Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Porcupine Tree - Nil Recurring CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.95 | 536 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars An EP or 'mini-album' comprised of outtakes from the sessions for stunning 2007 studio album 'Fear Of A Blank Planet', Nil Recurring is a fine disc in its own right. These four songs are so good, you'll be wondering why the heck they were left off the FOABP album proper. They would have fit on the disc. The general vibe of the album, and some of the lyrical and musical ideas, are the same as FOABP.

Porcupine Tree fans are very lucky in that the band leader, main songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist Steven Wilson is a very prolific artist. He writes so many songs, it is sometimes hard to keep up with his output. As a result, PT release a disc every couple of years or so. A fan only usually has to wait up to two years for new material. And it is always of high quality. It reminds me of when bands like the Beatles or Led Zep would release a new album each year, all of high quality for a disc produced on such short notice. SW contends that if you're really into your music, it does not take three years to make a disc, it takes a few months.

The EP kicks off with the killer instrumental, and titular track, 'Nil Recurring'. It's a seriously prog-inflected and heavy piece, reminiscent of King Crimson. Indeed, Crimson's Robert Fripp returns as a guest on this track (he cameoed on FOABP too). Awesome piece of music. Drummer Gavin Harrison is on fire on this track. He's one of the best drummers of this generation, in my opinion. Things just get better and better from there.

'Normal' is one of the best, and most emotional, PT songs ever written, if I do say so myself. Utilising the same chorus as 'Blank Planet's' 'Sentimental', it's like a more cynical and mature sibling of that song. How they have managed to take the same musical idea, and make an entirely different song out of it is beyond me. Steve Wilson really is a genius songwriter. 'Cheating The Polygraph' could possibly be even better. What a great song. It's melodic, heartfelt, yearning, and crushingly heavy all at once. Continuing with the Fear Of A Blank Planet analogy, its like 'Anesthetise's heavier cousin. All on the band members are on top form here. Wilson's voice is at its absolute best on this track. 'What Happens Now?', the final piece, takes us into somewhat psychedelic, meditative territory. There are some seriously inventive and groovy rhythms on this song. These guys are extremely tight musicians who manage to demonstrate their technical abilities whilst also writing superb songs. They always put songcraft first, and don't show off too much.

One of the most unique things about PT which makes them stand out, is how they merge melodic balladry with moments of unbelievable heaviness. What makes it all work is that the heavy metal moments are couched in the centre of such dazzling beauty. The heavy parts are nearly always unexpected, and yet they always feel like they maintain the mood of the song, and don't ruin it. What's more, when the Tree want to, they can play tech metal better than most straight up metal groups can. Buy this. Seriously. It is a good companion piece to the Fear of A Blank Planet album, and it's a taste of what was to come on this year's brand new (and excellent) album 'The Incident'. Some fans and critics were put off by the length (or lack of it). Well, I would rather have 28 minutes of high quality material by one of the most consistent bands in modern rock than 60 minutes of mindless commercialised sugarcoated pablum.

Kashmir75 | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this PORCUPINE TREE review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.