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Porcupine Tree

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Porcupine Tree The Incident album cover
3.67 | 1666 ratings | 109 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (55:08)
- The Incident:
1. Occam's Razor (1:55)
2. The Blind House (5:47)
3. Great Expectations (1:26)
4. Kneel and Disconnect (2:03)
5. Drawing the Line (4:43)
6. The Incident (5:20)
7. Your Unpleasant Family (1:48)
8. The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train (2:00)
9. Time Flies (11:40)
10. Degree Zero of Liberty (1:45)
11. Octane Twisted (5:03)
12. The Séance (2:39)
13. Circle of Manias (2:18)
14. Drive the Hearse (6:41)

CD 2 (20:35)
1. Flicker (3:42)
2. Bonnie the Cat (5:45)
3. Black Dahlia (3:40)
4. Remember Me Lover (7:28)

Total Time 75:43

Bonus tracks on 2009 WHD double CD edition:
5. Way Out of Here (live *) (7:49)
6. What Happens Now? (live *) (8:09)

* Recorded in Tilburg, the Netherlands, October 2008

Bonus video material on 2010 DVD-Audio edition:
1. Time Flies (video clip directed by Lasse Hoile) (5:24)
2. Octane Twisted (video clip directed by Przemyslaw Vshebor) (5:09)
3. TV Spot (directed by Lasse Hoile) (0:32)
4. Photo Gallery (with "Flicker" and "Black Dahlia" instrumental versions) (7:29)

Line-up / Musicians

- Steven Wilson / vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, keyboards, mixing
- Richard Barbieri / keyboards, synthesizers
- Colin Edwin / bass, double bass
- Gavin Harrison / drums, percussion, post-production

- John Wesley / addit. guitar

Releases information

Artwork: Hajo Mueller with Lasse Hoile (photo) and Carl Glover (design)

2LP Tonefloat - tf82 (2009, Netherlands)

CD Roadrunner Records - RR 7857-7 (2009, Europe) Full 18 tracks on 1 disc
2CD Roadrunner Records - RR 7857-2 (2009, Europe)
2CD Roadrunner Records - 1686-178572 (2009, US)
2CD+DVDv Roadrunner Records - RR 7857-8 (2009) Box-set w/ bonus DVD-Video including HiRes Stereo & 5.1 Surround mixes of entire album plus extensive lyrics, photos & drawings
2CD WHD Entertainment - IECP-10198 (2009, Japan) With 2 bonus Live tracks

DVDa Transmission Recordings - Transmission 11.1 (2010, UK) DVD-Audio w/ HiRes Stereo & 5.1 Surround mixes plus video bonus material (NTSC)

Thanks to Lerxst88 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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PORCUPINE TREE The Incident ratings distribution

(1666 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

PORCUPINE TREE The Incident reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Prognut
4 stars Yesterday finally arrived my copy of "The Incident", the new album of PT and I may add probably one of the best releases for this Year. Did not know what to expect, especially after the great solo effort of their front man SW last year, but so far and after a single spin of both CDs I am truly impress, the quality oft he production is top notch as usual, more so now with this new format presentation, that SW is doing with the Deluxe Edition. Now, regarding the music: Definitively a concept album that will require several listens to digest (that is always good on a prog concept album I think..), more acoustic with SW guitar exploring new boundaries; everybody is in top form and is the best IMHO PT has sound in years, I would say since "The Sky../Signify years". Probably the highlights are the amazing drumming of Gavin Harrison that flow effortless thru the entire album; I had the chance to see PT in concert 2 years ago with my daughter in Baltimore and this guy was incredible (and I am not a drummer fan by any means!). Not a follow up of "FOABP", a new direction and I love it, since stands by itself and you cannot draw comparisons with anything done before! Of course, the highlights' tracks are the one clocking more than 5' but the one that stands alone in my opinion is "Time Flies" which has a Floydian aftertaste and as I read a homage to "Animals" which I agree!! However, you have to listen the album on its entirely rather than each individual track. I would rate this album so far 3.5 stars and I will round to 4!. Maybe more with further listens, will see. In any event this is a highly recommended Album for Progressive Music fans anywhere. Prog-heads will not be disappointed.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars What a disappointment!

I picked up this album after seeing the number od five star reviews (fifty four percent at this writing) here at this site. I expected an amazing masterpiece of progness. And the sticker on the case said it features a fifty five minute epic. Wow! Would I get a fantastic long pice of the caliber of Echolyn's Mei? Sorry, no.

What is billed as one long piece is actually fourteen shorter songs, all strung together, as you would find on a Zappa or Rundgren album. There seems to be little continuity between the pieces, no musical theme that connects them. Just a bunch of songs. And the progressiveness, to me, seems to be lacking. While there are some good prog sections, like the title section, The Incident and Octane Twisted, and two stand-alone songs on teh second CD, Bonnie the Cat (no relation to Tommy) and Remember Me Lover, most of the songs on the album are slightly-more-inventive-than-average alternative rock, or even (gasp) emo. Some a bit too whiny sounding for my tastes.

And the song I hear the most about, Time Flies sound so much like a rip off of Pink Floyd's Animals, that it makes me want to listen to that superior album instead.

So while there is enough good material on this album to listen to, there is no way I could call this a masterpiece, or even close to one.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars OK, I agree. It was not my decision, but the crowd decided. I got tired by all these "The Incident" reviews on main page, so I've though that I'll take things in my hands now. So here I am, doing my best to rate fairly.

If we consider first track as concept thing, let's call it epic, then we have to decide whether or not Porcupine Tree make epics. So far, I though that PT aren't band with epics much, just a little, even some may be considered that way. It's probably because their style. Very unique style, which goes so far that everyone with similar vocals to Steve Wilson's is now tagged as his clone, or at least we think it about him. It's of course hard to review so much anticipated album and it's even harder to produce it, because fans will want exact things and at the same time others will hate them to hear.

It's dark, not trying to be melodic at all costs as in Lightbulb sun (even I admire its course) and I can feel how they're trying to not sound like them. It's also hard, to overcome their shadow. They set whole new style of music, unique mix of then not known ingredients and it worked. Slowly becoming better and better. And it's normal that people compare it. It's different approach, when someone rates this as newcomer and this is his first PT album, or someone who owns them all. But both opinions, both voices are important, because point of view, that's what's important when reviewing. And I can't tell if it's concept album, because I don't see nothing like that here. Is it connected with similar themed music ? Well, this question is meaningless here, all Porcupine Tree has trademark sound, so one part sounds like another, even if it's different (and not just clone of itself). So it's hard to rate this, I'll leave it on later editing. Frontman will soon turn 42 years, quite magical number (hello Douglas Adams and happy B-day to you SW). The best thing to do would be probably wait. Wait and review later, when waters wouldn't be too stirred, dust will settle down and emotions of people too. There's just too much fuss to be absolutely correct, I can't help it.

4(-), if you ask me if I like it, my answer would be yes, sure. Do I see here recycling of ideas, then answer would be again yes, partially. But sometimes, you can't help it, it may not be truth, but it's seems like it. Or sounds. That quite describes this.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Last Thursday a friend who came to Lima for a concert, brought me from USA my expected copy of "The Incident", and the first word that comes to my mind is disappointment, from start it's clear that the 55 minutes track (Yes, it's a multi part epic, even when there's space between parts) is one of the most repetitive, boring and lack of imagination pieces I heard from this good band, I honestly don't know if Steve Wilson is any longer a Prog or an Indie/Alternative singer in the vein of Thom Yorke, with the difference that Yorke is original.

I'm not sure what is worst, if buying an album that is bad but you didn't expected anything or an anodyne release that has some good moments but offers only a handful of memorable instants after creating expectations in the fans, and honestly I expected much more from "PORCUPINE TREE" by this moment.

There's little to comment about Disk 1 "The Incident", because it's a long epic that flows with coherence but only a few interesting passages, but which IMO doesn't hold for almost one hour of music without boring the listener with one main idea not even completely developed and repetitive in excess.

Still the guitar is the instrument that carries the strength, being that Barbieri doesn't convince me in this album, except in the small solo on "The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train" and Gavin Harrison sounds absolutely predictable, who I must mention is Collin Edwind who always does a sober and competent job.

It's amazing that after several listens, nothing has got imprinted in my mind, but still can't say it was all negative, "The Seance" and "Circle of Manias" are strong and interesting, but that isn't enough for an extremely long track.

An epic is an adventure that a band should only embrace if they are ready to keep the listener at the edge of the seat from start to end, something that PORCUPINE TREE is not ready for, and that is self evident on the weak "I Drive the Hearse" that closes Disk 1 as we say in Perú "Sin Pena ni Gloria" (Without pity or glory).

Well, at last Disk 1 had ended and "The Flicker" is a new start, but it seems that the epic continues, the same tedious repetition of sounds between Alternative and Light Prog keeps invading us, if this song wasn't released by PORCUPINE TREE, nobody here would had even noticed it, at this point I don't necessarily ask for a masterpiece, just a sign of life from the band, but still can't receive it.

"Bonnie the Cat" at least makes a difference, the added noises and effects imply a preoccupation from the bad to prove they still breathe, the guitar and bass interplay is simply brilliant, at last a song to remember after the CD player is off.

When I expected that from this point things would be different, comes the deprecatingly boring "Black Dahlia", yes it's a cute tune with nice keyboards but they keep going over and over on the same idea without completely developing ever, beautiful basic idea but no depth.

The albums end with "Remember me Lover", even when never reaches altitude, I feel attitude in this track, the band tries to sound different, more aggressive and daring, with some good changes, but still not enough to save the album.

