the song so as to not overwhelm the listener. The entry of the fuzz guitar chords and snare hit and then excellent electric guitar solo precede an awesome electric piano sequence (like AMBROSIA?) and some synthscapes just before the more metal-ish drum and bass sounds take over the rhythm. Steve's treated vocals @ 8 minutes in truly usher in a more fully metal feel (so cleanly recorded!) (really a NIRVANA grunge "Feels Like Teen Spirit" section). Awesome Gary Newman "Cars" sound just before this drummer dude really gets to impress us. There's that metronomic click track again. Barbieri/Wilson's synth work is so smooth, subtle, understated but interesting and key! The FLOYDian end section brought in at 13:20 is very cool, very Wish You Were Here/Animals, complete with brief Gilmour-esque axe solo. Song never really seems to develop into what it promises at the beginning, though it does end well. (7/10)

4. "Sentimental." A teen anthem sung by a thirty-forty-something. Hm. Simple, SIMPLE MINDS/U2-ish song structure has a feel similar to several other "classic" PT songs. So-so song. (5/10)

5. "Way Out of Here." The first of the albums two really great songs-true classics, with really powerful lyrics and vocal deliveries (though sometimes too deep in the mix, due to the treatments). Very catchy chorus lyric and melody. Absolutely stunning guitar solo (Fripp?) is followed by an eerie, here comes the slasher lull before all metal hell breaks loose. And did I mention the drums? This drummer (Gavin Harrison) knows his craft--enhancing yet never dominating with sometimes breathtaking speeds and techniques (again, the drums are so well mixed into the music). The long fadeout of ascending string sounds over Harrison's ever-so subtle yet playful batterie is brilliant! (10/10)

6. "Sleep Together." A quiet little intro is suddenly amped up and made rather eerie by a strong, slow drum beat before Steve's treated voice screeches his forceful though despondent command "Let's sleep together." The world's about to end, so why not? Second time through the chorus leaves us in outer/inner space with some very interesting multiple synth play. Gavin and Colin rejoin the music to help usher us through a truly unusual "string quartet" (a la KRONOS QUARTET) exit. Very fresh and creative. Classic prog! Awesome! (10/10)

Undoubtedly outstanding musicianship and sound recording with very impressive composition and of-time-capsule-interest lyrics (computers and iPods). I think we have a modern prog classic! 47/60 = Solid 4 stars. An excellent addition to any music collection.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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