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Porcupine Tree - Deadwing CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.11 | 1983 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars 3.5 stars

What is it? Porcupine Tree further exploring heavy metal and balancing the sound with moments of fragility and melody.

Voice (3.5 stars) ? Pop hooks with layered vocal harmonies continue in this album and are often performed with confidence and strong sense of melody. There are several instances of multi-track vocals that include counterpoint melodies ? the most complex vocal passage takes place at the end of Mellotron Scratch. One problem is Steven Wilson attempting to sing over heavy metal and/or faster paced rhythms: his voice does not have the right sound for this kind of music and comes off rather emotionless and weightless. Deadwing and the beginning of Open Car are good examples. Another problem is the overreliance on a vocal effect that makes him sound distant (as if singing through a telephone). The worst vocal moment in the album is guest Michael Akerfeldt doing a dramatic spoken word during 'Deadwing' which is laughably bad.

Sound (4 stars) - The band does a good job transitioning to full heavy-metal and alternative rock, though the riffs are not always very memorable and you could tell they work best in other genres. There are even cases where the sound production is mediocre, such as the incomplete-sounding 'Halo'. When outside that genre, the sound production shines as usual. The band even revisits some of their psychedelia from the 90s to great effect ? listen to the eerie foreboding passage before the end of Deadwing or the incredibly captivating keyboard soundscapes introducing the long 'Arriving Somewhere but not Here'. Expect to hear highlights from the band's rhythmic players, with plenty of driving bass lines and complex, yet musical percussion.

Songs (3.5 stars) ? The songs are fine but are not as memorable compared to most music since Signify. I also get tonal whiplash from the abrupt shifts in heaviness. Take for example the alternative metal from Shallow being followed by an emotional piano ballad. Then the next song is grungy, aggressive social commentary about the dangers of right-wing extremism with disturbing voice samples, yet switches at times to a sarcastic pop melody with pleasant mellotron. Another annoyance is the amazing pop rock of 'Open Car' having start-stop prog metal riffing at times. The best song is the lengthy 'Arriving Somewhere But Not Here' because it manages to successfully explore basic musical patterns over the course of 12 minutes thanks to sound arrangements, excellent vocal moments, and the most interesting heavy metal passage of this album.

Key Tracks: Arriving Somewhere But not Here, The Start of Something Beautiful.

Zitro | 4/5 |


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