Despite I didn't liked "The Incident" it would be unfair to bash it", because there are skills, knowledge of music, good arrangements and pristine sound, but the music shouts average album, sadly we don't have 2.5 stars, so I will have to go with 2, being that rated much stronger albums with 3.

Hope they make it in the next release.

Review by Negoba
4 stars Modern Heavy Psychedelic Crossover Prog

Porcupine Tree's The Incident is probably the most anticipated album of a phenomenal year of new prog. Many fans of the genre know the artist inside and out, so I offer the perspective of a more casual fan. I have downloaded one album (In Absentia) and scattered tracks from other albums, all of which I've enjoyed. I am not familiar with the early PT catalog. This is the first album I've listened to repeatedly with a critical ear, specifically with a review in mind. I'm not quite sure if my favorable impression is based more on spending the extra time, or with the material itself.

So my current opinion is that this is my favorite Porcupine Tree material. I hear a greater range of sounds on this record including more dark electronica and nastier guitars, both of which I enjoy quite a bit. For the first time, I hear Opeth influencing PT rather than the other way around, and the Akerfeldt-ish riffing gives the heavy parts some cajones that I really hadn't heard before. In fact, the whole album just seems like Wilson is pulling from a more authentic darkness rather than an imagined one. Maybe the fact that he was inspired by specific, real stories got him a little outside of his head a bit. Maybe someone kicked his dog. In any case, his menace is a bit more convincing than in the past.

That doesn't mean this is the best album of all time of even of the year. But it's a very enjoyable listen that pulls on a variety of dark prog, sometimes purposefully derivative. The centerpiece track "Time Flies," which begins by listing the music of Wilson's youth, has multiple direct allusions to Pink Floyd. The most obvious is the main acoustic riff based directly on "Dogs," but there are sections reminiscent of "Time" and "Run Like Hell" also, covering PF's classics nicely. The title track sounds exactly like a Nine Inch Nails track, though Trent Reznor hasn't recorded anything as good in over a decade. Added into the mix is a healthy helping of odd time signatures which make at least these prog ears happy.

There's nothing here you haven't heard before. There is a plenty of pop sensibility, including even a couple big choruses. What is new is that the production is better than ever. In the past, Porcupine Tree has always seemed over-worked, almost clinical sounding. I'm sure Wilson still pores over everything with a very finely toothed comb, but the sounds on this album have a bit more life in them than the older tracks I have. The harmonies on "Kneel and Disconnect" are as good as they've ever been on a PT album. Some of the outros are overlong, but all in all this is quite good.

I've wavered between 3 and 4 stars for this album, but the album has grown on me. Especially when I'm giving more attention, I've really enjoyed the album. Even after 8-10 listens and reading all the lyrics multiple times, I haven't started to saturate yet. 4/5 it is.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars PT again tip-toes on the balance to repetative mediocrity with this album, which thankfully breaks Fear of a Blank Planet's heavy-handedness in favor of a more subdued, cohesive sound, but it stil only takes its listener on a trip to nowhere special.

Pitched as a single-track "epic", The Incident treads familiar territory for the band, albiet introducing a few new guitar sounds and vocal deliveries to distinguish it from predeceding albums. The band's trademark of heavy/light juxstaposition is intact, with the light moments standing out for me as the album's saving grace. There are some delicate textures and tender singing from Wilson which occasionally shine through an otherwise predictable set of songs. Thankfully, Wilson's lyrics are much better here than on FOABP, but fail to entice the listener into the story to any great emotional depth.

The album's heavy moments are-- like FOABP's-- largely useless, and appear only for the sake of satisfying the band's forementioned trademark. Take, for example, "Drawing the Line", which opens with meloncholy, day-dreamy effects, giving way to a big, noisy, repetative chorus whose chugging and banality borders on insulting. These moments are found throughout the album, perhaps most offensively in the instrumental "Circle of Manias"; the album seems to cry out to be left alone so it can pine out its sad story about a family torn apart by belief and tradition. Overall, I would compare this abum to the group's early (and much better) "Signify", which leans towards the ambient with punctuations of hard rock for effect. So too does "The Incident", but the songwriting can't decide how best to use the group's heavy sound, which is simply boring and with unconvincing intensity.

The rhythm section and Barbieri's keyboards are "ho-hum" as well, coming across as flat and unengaging; I can't imagine any of these songs sounding especially good live, and I feel like there is so much missed opportunity throughout both heavy and minimalist passages.

All that being said, the album is stil finely performed and produced, and it makes for fine background music. The trademark PT sound shimmers with just enough dark beauty for me to keep this one above the dreaded "just for fans" rating, but "The Incident" will likely leave honest Porcupine Tree fans wondering what direction one of the coolest bands around is going, and whether "cross-over" appeal simply translates to: making compromises in songwriting quality.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Despite releasing a string of consistently very good/excellent albums over the years the current decade has seen Porcupine Tree find a place they're comfortable with and hardly wandered from it. This is all well and good to a point, at least you know what to expect and if you enjoy their atmospheric heavier blend of prog, sometimes venturing into metal, then you're bound to find something you enjoy as the trend continues with The Incident.

The Incident is a double cd with the second disc being more of an EP consisting of four shorter songs, but more of this later. It's the first disc that's understandably going to get most attention and as has been highly publicised, consists of a single piece titled you've guessed it, The Incident. In reality it's more a sequence of shorter tracks segued together. The main meat and potatoes of the piece is made up of a number of tracks, often around the five minute mark joined by shorter sometimes atmospheric and occasional ambient sections. Only one part breaks the ten minute barrier (Time Flies) which sometimes leaves the listener wanting a bit more of certain bits as it disappears for good after a short stay. Time Flies allows the ideas to be extended a bit further but it's by no means a startling piece of music. A decent enough acoustic guitar led verse/chorus leads into Floyd territory with a guitar sound reminiscent of Dave Gilmour on Time from Dark Side Of The Moon which develops into an admittedly excellent guitar solo but you have to say they've done better.

The Incident does have some excellent moments though, none better than early on when The Blind House comes in after the heavy crashing, sustained chords of opening mood piece Occam's Razor. It's built around a dark riff, reminiscent of Opeth with a contrastingly melodic verse/chorus. Great Expectations, though short has a King Crimson style guitar riff and melodic vocals and it's one of those areas you wish they'd expanded on a bit more as after only one and a half minutes it's over and we're into the almost as short Kneel And Disconnect which is not half as good.

Drawing The Line is one of the weaker songs with its grating chorus but much better is The Incident where a sequenced keyboard gives way to an extremely dirty riff with some excellent drumming from Gavin Harrison, who incidentally as always plays impeccably but seems to get fewer opportunities to shine than usual on this album.

Some of the stronger moments are towards the end of the album with the lovely; to begin with at least, Octane Twisted which could have sat nicely on Stupid Dream until the metallic riffing starts and it's a dark piece of contrasts. The Séance sees a return to the mellower strains of the start of Octane Twisted which leads into the powerful riff of Circle Of Manias. The Incident closes on a high with a suitably melodic ballad, I Drive The Hearse.

Getting back to the four shorter tracks on the second disc, although a welcome addition to the main body of work, they do seem somewhat out of place. It might have worked better with another full disc. Still all four are pretty good but pick of the bunch goes to Bonnie The Cat with its inventive rhythmic structure as Wilson talks in synch over it.

There's no doubt The Incident is another very good album from Porcupine Tree but in the pecking order of their back catalogue it is their weakest since Lightbulb Sun. Still most fans of the band will not be overly disappointed; there is much to enjoy here. 3 ½ stars.

Review by The Sleepwalker
3 stars After waiting for a long time, here it is... The Incident. The Incident is an ambitious project; a 55 minute long piece of music, divided in 14 seperate tracks. The album is about several Incidents, like a car crash, a cult in Texas and the discovery of a corpse floating in a river. These subjects where the inspiration for Steven Wilson to write this album; when you hear about a car crash, it sounds somewhat insignificant... but for the victims the impact is huge.

Now the music on the album, which is pretty variated. The album moves from Industrial sounding electronic pieces to softer and more pop like songs. The result is a somewhat inconsistent piece I think. Some songs are among Porcupine Tree's best, while some are very uninteresting. The style of the band hasn't progressed very much, but instead of that the band has combined muscial styles from their earlier albums into one... and it worked out pretty well. The sound is pretty tough to describe; it has some clear similarities with FOABP and early Porcupine Tree, and the sound varies from heavy, distorted riffs to psychedelic trip-hop parts.

The album has some very good songs on it, like The Blind House, Octane Twisted/The Seance and the epic Time Flies, which has an incredible instrumental middle part. The album also has much weaker songs, like the intro, which is repeated once after Time Flies, and the poppy Drawing The Line. Luckily, the majority of the music on the album is very good. The second disc is not very special I think... Bonnie the Cat is amazing, and Remember Me Lover is very good too, but the remaining two tracks leave me cold.

In the end I think The Incident isn't Porcupine Tree's best, but it for sure isn't bad. I think the album deserves three or four stars, but I tend to lean towards three stars, so that's what I rate it. A somewhat inconsistant, but ambitious and overall innovative piece of music.

Review by LiquidEternity
3 stars The Incident is a dramatic artistic statement. On paper, anyways. I find that when I finally got this album, the exact same feeling crept over me that dominated my listenings to Wilson's first solo effort, Insurgentes. It's average. The man has written some powerful music, some beautiful music, some groovy music, some creepy music, and so forth. Well, here, as with Insurgentes, he just made some music. The high point of this album (aside from the second disc) is the ubiquitous nature of psychedlic grooves and bizarre noises in the background, saving this album from being completely barren and uninteresting.

