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


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.26 | 2605 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
4 stars Damn those wretched teenagers! (harumph, says the old man)

It's pretty obvious with Porcupine Tree's newer release that Steve Wilson hates teenagers. The theme is obvious throughout the entire album. Musically, the album is spectacular, and vocally, the album is good, but not spectacular. There are many fantastic and memorable parts, and some that could be easily dismissed. Let's go track by track.

Fear of a Blank Planet is one of my favorite tracks by PT and by any prog metal band. That classic riff and those timely lyrics (the only track on here that I will call "timely") about some of the more pathetic actions of the Millenial generation. Drugs, pills, sex, music, porn, he just shoves it all in a nice 7 minute time capsule. The drumming is fantastic, but that's because, well, it's Gavin Harrison. The instrumental section is downright impressive, also. Just a great, great track.

My Ashes changes the mood from angry to sad, with nice melodies and a bit of a theme change (but not really). The rotary organ sound in the intro is nice, as are the classic "Porcupine Tree" chords that Wilson is so deft at creating. The track is good, but is a little cowardly in comparison to that fantastic intro.

Anesthetize may be the only long track that I will ever give a bad review for. Me, the lover of lengthy songs, thinks this song drags. And it's only 17 minutes! The track is alright, but that's it. The melodies are sub-par, the riffs are for the most part constant, and the instrumental sections can put you to sleep. The track has an apt name-- it'll anesthetize you alright!

Sentimental speeds up the tempo a little bit with a nice piano intro and some great melodies. It's not as upbeat or exciting as the first track, but it is a nice song. It has a nice rhythm, and that overshadowing theme is obvious in the lyrics. The verses can drag, but the chorus is a beautiful melodic piece that really beckons you to sing along with all your heart, even though that may drown out the quiet melodies!

Way out of Here is a more ambient track, even though all of them are really ambient at heart. It does pick up for some of the chorus and instrumental sections. The rhythms are nice, as are the melodies. The dynamics of the tracks are good, as are the mood changes within verses. That overlying theme is there again, spitting on teenagers. But I'll forgive Wilson for that nonetheless. Overall, it is a good track.

Sleep Together is the ambient and "trippy" ending. It opens with that electro-ambient synth piece with some nice melody. Although the first 2 minutes or so a little slow, the chorus is a crushingly amazing dynamic, as the verses ever-so-slowly crescendo into the sweeping distorted first beat of it. The synth "solo" is a nice orchestral switch for the album. The track is a nice ending and is one of the closest of the 6 to come close to that opener.

ALBUM OVERALL: Fear of a Blank Planet is a good album. It's an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection on some conditions: you don't mind long interludes that can be boring, and can wait for few amazing and epic parts that can blow you away. The first track sets you up for what you would expect to be an upbeat, rock-your-head album, but it drops with Anesthetize on the third track, which slows the album to a near halt. The album is great, with many pros, and almost but not quite as many cons.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |


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