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Porcupine Tree - Deadwing CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.11 | 1983 ratings

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3 stars I tend to agree with what colleague collaborator Bryan Adair has put in his review that it's not really prog. Two meaning on this, I think. First it's not really prog if we compare with the traditional prog scene of 70s. Second, and I think is the most important thing is that in terms of musical progression this album proves that Porcupine Tree does stand still with their music style and no significant progress compared to their previous albums. It does not necessarily mean that this album is bad - nope, not at all! The music is really rewarding and really good. This album came out when I was not really ready to enjoy as I had a lot of CDs that arrived at the same time that I needed to enjoy first for at least five spins. Because there was nothing new I found when I first spin the CD after opening the amazon box, this CD did not win the competition for share of spin on my CD player. How could I compare this "no progress" album with Pain of Salvation Be Live DVD that remarked major change in terms of style from Pain of Salvation music? PoS is a good example of a band that ventured in progressive way. And, I still had Echolyn "Stars and Gardens" DVD in my viewing queue? So, I put Deadwing on my shelf for future spins.

As the old adage says "Don't judge a book by its cover!" - it applies here as well: the cover of Deadwing is so lousy and it's probably the trademark of Porcupine Tree as I think In Absentia cover is lousy too. The cover projects dark nuance and the CD sleeve notes are not clear on what it means by all comical pictures there. It's like the inlay of Radiohead OK Computer, I think. At the opening page there are statements of ALLAHU AKBAR meaning GOD IS GREAT. I agree. But I don't know the linking pin that connect with this album. No lyrics printed in the sleeve notes. Nevertheless, the music is really good!

My CD package comes out as enhanced CD with "the making of" video and one hidden track at the end: "Shesmovedon" as bonus. The album comprises nine good tracks. It opens with the album title Deadwing (9:46) that flows smoothly with Porcupine Tree's style music. Structure-wise it's an almost straight forward modern rock music with some bluesy touch. There is a nice quiet passage insertion of ambient music augmented with guitar, followed with basslines and good drumming combined with stunning guitar. It's an excellent album opener! Shallow (4:17) starts off with guitar work that characterize classic rock music performed with modern sound. You may associate this track similar with the kind of Audioslave music. The only difference is the use of piano in this track. It's a good rocking track and pretty straight forward in terms of structure. Lazarus (4:18) is a psychedelic ballad with nice piano work reminiscent of RPWL kind of music.

Having been in a slow mode of Lazarus the band suddenly comes up with an upbeat tempo track Halo (4:38) with basslines as beat keeper augmented with drumming. Singing is performed with a distant vocals - typical Porcupine Tree music. The interlude part with basslines and rocking guitar is really good especially when it's combined with sound effects. Wow man .!! Next is a realtively long track titled Arriving Somewhere But Not Here (12:02) which starts with an ambient music exploring keyboard. It's a quite long silent mode but I find it enjoyable especially when keyboard gives its mark for acoustic guitar enters the music followed with distant vocal in melodic style. I do enjoy this opening nuance. This track represents the kind of music Porcupine Tree has been composing and playing: ambient, psychedelic, guitar riffs, distant vocals combined with acoustic guitar fills. Everything about the band can be seen here. The guitar solo is really stunning, performed mostly with long sustain style. At approximately minute 8, I find a segment that really similar with a segment in Heart of Sunrise from Yes "Fragile" album. I don't is it by accident or Porcupine Tree has widen his musical influence to Yes as well? Only Mr. Wilson knows. I encourage you have a copy of this album to have it checked about what I find here.

Looking at Mellotron Scratch (6:56) title I thought it's gonna be an intensive use of mellotron sounds, but it's heavily dominated with floating and ambient music with acoustic guitar work. It's quite boring at the opening but luckily it has different form at the ending part. Open Car (3:46) starts with excellent guitar work. The Start Of Something Beautiful (7:39) is a mellow track with stunning guitar solo. Glass Arm Shattering (6:12) is a quite boring track positioned at the end of the album. What puzzled me really is that it has approx five minutes leftover part that should not be there at all.

Overall, it's an enjoyable album even though I experienced a feeling of getting bored after track 6 or 7 because it lacks variations, I would say. But individually, each track is a good track. Overall rating is 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. It's really up to you whether to purchase this album or not as the music is basically the same with their previous styles. For me, purchasing this CD was mainly for the sake of completeness as this is the band that I should collect all the albums. The part that similar to Yes in terms of sound and melody must be confirmed as this may erupt the band's originality of ideas. Otherwise ..keep on proggin' .!

Progressively yours,

GW - Review #315

Gatot | 3/5 |


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