First thing to note is that The Incident (the first disc) is not one massive epic or anything, like a lot of the hype made it out to be. It plays like a fifty-plus minute series of slightly related songs with nice segues between them and some filler tracks that share riffs. In short, not too much different from any other Porcupine Tree album. What makes this especially heartbreaking, though, is that the track listing of this album makes it appear like Porcupine Tree has thrown off the trappings of their previous flirtation with straightfoward rock and turned totally to progressive ideals--while this is less the case than any of theirs since Lightbulb Sun. At least on the first disc, this is true. It opens with a heavy little filler intro piece and then moves to The Blind House, a heavy and crunchy song that is probably the strongest in the suite next to Time Flies. Soundscapes and spacey tones do find their way in here, but nothing quite like the clever bits found on Fear of a Blank Planet. A few more fillers take place and then the track Drawing the Line comes up. This one is somewhat annoying or fantastically catchy, hard to say. This turns into the title track, built on heavy and ominous guitars. The vocals are bland here, however, and not particularly exciting or melodious (the exact problem I find myself still having with Wilson's Insurgentes, but with no other releases from Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, No-Man, etc.).

Your Unpleasant Family continues the music with some clever and dark lyrics, but more or less serves with The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train as a transition between The Incident and Time Flies. The latter is the high point of the first disc, and not just because of its length. Rather, it features an enjoyable melody, at last some creative instrumentation, and a fantastic guitar solo. This also marks the first time I have ever agreed with anyone who says that Porcupine Tree (at least post-Signify) sounds a lot like Pink Floyd. You've probably read it in most other reviews: it sounds very inspired by Animals, especially the track Sheep. Not enough so that it isn't pleasant, but enough that it is intriguing. The suite unfortunately goes downhill from this point, certainly not ending on any sort of powerful or epic note (it's not a requirement of mine that long songs end a certain way, but I do like to feel like the piece has gone somewhere, which is not the case with The Incident). Degree Zero of Liberty is the opening track reiterated. Octane Twisted starts promisingly acoustically, but it loses that flair to more of the same instrumentation. A well performed section in the middle to late parts of the song lifts it up a bit, but it's not anything we haven't heard from Porcupine Tree before. The final three tracks wrap up the disc with much of the same sound as the parts before, being interesting but more or less thoroughly unremarkable.

Disc two is in fact the shining point of The Incident, which is rather unfortunate. Flicker is a haunting and slow instrumental bit that clearly did not fit in the first disc's song cycle. Bonnie the Cat is built around drummer Gavin Harrison's idea of a twisted rhythm, and it really shines for most of its length. It possibly is the most progressive piece of music the band has made (not counting trippy psychedelia as fulfilling the traditional demands of prog, just for the record). Some of the vocal lines are weak, but the wicked groove of the rhythm section makes that kind of unimportant. Also, a fun little musical reference to Opeth's The Grand Conjuration is pleasant, and I'm assuming that's what it is, because for Wilson to plagiarize off his friend would be a sad thing. Black Dahlia has little to say for it aside from the fact that it would fit right in on Insurgentes, but Remember Me Lover is a beautiful and passionate ending to an album that has mostly forgone these sorts of emotions. This and Bonnie the Cat are the two clear highlights of the whole album, and Time Flies appears somewhere below them.

The Incident has taken the barren bleakness of Fear of a Blank Planet, removed the rest of the melody, inserted average songwriting and planning, and just in general taken a few steps down the ladder. It's enjoyable, and most Porcupine Tree fans will listen to it and be pleased, but in my opinion, for whatever it's worth, it ranks lower than any album after Stupid Dream. Perhaps it's only sounding that way to me because the band has set pretty high standards for themselves in the past. I'm not sure. But whatever the reason, this is not the magnum opus of the band. It's just an opus, kind of on the medius scale.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Do not be misled: There are some preliminary myths to dispel here. First of all, there is no fifty-five minute epic. There are no recurring themes and the constituent tracks are almost completely independent of one another musically. Most copies of the album have the parts divided into multiple tracks (it seems there are downloadable versions that do not), and that seems to be appropriate. Second, this is not a double album even though there are two discs. The band segregated an EP worth of music that had little or nothing to do with the concept of "The Incident." I expected something different with the second disc, given that the four tracks on it were considered different enough to be relegated to a home of their own, but nothing on it is remarkably different at all. So while there is still a massive amount of music in one package, it does not exceed the limitation of one CD. Third, and most controversially, I'd imagine, this album essentially isn't even progressive rock. Allow me to preface further commentary about the progressiveness of Porcupine Tree's 2009 release by stating that the band has created exceptional pop-rock music (In Absentia is chief among them- now there's an album that consists of almost all pop tracks, lacking any elements generally considered progressive, yet still earned my praise and clearly the accolades of many more). There are a few progressive cuts, but mostly this album is loaded with overcast alternative rock- again, not necessarily a bad thing, but just something to be aware of. But is it disappointing? Yes, that's fair to say, although not because of any hype from easy-to-please fans or overzealous reviewers praising an incomplete pirated copy they heard once. To be fair, the disappointment extends far beyond Porcupine Tree- many bands are taking the safest road and deliberately creating mainstream music for whatever reason. So many artists at the end of this decade who have impressed in the past are loitering in the realm of dullness and simplicity. I don't know why. The Incident is a letdown itself though, because a band that has created remarkable albums in very recent years decides to birth a whopping 76 minutes of music (on two separate discs, no less, as though the first 55 minutes is so special it requires its own disc) that is so unbelievably bland. Something this faceless and insipid is music that just about any band could have created, all but completely lacking the fingerprint of an otherwise amazing group. Upon hearing Insurgentes, my belief that even Steven Wilson's turds were gold was summarily shattered, and this album, while thankfully not bearing a really close relation to its noisy yet sleepy cousin, does little to dismiss my fears of the direction Porcupine Tree is taking. The music is one lump of mellowness despite a few heavy but not really memorable electric guitar riffs from time to time. Gavin Harrison is one of the greatest drummers in the business today, but all throughout this album, no one would know it (perhaps there's just something to be said for economy). Richard Barbieri seems to have a token role here, as his main job is to just fill out the sound (and when he does that he does so thinly). Colin Edwin follows the riffs and chords with little departure. Were I to have guessed, I would have said this record was merely a Steven Wilson solo album (yes, of course Porcupine Tree is a Steven Wilson solo project, the joke goes, but this is a bit ridiculous). Essentially, The Incident is a watered-down version of everything that makes modern-day Porcupine Tree an outstanding band. Overall, the music is dismal, stark, and characterized only by a constant niggardliness toward variation, with respect to both composition and tone.

"The Incident" Nevertheless, I will not divide the first disc into tracks for the purpose of describing them. "Blind House" is like a little brother to "Blackest Eyes," juxtaposing soft verses with hard-hitting power chords, and sandwiched between is a catchy chorus- a great start. "Drawing the Line" is okay, but smacks of indie pop rock, the likes of which other bands do much better. "Incident" is an electronic mess, with muttered and whispered vocals. "The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train" is simply stunning in its simplicity, employing a gorgeous choral Mellotron over sparse instrumentation- a perfect introduction to the next track. "Time Flies" is a purposeful homage to Pink Floyd's "Dogs," using the brilliant acoustic guitar chord progression and keyboards hovering the background. In that respect, it's something of a shame that this is by far the most inspired moment on the album- eleven minutes with moving, nostalgic lyrics and a stunning melody. There is also a nod to "Sheep" during this song with the electric guitar chords. "Octane Twisted" is an untidy romp through various textures of sound and minimalism. Mercifully, it transitions rather cleanly into "The Séance," a pleasing acoustic guitar-based song with elegant vocal harmonies. As a stark contrast, "Circle of Manias" is a disagreeable foray back into noisy metal territory. Other than "Blind House" and "Time Flies," the third standout member of this first disc is "I Drive the Hearse," which features intriguing lyrics, lovely acoustic guitar, and another outstanding vocal melody- a fine finisher. The bottom line is that there is nothing to distinguish "The Incident" from any record with a loose lyrical concept- with no recurring themes or melodies to anchor it, it just bumbles along with no direction- highlights yes, but direction, no.

"Flicker" A satisfying, easygoing pop song, this maintains the same sound and textures of the first disc and boils it all down into an undemanding but respectable song.

"Bonnie the Cat" More or less a repetitive experimental clutter, the second offering on the second disc is all over the place, with barking guitars, incoherent percussion, and other incompatible sounds. The fuzzy guitar, especially the squealing lead, is something I could have done without. However, the vocals are the focal point of this strange piece, though they are not melodic, but rather are almost spoken word. And yet in spite of all these criticisms, I do not find myself disliking the piece, odd as that may seem.

"Black Dahlia" This is a drowsy song that starts out with electric piano and Wilson's voice laden with quite a few effects- not bad, but certainly nothing to get excited over. Change the instrumentation just a bit, and give Wilson a twang, and this could have easily been a country song.

"Remember Me Lover" Here is another of Wilson's "angry love" songs. This final track, despite the length, is in the vein of popular alternative rock, except to say that I find the electric guitar refreshing. The heavy riffs placed aside the softer vocal sections, however, don't flow well at all, making this seven-and-a-half-minute finisher seem more like two or three separate pieces of music crammed together, although perhaps after the "epic" of the first disc, this approach toward music might just be a bad habit- or merely incidental.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. Well i'm sure it's no surprise that for my 2,000th review I have chosen PORCUPINE TREE's "The Incident". What is surprising to me that this comes on the very night i'm going to see them live in Toronto. In fact i'll be leaving right after this review with my daughter. I remember back in 2007 I thought that year was going to be the best year ever for me music-wise because my three favourite bands RUSH, ANEKDOTEN and PORCUPINE TREE were all putting out studio albums that year.They had only done this one time before back in 1993 with "Vemod", "Up The Downstair" and "Counterparts" respectively, but that was before I knew ANEKDOTEN and PT. Anyway back to 2007 and those three albums "A Time Of Day", "Snakes And Arrows" and "FOABP" I felt they were all solid 4 star albums but honestly I was wanting more. "The Incident" is a 55 minute "song cycle" as Steven calls it and it's pure bliss for the most part. Can't wait to hear it played just as it is on the album live tonight.

"Occam's Razor" has this powerful intro followed by acoustic guitar then more explosive sounds. A haunting atmosphere ends it. "The Blind House" is a top three, although I really should have a top five for this album. Here we go ! As this heavy intro blasts in and then it settles with vocals. Contrasts continue. Killer track ! So emotional. Check out the atmosphere 4 1/2 minutes in. Sounds come crashing back to end it. "Great Expectations" is one of the most moving songs on here for me. It features strummed guitar and vocals which make me feel so good. Electric guitar follows as contrasts continue. So uplifting. "Kneel And Disconnect" opens with piano, strummed guitar and synths as reserved vocals join in. Classic PT right here. Beautiful track. It blends into "Drawing The Line". Drums come in and vocals are next. The chorus kicks in at 1 1/2 minutes and I am not a fan of this, in fact i'd be giving this 5 stars if not for the chorus on this one. Love the guitar that follows though. It settles again as contrasts continue. "The Incident" has this electronic beat and processed vocals. Steven starts to sing in a reserved manner. Higher pitched vocals follow. Heaviness after 1 1/2 minutes. A change 3 1/2 minutes in to a brighter more uplifting melody. "I want to be loved...".

"Your Unpleasant Family" opens with strummed guitar as these humerous lyrics come in.The guitar grinds it out beautifully after a minute. "The Yellow Windows Of The Evening Train" is atmospheric with samples. Cool tune. "Time Flies" is amazing. Steven says that yes he borrowed the guitar riff from FLOYD's "Animals" album but changed it enough so not to get sued. Haha. I have to leave for the concert will finish this tonight. I'm back. The way "Time Flies" opens made me think of Finnforest right away. Just read his bio. This song opens with the words "I was born in '67 The year of Seargent Pepper and are you Experienced ?". A song about growing up. I like when the calm comes in at 4 minutes. It's dark a minute later and FLOYD-like. The guitar cries out 6 1/2 minutes in. We're back to the earlier melody before 8 1/2 minutes. Classic sounding PT to end it. Amazing song ! "Degree Zero Of Liberty" opens with a reprise of the start of "Occam's Razor" before it settles with acoustic guitar. "Octane Twisted" is an absolute killer track live. It opens so beautifully. Vocals and a fuller sound after a minute. Kicks in heavily before 2 minutes as all hell breaks loose. Then it settles into this drum led section with background synths. Kicks in like before then some cool guitar comes in. It settles down late to end it. "The Seance" is a top 5 for me. Love the suspense as Steven tells the story. It's so atmospheric too. "Circle Of Manias" is heavy duty and Harrison gets to have some fun.

"I Drive The Hearse" is my favourite song on here. It's Steven's signature isn't it to create a sad but beautiful song to end an album. This might be his best. My eyes were filled with tears when I saw them do this live."When i'm down I drive the hearse" You have no idea people. It kicks in at 4 minutes with some killer guitar.This is all about the lyrics though that really hit home for me. When they finished the 55 minute "The Incident" the crowd stood as one and cheered wildly. Steven looked up from his piano and smiled. Disc two begins with "Flicker". It opens with waves of synths. Just a gorgeous sound when it gets fuller. Dreamy vocals come in. Check out the relaxed guitar before 2 1/2 minutes. "Bonnie The Cat" is the song they ended the concert with (well except for "Trains" which was the encore). Atmosphere to open. Steven was very animated during this track. Some prominant bass and drums here. Guitar as vocals cry out follows. Contrasts continue. Heavy late. "Black Dahlia" is gorgeous. Richard wrote the music for this song. Melancholic and moving. "Remember me Lover" is another home run. Again check out the lyrics. It just gets better everytime i hear it. Some heaviness 3 minutes in and later after 5 1/2 minutes.

This album mixes a lot of what they've done before including Steven's solo album "Insurgents". This record has it all.

Review by russellk
5 stars PORCUPINE TREE's tenth studio album is the climax of everything the band has been working towards in the last decade. 'The Incident' gives us liberal doses of the stellar songwriting abilities STEVEN WILSON has developed since the early days, combining heavy prog with a metallic edge (as featured on 'Fear of a Blank Planet'), the prog-tinged alt-pop found on albums from 'Signify' through to 'In Absentia', and even some of the Floydian space-rock from as far back as 'The Sky Moves Sideways' and 'Up the Downstair'. In other words, this 55-minute song cycle is a summation of PORCUPINE TREE's career.

An initial skeptic, I have found myself increasingly convinced by this album. It's not only the many musical highlights that convince me this is a masterpiece of modern prog, but also the integrity of the song cycle itself: how it coheres both musically and lyrically. This piece is by turns beautiful, raw, thought-provoking, bleak and ultimately disturbing. And make no mistake: this is one song cycle, not fourteen songs tacked together.

The album begins with 'Occams Razor/The Blind House', two tracks to bludgeon the listener. The theme of the second track begins during the first, tying them together, presaging the heavy riff that packages this section of the song cycle. The song finishes with an even more powerful version of the riff, it that is possible. 'Great Expectations/Kneel and Disconnect' are two shorter tracks that on first listen are tempting to regard as segues, but these are strong tracks on their own, reminiscent of material from 'In Absentia'. They lead into 'Drawing the Line' with its simple but effective chorus, the raw emotion taking the listener's breath away. The band employ their instrumentation skills to great effect to build tension, raising the stakes as the cycle reaches the title track.

'The Incident' drives a stake through the heart of this album, laying out a post-modern manifesto in which rubber-neckers get to consider the reality of their own lives. The music is unutterably brilliant, the monotonous whispering and mechanical drums providing an industrial backdrop for the accusatory lyrics and that jagged, discordant guitar. The band succeed in that most difficult of all challenges: to combine music and lyrics to create something greater than the sum of the parts. 'Your Unpleasant Family' is a short, whiny segue into 'The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train', a beautiful, shimmering piece that perfectly evokes the dreamy, hypnotic sense of the title.

While the title track may be the conceptual heart of the album, for most prog listeners 'Time Flies' will be the centerpiece. For better or worse, WILSON decided to pay homage to (some will inevitable say 'rip off') PINK FLOYD, specifically elements of the album 'Animals'. The near-twelve minute track begins with a riff reminiscent of the initial riff from 'Dogs' and also highlights a riff from 'Sheep'. Other nods to PINK FLOYD can be heard throughout the song, not least in the central solo (though it is more tonal and less melodic than anything GILMOUR did). And, of course, the lyrical content owes a great deal to the message so carefully packaged on 'The Dark Side Of The Moon'. That said, the song grows its own personality once listened to a few times. Though simple in structure, it is so strongly executed it has become a favourite listen for me.

The song cycle now begins to fold back on itself, with 'Degree Zero of Liberty', a variant of 'Occam's Razor', emphasising the message of the previous track. Clever, so clever. 'Octane Twisted' grows from this track, a superb almost-instrumental, its lyrical guitar line repeated in 'The Seance', which is really an extension. 'Circle of Manias' brings in some crushing riffs before letting us down into the coda, 'I Drive The Hearse'. This is perhaps the most beautiful track on the album, a poignant way to finish the cycle and, like many of PORCUPINE TREE's earlier albums, is unspeakably bleak.

Most satisfying.

Oh yes, that's right, there's a bonus EP of four other songs written around the same time. They are all of exceptional quality, and to my mind far superior to the 'Nil Recurring' EP the band released in the wake of 'Fear of a Blank Planet'. Most albums don't have four songs as good as these, yet this is a mere bonus. Overall, with album art factored in, this album is an outstanding package that easily merits 'masterpiece' status in the context of modern prog rock.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars I have been moderately enthusiast about PT's music so far. Still, I will go and see them on October 14th in Brussels (opening act being no less than Robert Fripp himself!).

I have been listening to this album quite a few times (at least ten) before posting this review, and I have to reckon that it is quite a good album. I won't enter into the discussion of the "concept" though.

What's available on "The Incident" is a softer approach than their latest releases. Catchy melodies are present ("The Blind House"); but we all know that Steven is a really gifted song writer. Since I was not really found of their more metal oriented music, I can only be pleased with this release.

An upbeat / pop / catchy song as "Drawing The Line" is definitely one of the very good moments available: a typical PT song: a mix of tenderness and wilder parts. One of the highlight. On the contrary of the title track that holds elements I don't like from this band: heaviness mainly; since there are some melodic vocal sections and the closing guitar play is just gorgeous.

Like in most "concept" albums, there are several very short parts which aren't too convincing IMO (except the very good opener). Still, the finale of "Your Unpleasant Family" holds a superb and Floydean guitar break. But "Circle of Manias" sounds too heavy metal to my taste.

My highlight from this work is the long "Time Flies": it holds so many great breaks! It reminds me of the very early "Genesis" and Floyd of course. The vocal parts are truly moving and the whole is outstanding to be honest. One of the great PT songs for sure. Nice wink to the Beatles ("Sgt. Pepper") and Jimi ("Are You Experienced") in the lyrics as well (the opening phrases actually).

There are also some Crimsonesque influence during the complex and heavy "Octane Twisted". Quite well achieved piece of music. A total contrast with the quiet, mellow, melodic and beautiful "I Drive The Hearse". Another moving song from this album.

I wonder why the band released a two CD version since the whole of the music could have perfectly fit onto one (seventy-five minutes). Maybe because Steven considered that they didn't fit within the "suite".

The second CD doesn't explore the spacey and moving parts of the first disc, and could have been skipped IMHHO (except the last song).

The usual PT sound for "Flicker", some scary and heavy metal feel during "Bonnie The Cat", a mellow rock ballad ("Black Dahlia"). Fortunately, the longer and closing "Remember Me Lover" holds more texture and is quite enjoyable.

In all, this album is one of my preferred PT ones for quite a while. I am rounding this one up to four stars (from seven out of ten).

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Calling all stations: "Broadsword to Danny Boy, Broadsword to Danny Boy, the Incident has occurred " intones the gravelly English voice of Sir Richard Burton (a slight fantasy interpretation, if I may). The prog grapevine is now abuzz with all kinds of puzzled glances In Absentia, another panicked Fear of a Blank Planet while others opt for flaming Deadwings blasted from the Sky that Moves Sideways. Oh well! Must have been another Stupid Dream, thankfully there is the Lightbulb Sun to keep the torch ablaze. Now, we have crashed unexpectedly into the Incident.

With this new shocking album , time has come for a name change in going from Porcupine Tree to Porcupine Forest , as this work is engulfed in gloomier expanses, where thick and dense musical shrubbery vie with the luxuriant sonic vegetation, the primal dissonance of jungle noises, cold breezes whistling through the tall trunks and gnarled branches. This is primitive, raw, unstable and inherently disturbing modern rock music that has eschewed immediacy in melody and replaced it with paced moodiness and barely camouflaged contempt. For those of you who expected a more commercial "let's hit the bigtime" adventure, well, you do not really know Mr.Wilson, do you? He ain't no castaway fedexed basketball, lost on some Oceania atoll with a tooth-ached and desperately hirsute cuckold! Just scanning at the titles, you really get the opaque message : from the unsteady "Flicker" to the eerie "The Séance", via 'The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train" and the submissive "Kneel and Disconnect" , all is aimed at a revolutionary insight into our modern society's deep malaise. Not even greed can anesthetize the apathy: "I Drive the Hearse" for "Your Unpleasant Family", "Drawing the Line". Ouf!!! This is dire lyrical stuff, wading deep into negative emotions and corrosive nostalgia. Even on the sprightly "Time Flies", an unsettling impression pervades! So what's the music like, eh, guv? It's certainly not pretty psychedelia like in the early Pork days, nor is it some suave swirl into harder edged musical testaments of recent recordings. It is highly correct to assume that Wilson's 2009 solo venture "Insurgentes" has served as a platform/turnstile of change, infusing a moodier electro feel that SW had mastered in the past with Bass Communion and No-Man but given a darker, more somber coloratura blanket. There are still those huge collision contrasts between sweet and harsh , even more sudden and abrupt than before .The best word to describe it would be using the French word "angoisse": a combination of anguish and angst, as if De Maupassant's schizophrenia had shared a bed with a delirious Kafka.

The fourteen acts that permeate disc 1 are incredibly disjointed collages of atmospheric sounds, alarming stories wrapped in deep foliage, with occasional explosions of melody (the guitar solo on "Time Flies" is perhaps one of SW's most tortured) , no need for any track by track descriptive. This entire suite gives off a 21stCentury schizoid man's Thick as a Brick impression if you will, undoubtedly creating massive controversy, ridiculed by some, exalted by others and yet deeply respected by all for its courage, audacity and fearlessness. I know that fans and neophytes alike will need multiple spins in order to digest, comprehend and only then drop some kind of familiar buoys into the prog ocean, as the Incident has progressed again way beyond the established boundaries on which many pundits have lavished at times their slovenly praise. Wilson has balls, regardless whether you like or no like, he takes chances and stands by his craft. Corporate slut he is not! I have a feeling that initially the hardcore fans will swear by this Incident while the run of the mill hangers-on will find a way to eventually crucify the obvious (and intended) lack of accessibility. I for one have always admired rebels, underdogs and iconoclasts. Here are the new heroes of the Modern Age. Gavin Harrison has already anointed himself as the next Neil Peart (See him only once live, you will convert!), a tectonic drummer that has the rare combo of power and grace under all circumstances, adding the required oomph and bravado as well as knowing when to be silent. The steady rumble from bassist Colin Edwin never ceases to amaze but always in a modest manner, never too flashy or mindless. What can be said about Barbieri who frankly keeps improving steadily, never a flamboyant Wakeman or showy Emerson, preferring to introduce a cubist tendency in his keyboard imprints that give both concrete and abstract colorations to the whole scene. Disc 2 is even more cerebral on one hand yet keeps the last song as the "coup de grace", the magnificent Remember Me Lover, anointed with master class right from the first run through , perhaps SW 's acme in terms of heartfelt personal emotions expressed by his rather unique vision.

Yeah, it's dense and occasionally comatose, reflecting the doldrums society we live in and the absurd pretense of contemporary music's deep abyss of sonic feces. I have read meaningful descriptions of this record as the expression of weekday tragedies and media fueled paranoia, mixed with sound bites of a crumbling society and decaying artistic frustration. If my Fedex flight crashes in the middle of the Pacific, I would rather have a copy of this than some silly basketball anyway! But then I would need some kind of nuclear powered player to hear it. No win situation I guess!

4. 5 prickly branches.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I don't know how many more reviews you want to read about this album. So, in order to keep you awake, we'll try a slightly different approach. To keep things interesting I will not give you my own rating of this album but that of my wife :-)

Of course, she would never resort to geeky things such as writing reviews for this site but nevertheless there are reasons aplenty to give her a forum here:

First of all, I really miss the feminine point of view on this entire site. It's all too much about the form of things and less so about the feel. Secondly, my wife has excellent taste in music. Her favourite artists would enlist Depeche Mode, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Porcupine Tree, Underworld, Madonna and Opeth of course: there's no living with me if you don't like them. Third reason, who am I to argue with her? And most important of all, our meanings about this album don't differ all that much anyway!

For starters, we both single out the same highpoints and weaknesses. So our standout tracks are: The Blind House, The Incident (great industrial feel on this one), Time Flies, Octane Twisted and Bonnie the Cat. Weaknesses: the whiney chorus of Drawing The Line and the bland and predictable I drive the Hearse. Secondly, we both perceive this album as an interesting mix of In Absentia (general sound and prominent role of acoustic guitar again) and Wilson's superb solo album from last year (lots of dark wave and electronic influences).

What we don't share is our general feeling about this album. I'm slightly disappointed: the uneven quality, none of the tracks weighing up against PT's classics and feeling a bit cheated on the whole "it's one 55 minute song"-deal. My wife doesn't. Contrary to me, she doesn't approach this concept in a technical way as I do, she isn't looking for an intricate composition with recurring themes and motives like Jethro Tull's TAaB, but instead recognizes the lyrical cohesion and flow of this album.

So that's what I meant with adding the feminine angel here. Music isn't mathematics. They may help, but in the end, a simple bit of algebra can be as beautiful as the most intricate formula. Now, counting down two more days till our concert in Brussels 14/10/2009. Let's see if the guys can change my mind by pulling it off live.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars OK I'll admit it, at first I was totally disappointed. This was the album I had waited such a long time for! It was supposed to be an instant masterpiece! Right? Wrong! This one takes way more than one lousy listen to understand it's beauty. It gets better the more you listen to it because the concept is a little tricky but after you get the concept you get the album. I had the same problem with Fear of a Blank Planet and even Dark Side of the Moon. The music is just plain beautiful and atmospheric, just the way I like it, and although Time Flies seems pretty corny at first you get to love. I know it seems Wilson has gone commercial, but this is the kind of stuff we want to be commercial. If you gave this album up on the first listen, try another because it may end up being one of your favorites.
Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album might well be the disappointment of the year.

PORCUPINE TREE has been releasing great albums since the day they were formed. Even their first, "On the Sunday of life", was an entertaining collection of Steven Wilson's youth's ideas recorded in a disc. From there on, up to 2007's "Fear of A Blank Planet", the British band had never really let me down. That is, until 2009, with the release of "the Incident", probably their weakest album to date.

The album is made of two discs: on disc one, we have the long epic "The Incident", which is supposed to be the focus of the album. It definitely is the most important part of the record, but it's also the one that disappoints the most. Unlike previous long songs by the band (like the title track on this album's predecessor), "The Incident" gets tiresome after a few minutes, and it gets very close to becoming boring by the end. There's a lot of repetition of ideas and not precisely to create a sense of unity in the track but because it would seem Wilson couldn't come up with anything else. The track reeks of lack of inspiration. A few riffs and sections are repeated all throughout the song to make it coherent in the way of a rock leif-motiv, but that's pretty much the most interesting factor about this epic. Where are the outstanding melodies that PORCUPINE TREE has gotten me used to? Even Wilson's singing deviates from the norm, and not for the best. At times he tries to sound too "indie", too "alternative", but he comes up rather like an angry teenager. The music is, in general, rather mundane, with references to PINK FLOYD as always but also to other bands from another musical world, including KORN. Even fantastic musicians like Gavin Harrison seem to have decided to play it safe this time around. The band recorded their longest track ever, using the least amount of creativity ever, too.

I said that the title-track was the most disappointing, which doesn't mean it is the worst song in the album. It's just that for such a long epic, it leaves the listener wanting and expecting so much more. The really bad part of the album is the second disc, where we have four completely irrelevant short songs that could've been left out and would have had the same impact. Probably the least entertaining 20 minutes in the band's history, these four tracks have nothing that makes them stand out from anything recorded by any other alternative-rock band. The typical atmosphere and melody of PORCUPINE TREE's short songs is lost here. Though the rhythm section tries to make the situation a little better, Wilson and Barbieri's complete lack of inspiration make these tracks a chore to sit through.

All in all, an utter disappointment and the worst album in the band's career. While I think it's still better than most of the rock out there, that's just due to the sheer talent of the musicians, who manage to create decent music even when they fail. But in the entire catalogue of the band, it can't stand proudly next to "In Absentia", "Deadwing", "Fear of a Blank Planet", "Signify", "Lightbulb Sun", or any of the rest. For that reason, I'll round the 2.5 off this time, as it's necessary to point out how disappointing this 2009 record really is.

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'The Incident' - Porcupine Tree (9/10)

Porcupine Tree's 2007 release 'Fear Of A Blank Planet' really set the stakes high for the modern prog giants. Having crafted a flawless masterpiece of proportions that few bands ever reach, it would be difficult to write a follow-up that would satisfy the aggregate of rabid fans yearning for music that was even better.

What a intelligent thing for Steven Wilson to do in that case, then to change the rules?

Instead of making one disc, he makes two; the first totally encompassed by a 55-minute long epic. The way I see 'The Incident;' it's exactly the same thing that Dream Theater did with 'Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence.' After releasing the total masterpiece that was 'Scenes From A Memory,' the only way to hopefully trump that album would be with a double album... with an epic encompassing an entire disc. Sound familiar? But enough about prog metal...

...or maybe not! 'The Incident' further develops Wilson's infatuation with metal, throwing in plenty of riffage worthy of the metal label. While Porcupine Tree still isn't necessarily a metal band, 'The Incident' is not afraid to experiment with different genres. There is electronic music here (the title track,) a dose of post-rock (the 'Yellow Windows' interlude sounds alot like 'Sigur Ros') and of course, the Porcupine Tree signature sound, which melds progressive tendencies with pop sensibility, and beautiful soundscaping.

I will be honest however, after a handful of listens, I was a bit dissapointed with the album. I resented the fact that there were 14 tracks on the first disc, and many of them short interludes. I couldn't bring myself to think that this lived up to beautiful works like 'Deadwing.' Still, more listens to the album trickled into my everyday life, and I realized that taken as a whole, the album really does work. There are alot of details and flourishes in the music that would be impossble to detect without some profuse, and dedicated listening.

The second disc of the package doesn't pass me as being part of the same album as the first disc, but more or less a separate work under the same title. Think of it as the Incident's equivalent to 'Nil Recurring' or 'Staircase Infinities...' The songs are good, but none of them really strike me as fantastic, although I have a soft spot for 'Black Dahlia.' As with the main work, these songs also require a fair bit of attention to appreciate, although not nearly as much as the epic.

The solemn mistake that many people make with this album is expecting another 'Fear Of A Blank Planet.' This is not a sequel, this is 'The Incident!' For what it is, the album is a haunting, and beautiful concept piece, and while it's not as good as it's predecessor (how could one really beat 'Fear' anyway?) the album takes a life of it's own, and while it may not be one of the bands best works to date, its still a steady contender for any album of the year list, if one gives it the time it needs to grow.

Review by Zitro
3 stars What is it? An ambitious prog rock project involving a 50-minute single composition that deteriorated due to personal tragedies and band infighting. Therefore, this is an incomplete collection of vaguely connected musical themes, many of which are uninspired and overlong.

Voice (3.5 stars) ? Vocally not inferior to recent albums in technique, displaying the usual blend of strong harmonious singing and variety of moods. However, the melodies are more rudimentary, less pop-oriented, and on occasion border on irritating. There is also a certain feeling of detachment that I do not believe was the intention, weakening the impact. The lyrics are also all over the place and are not immersive. At one point, he samples himself whispering in a loop for a few minutes too long. Whispering also is used in 'Bonnie the Cat' distracting from the excellent musicianship within.

Sound (3.5 stars) ? The sound production seems carefully put together and matches the quality of modern Porcupine Tree recordings. The band sounds very good, if with notable less chemistry and fewer chances to stretch their skills. The album, with its numerous shorter songs forming a concept, cater to the vocalist, pushing the band to the background or for brief interludes, especially in the first half of the album. The instrumentation is pushed a bit more towards the front on 'The Incident' song, with interesting synth loops and doom metal riffs cutting through. It is not until the 2nd half of 'Time Flies' where we get an extended musical passage with good atmosphere and memorable guitar solo. The only other instance is excellent musicality in the first disc is 'Octane Twisted', with driving riffs and an industrial ending that showcases their great drummer. The band attempted to revisit the full prog on 'Circle of Manias' but now they sound terrible. The second disc is a series of outtakes that allow a bit more room for the band, with 'Flicker' having great sound,'Remember me Lover' having a great angry riff, and especially the percussive 'Bonnie the Cat' with its amazing polyrhythmic and prog metal outbursts.

Song (2.5 stars) ? Initially announced as a 50-minute prog rock composition, the songwriting clearly deteriorated during the process, with a fractured-enough feel that had band separate its sections as separate tracks. Some of these tracks are interludes with little to say that only add space in terms of album duration (two of which are a 1-chord riff). There is bizarre repetition of themes (the song succeeding 'Octane Twisted' repeating the same themes), short undeveloped songs, and the supposed centerpiece 'Time Flies' which is pretty bad as a song, does not even have original ideas choosing to instead rip off Pink Floyd themes, and of course it has to be the one song that is over 10 minutes long. The album's climax 'Circle of Manias' is prog rock at its worst with complexity taking over musicality. Some of the shorter pieces carry good musical ideas but are not always developed enough. A few full-fledged songs are successful, such as 'Blind House' bringing back the excitement of their 'In Absentia' album but with a surprise electronica section, 'Octane Twisted' letting the band shine without losing control of song structure, and the Yes-inspired 'Flicker' on the second disc.

Key Tracks: Blind House, Kneel and Disconnect, Octane Twisted, Flicker, Bonnie the Cat

Review by lazland
2 stars I have been listening to prog for 32 years now. I regard Porcupine Tree as one of the finest exponents of the genre that have emerged in recent years. I love their music. In addition, in those 32 years, as can be seen from my reviews on the site, I have albums ranging from great favourites to ones I feel are poor.

However, in all the years I have been listening to prog, there is one word I have never used to describe an album. That word is BORING, and, yes, this does deserve that title in capital letters. I have tried, tried very hard. From the moment I downloaded the album, I have given this album some 20-odd listens, but the first impression still remains.

In fact, so dull do I find it that I can only really pick out one track that really captures my attention, and that, of course, is Time Flies, and that is for all the wrong reasons.

Being a great neo prog fan, I can put up with nods and tributes to great bands, and can appreciate the influences that the classic bands had. However, Time Flies is such a basic rip off of the Floyd's classic Animals that it is, to me, a wonder that Waters & Gilmour haven't reached for the telephone, and called Messrs Sue Grabbit & Runne for such a flagrant breach of copyright law.

The rest really does melt into a repetitive mixture of post modern progressive music. The band are really capable of so much more, Wilson especially, who is far too mature and capable a songwriter and lyricist to come up with such a concoction of teen angst as this.

The biggest disappointment of the decade, and an album, I feel, will go far down the PA ratings once the initial excitement of the first reviews settles down into realism.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I wanna say I like some PT albums ( from their past). After release of that new album I read many reviews , and decided just to test it. To be honest, I am not a lover of neo-prog or some modern bands, which play repetetive pseudo-progresive,taken from old great bands vaults, and adapted to unprepared audience. From other hand, I know few great new names in progresive, which possibly will help this style to survive.

Some PT albums was psychodelic and dark, and had their faces as well. It's pity, but that time is gone. And that new album is good evidence: brit-pop plus indie plus some heavyness plus symphonic citates all are mixed in boring and faceless mix. Just few bright moments ( even not full songs, but moments!) could be found in that double (!!!) CD of strange format (55+20) minutes, is it regular double CD format?).

I can survive strangest experimental sounds and unusual rhythms and song structures, at least we all like prog for it's innovations and experimentalism. But to accept that huge overdose of un-original and boring music is not possible at any conditions!

For sure, they are not only band, playing some secondary mix of old prog , symphonic rock cliches, some heavy guitars and brit-pop spiced music. I believe, that music is business, so you must to fight for wider circle of listeners, often at any price. But very often this fight bring you easy money and destroy your good name.

Again, I believe that many band fans will like this album. In fact, it is not too different from their some previous works. So - if I once again re-confirm to myself, that there are a few modern bands, playing original and great music, many band's fans received one more dose of music they like.

Can't give recommendations - I think it is just album of music which is made for different listener and according to different standard. I prefer best Radiohead works - same brit pop, psychodelia and heavy rock in moments but much more original and fresh in moments.

Review by TheGazzardian
2 stars The Incident is a great idea with less-than-great execution.

I am a fan of this type of idea: the idea of how a single moment ripples 'forward' in time and can affect many other things that could not be anticipated. If Hitler's great-great-great-great grandmother had stepped funny one day, she might have fallen, landed on her head, and died, and we'd be living in a very different world today. This album takes a look at these moments - these small moments of times, these 'incidents', whose ramifications are far-reaching and entirely unpredictable, from a personal view.

Okay, so that's the concept, and Steve Wilson even promised us a 55 minute song to pull it off. And a 55 minute song we got (people may argue whether or not it actually is one song, stating a lack of recurring themes, etc...but if we can count Genesis' "Musical Box" as a single song, despite the fact that it is constantly changing and doesn't repeat itself, I don't see why we can't do the same with "The Incident" if that's what Wilson wants to call it.)

As should be obvious, "The Incident" is the meat and bones of the record. In fact, Porcupine Tree even gave it its own disk so that we would KNOW it was important, despite the fact that the remaining content would have fit on the same disc.

The music is pleasant, although I feel it is less inspired than their previous album (Fear of a Blank Planet). When I heard Fear for the first time, I didn't think much of it, but each successive listen increased its appeal. I cannot make the same claim about The Incident. While it has some moments that do seem to have the same level of inspiration, it has at least as many that are nice to hear but reveal no further depth.

As well, the concept is not very clear or obvious, and I would not really know what the album was about were it not for the title and reading about it before it came out.

The album does have a few moments which I do genuinely enjoy. The Incident (track, not the full song) is an excellent example,with Porcupine Tree creating a great, spooky atmosphere with their use of effects and their heavier instrumentation. Octane Twisted/The Seance is another favorite part of mine, and I love the way that the two have repeating themes (parts like this help the song feel more holistic to me).

Unfortunately, the song has too many weak points for me to consider it truly a masterpiece. For one, the ending, "I Drive the Hearse", feels drawn out and not very interesting compared to some of the parts that came before. "The Yellow Window of the Evening Train" feels like it was added just to make "Time Flies" stand out more, as it is entirely forgettable. "Time Flies" itself is another nice track, but it really doesn't feel very creative compared to some of the other stuff on the album, making the fact that it is the longest section of the song drag on a bit.

I stopped listening to the second disc after a few listens. It just didn't feel important enough that I would keep listening to it after the first disc, if I have to get up and put another CD in (or change which album I am listening to in iTunes). The tracks on it aren't bad, but they aren't great either. For some reason, Bonnie the Cat always makes me think of King of Comedy off R.E.M.'s Monster.

Overall, there is better music by this band. And, in the year it was released, we have many other better albums to listen to as well, so it doesn't even stand out for its time. Without any truly crowning moments to make this album stand out, I don't really see what a fan of progressive music would gain from it. As much as I hate to do it, I must give this album two stars. For Fans of Porcupine Tree, but there's not much here for others.

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars It's the best album ever in progressive rock, no it's a piece of crap. It's a dessert topping and a floor wax?

Well, when confronted with many extreme options, the truth often lies somewhere in the middle, which means that The Incident is a really good dessert topping prog rock floor wax piece of crap.

If you like all of Porcupine Tree's releases, this one won't disappoint you. PT is one of those bands where I have to get the new release as soon as it's out. It was released six days before I had an incident of my own and it will now be indelibly identified with this period in my life. It also doesn't hurt that Mr. Wilson is of my generation. The album theme seems to be about the angst that us folks born around that time are experiencing in these days much as Fear Of A Blank Planet and Nil Recurring is about the angst of the current generation of teenagers.

Musically speaking, there is no change in direction here and PT is known for a few. This can be a good thing or a bad thing for some. I'd also like to add that I do appreciate getting the main album and the EP in one set at the start, unlike FOABP/NR, which were fine as separate things.

On an interesting side note, I was looking at the CD and saw my face reflected in the hard plastic cover the same time I was seeing the hand with the face behind it. I don't know if this was intentional, but it's a nice package.

Review by JLocke
3 stars Oh, how I love to see the variation of ratings this album has gotten thus far. It means that it's different enough from the band's usual output to divide a fanbase. As far as I'm concerned, that is a good thing!

So, what is THE INCIDENT? Well, if you look at it from my perspective, it's Steven WIlson's first attempt in years to venture back into actual 'Prog' territory. What I mean by that is simple: it's not ''In Absentia''. And no matter how loud some PT fans may howl, there never will be another album like ''In Absentia''. The best thing for us to do is move on along with the band, so that we won't be disappointed by any of their efforts post-2002. I was guilty of not doing that with ''Deadwing'', but have since found a new liking for it than my initial reaction. I think in time, the same will be said of many of the reviewers who have given this album a extra-low score. Right now they hate it, because it isn't what they wanted. Notice nobody actually says the album isn't any good; they justify their brutal ratings by saying that while the album is good, it isn't 'Porcupine Tree good'. In other words, THE INCIDENT isn't up to the Porcupine Tree's usual standards. Well, shouldn't that be up to Porcupine Tree?

And of course on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are people handing out five-star ratings like candy where this album is concerned. I don't think anybody who would actually sit down and think about it could agree with this analogy, either. The truth of the matter is that THE INCIDENT is good. It's not great, and it's not horrible. It's just . . . good. I would say it boarders on being simply 'decent' at times, but still has enough redeeming qualities to keep it in the 'good' range. The reason why I do not rush to my computer right away to write a review of something is because I want to make sure I have heard the music enough times in order to truly give an accurate, unbiased review. I think by this point, a few months into the release of THE INCIDENT, I am prepared to do just that.

As I said before, this album is a return to form for Steven Wilson. For years (arguably ever since ''Stupid Dream'') he has written and performed music that has leaned much more in the 'Alt. Rock' direction than 'Prog Rock'. Many Prog bands have attempted to go 'pop', and failed. Luckily, Wilson is a good enough composer to evade most pitfalls others have fallen into. Indeed, even when at his most modern and accessible, he still manages to add a flare of originality to his work that many musicians (including myself) are deeply envious of. The band's first commercial 'hit' of sorts was ''In Absentia'', and to this day it still remains my favorite Porcupine Tree record. It manages to capture my spirit and lift me up into deeply emotional places despite being full of commercial aspects. At its heart, this project will always be progressive and original, and that I think makes all the difference.

However, with THE INCIDENT, Wilson and crew have taken a step back into their Prog roots and decided to write an epic that spans the length of an entire compact disc. Accompanying the piece is a second disc full of more traditional rock songs in the vein of ''Deadwing'' or ''Fear of a Blank Planet''. So half the set is an attempt to reach out to the Prog side of the fanbase, and the other half will appeal to the more recent fans who have only just begun to discover Porcupine Tree's music. At least, that's how it seems to have been planned. I don't necessarily think it was always successful, but for the most part, it delivers at what it was trying to do, I think.

The title track, the 'epic' that everyone is so divided about, is really a collection of anecdotal lyrics which at first do not seem to be interconnected at all. This album is much less lyrically-driven than past efforts, and I suppose it was a nice change of pace. Still, I would have preferred another concept record with an actual narrative, but again, that's my ''In Absentia'' fandom creeping in where it doesn't belong. The songwriting is good, and the musicianship solid, as is the case with nearly every PT album, but what I was disappointed to discover at first was how empty this record is. What I mean is . . . there is a lot less substance than what you may expect.

Breaking it down, I would say three or four movements from ''The Incident'' actually stand out to me as something special. The opening, ''Occam's razor'', is rather weak, as is the section of the piece bearing the same title as the album. Both songs feel as if they are completely unrelated to each other, and both also seem to missing a lot of actual music, with dead space and background noise filling up huge gaps at a time. This CAN be interesting when done sparingly, but it happens so frequently throughout the whole thing that I began to feel drained after awhile of not hearing any real music. Sadly, this feeling still hits me no matter how many times I revisit ''The Incident'', and so I suppose it will always bother me a bit. But i did give it a chance to grow on me. Sometimes I just can't be swayed from my initial impressions of things.

That's not to say the piece as a whole isn't any good. Plenty of fine musical moment highlight and immortalize this album for me in many ways. I'm not like some of other reviewers here who couldn't point to a certain moment that affected them. For me, some points such as ''Time Flies'', which comes at the halfway point of the whole epic, really touch me emotionally. I mean, it's a clear rip-off of the ''Animals'' record by Pink Floyd, but it sure as hell beats all that moody, noise-rock crap that seems so ever-present on this particular outing. Sometimes a little familiarity can be refreshing. Especially in situations like this one.

Another really cool, groovy moment for me that I could listen to for hours is the ''Octane Twisted'' - ''Circle of Manias'' section. It rises, falls, then rises again to an entrancing, heavy guitar groove that puts me in mind of Meshuggah. The Tree also did this on their last full-blown studio effort, ''Fear of a Blank Planet'' during the ''Anesthetize'' track, and I had the same reaction then. I just love music that can lock in to a particular riff for long periods of time, yet also keep the listener enthralled without boring. So yes, that whole section of ''The Incident'' I also love.

Finally, the soft, melodic ''I Drive The Hearse'' that immediately follows the section I just described. It's probably my favorite part on the whole record. Somebody else already said described it as 'weak', and I am inclined to fear for that person's mental health, because I find it to be a compelling, lovely piece of music. But, to each his own, I suppose. Frankly, the only way somebody could find this song 'weak' is if they only like listening to overly-technical, pretentious jive. ''I Drive The Hearse'' certainly isn't that. It's very calm and laid back. A nice contrast to the aggressive groove-metal-inspired section that preceeded it, really. That's why I did not include it in my last paragraph, even though it follows immediately after track-wise. It feels like a completely different song, and really not part of the rest of the piece at all.

Something also brought up that I do not agree with is that nothing ever feels connected in this piece. While the long pauses and lack of instrumentation for those long bouts I described can indeed cause the song to feel disjointed, I do hear moments where previous melodies are revisited, and that is enough to make me feel the the piece flows better than others would have you believe in their reviews.

As a whole piece, ''The Incident'' works well enough to please fans, but newcomers will more often than not be turned away by the track's length, and as for whether or not it succeeded at being 'Prog', well . . . again, some people may not think so, but I don't care what 'style' you want to group this into; the bottom line is that the concept is very progressive, You won't see Nickleback doing a 55-minute track any time soon. Get my point?

Now, for the second disc. The remainder of the songs, with the exception of ''Flicker'', feel like throwaways, and I wonder why PT even bothered including this other disc, except for maybe they wanted to add some variety, and also these songs had more input from the rest of the band. Unfortunately, it shows.

Any time Steve Wilson stops captaining the ship that is Porcupine Tree, nothing fits musically. You've got ''Bonnie the Cat'', which is a very good track for the most part, but it's very jarring and disorienting at first, not to mention there is a guitar riff in there that is exactly the same as the chorus is Opeth's ''Ghost Reveries''. It rocks, but it's already been done before. That's a Dream Theater move, Steve, and you've done it twice in one album. Very unfortunate.

As I said, I really enjoyed ''Flicker'', and despite the obvious lack of direction, ''Bonnie'' is good. The remaining two tracks aren't much to write home about, though. ''Black Dahlia'' has its moments, but for the most part will rapidly fall down my list of favorite PT tracks, and as for ''Remember Me Lover'', well . . . I don't really remember it.

So there you have it. A good long track, two good single tracks and two forgettable ones. Not anywhere near a 'two out of five', but certainly not a 'five'. I think some people here are being much too harsh simply because they had incorrect expectations. At the same time, I can't believe how many people are considering it a 'masterpiece of progressive music' when it is so clearly not.

As for me, I give it a solid three. It's good, but not great. If you're a fan already, you'll like it, as long as you keep an open mind. Everybody else might have a harder time wading through the murk just so they can enjoy the few brilliant parts spread throughout the record.

Review by Chicapah
5 stars When I joined up with this joint over three and a half years ago one of the first new-to-me bands I discovered was Porcupine Tree and for that I am grateful because their bold creativity has gone a long way in restoring my faith in the future of prog rock. In a nutshell, founder Steven Wilson and his cohorts make the kind of music that pushes all my buttons. I collected almost their entire catalogue of recordings and enjoyed hearing how they evolved over time into being what I consider the modern vanguard of the genre. In fact, I deem their pristine "Fear of a Blank Planet" to be the best album of the decade. No joke. That brilliant CD is the most poignant and brutally honest portrait of late adolescence/teenage angst and apathy since The Who's phenomenal "Quadrophenia" and the enveloping music is flawless. With that lofty assessment in mind, I'd lowered my expectations for "The Incident" simply because I didn't think it possible for them to equal their masterpiece and I was correct. They didn't. But they came damned close, delivering everything I love about this group without taking for granted or forsaking the unique characteristics that make them the force of nature they are. They're still growing. They're still exploring their unlimited potential.

The opener, "Occam's Razor," sounds like a massive, disgruntled upstairs tenant stomping on the floor of his flat, raining ceiling plaster down on our heads. Except it's God Almighty and he's had it up to here with the confused, vile melee going on below his peaceful heavenly abode. He pauses, stomps again, then broods while waiting for a response. To His disgust, mankind answers with more of the same old immoral crap in "The Blind House." The band hits it hard with Gavin Harrison's ferocious drums leading the charge as the group expertly employs their trademark manipulation of both light and heavy motifs to create magic. Steven's naked lyrics never fail to connect the dots and here he exposes the mind-control methods of the perverted monsters that quarantine their flock and cloak the sin of their unconscionable rape of the innocents beneath their ugly, unsanctified pastoral posturing. "Pray and violate/abuse your trust/false gods must/purge their lust/a family that lies/to seal your fate/to take the weight/of their self-hate," Wilson sings. At one point the song drifts into a sort of cosmic waiting room but God's indignation at the end is as violent and harsh as His inescapable justice. That gem is followed by "Great Expectations," a short burst full of the romantic PT approach that I can't ignore. It's also a preview of the mosaic pattern of presentation this album will adhere itself to. Essentially it's just a simple tune and I admire the self-restraint they impose by opting not to stretch it out into something it ain't.

"Kneel and Disconnect" is a somber piano, acoustic guitar and three-part harmony piece that bemoans the drudgery of a life lost in the futility of the human obsession with finding a fulfilling "career." For the lengthier "Drawing the Line" Gavin's finely-tuned tubs create a smooth, rolling sensation on the verses that stands in stark contrast to the stringent edge presented in the chorus and the swaying guitar solo is effectively disorienting. The words portray a man who has been under the thumb of the devil far too long and is finally taking back his soul. "Recording all my problems onto memory cards/your compassion unmoved/unto others what they always do to you/the most twisted of your rules," Steven rails in exasperation. They segue seamlessly into "The Incident," where a viscous, undulating synth groove sucks you into its irresistible tow and a sinister aura builds steadily up to Harrison's striking entrance. One of the many charms of this group is how they toss in a healthy dose of metal at just the right juncture to press their point home and they do that here to emphasize words describing the protagonist's panic at finding out what a sick puppy he's become. "When a car crash gets you off/you've lost your grip," he confesses. Later on the dark skies lighten a bit and the music becomes almost uplifting as he ponders the idea that all his gruesome neuroses stem from his desperate, narcissistic need to be loved and he repeats that revelation like a mantra. It's the cornerstone of the CD in more ways than one.

"Your Unpleasant Family" is a small ditty of passing importance but it's an example of how Steven shares his ordinary yet relatable thoughts and his slashing slide guitar work provides a nice change of scenery. The instrumental "The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train" emits a dense beauty not unlike a Monet painting as eerie synthesized voices appear in the aural mist like ghosts. Severely strummed acoustic guitars give "Time Flies" a driving urgency and by the time the full ensemble jumps in on the second verse to broaden the song's scope you're hooked like a marlin. Wilson's David Gilmore-ish bright- as-a-beacon descending guitar chords are spectacular and the floating instrumental break is contemplative and patient. The wicked guitar ride that ensues festers like doubt before it explodes in a fit of rage and frustration and at the tune's end the fragmented notes linger, suspended in air like afterthoughts. Steven has learned what everyone who crosses the threshold of 30 finds out in that "after a while you realize that time flies/and the best thing that you can do/is take whatever comes to you/'cause time flies," he admits. No one escapes the ticking of the clock, not even rock stars. In "Degree Zero of Liberty" God has been roused from His serene rest by our rude goings on once again and He throws another room-shaking tantrum to remind us that He's the ultimate landlord and He can evict us at any time if we dare push Him too far.

"Octane Twisted" has the signature PT melancholy, dreamlike texture that leads to a strong metallic interlude in which Gavin displays his ability to dominate and astonish with his amazing technique. It contains a great line that plunges to the heart of many a progger: "Give me something new, please, something I can love," he croons. "The Séance" is an extension of the previous number's spooky vibe but it's also a subdued roadside rest stop of reflection that culminates in a wall of terse acoustic guitars. "Circle of Manias" is an all-out foray into their metal wardrobe as they take you on an exhilarating ride that makes even this aging geezer bang his noggin. Disc 1's finale is its crowning jewel, the enthralling "I Drive the Hearse." On most of their albums there are always a few songs that are extraordinary and this is definitely of that ilk. It's awesomely arranged and performed, Wilson bares his soul in the remorseful lyrics and the song's gradual evaporation at the end is suitably deep and dramatic, thanks in no small part to bassist Colin Edwin's complimentary bass lines. "Silence is another way of saying what I want to say/and lying is another way of hoping it will go away/and you were always my mistake," Steven laments. The older you get the more likely it will be that you'll feel exactly the same about someone in your past. This tune is gorgeous.

Disc 2 is different in a sense because it's more of a combined group-writing effort but there's no dip in quality at all. "Flicker" owns a hypnotic feel that flows like a stream and it's one of those cuts that warrants careful attention being given to what's going on in the background. The musicianship is mind-boggling. The Ecclesiastically-inspired words are excellent, too. "Nothing is new here underneath the sun/all of the big new charlatans will sneer at us/barely a flicker of the light to come/only the people who always think they know best," Wilson intones, knowing they can't please everybody. On "Bonnie the Cat" we get a glimpse into the decidedly creepier corners of their psyche. Gavin's flaming footwork flabbergasts throughout and they all indulge freely in some intense molten metal exercises that'll singe your eyebrows. Keyboard man Richard Barbieri supplies the electric piano- heavy score for "Black Dahlia" and Wilson penned the lyrics for this low-key but lovely air of introspection. Again he draws on Solomon for wisdom. "There's nothing here for you under the sun/there's nothing new to do, it's all been done/so put your faith in another place," he sings. The album closer, "Remember Me Lover," is an instance of this talented band transcending even my high expectations. It's a magnificent composition containing a tapestry of varied textures and hues as well as a blend of hard and soft passions that thoroughly satisfies the prog mammal in me. I love no-holds-barred lyrics about relationships and Steven outdoes himself here with lines like "I didn't wanna feel like a slave to your mood swings/and I'm not saying anything I wouldn't say behind your back," he warbles without a trace of shame. They leave you with a devastatingly fierce coda that leads right up to the brink of a bottomless abyss. Yeah, boy, they wowed me again.

Obviously, I'm an unabashed PT fanman. I admit it. They deliver the brand of groceries that keep me alive and invigorated. If you don't care for what they've done since the millennium then you should skip this and save your lettuce. On the other hand, if you still spin "FOABP," "In Absentia" and "Deadwing" on a regular basis I then you'll be delighted with what they've produced here, as well. I get turned on by most everything they do from the pristine drum tracks to the gargantuan guitars to the thought-provoking lyrics and topical themes Wilson deals openly with. They haven't let me down yet. So how does a band follow up the album of the decade? With the album of the year, that's how. 4.6 stars.

Review by Prog-jester
2 stars With "Time Flies" being the only track I really liked here (it was obvious since it's based on some borrowed tunes from well-known Prog bands of the 70s, but I wouldn't regard this kind of homage as plagiarism), I wonder how the next album would sound like. I don't care for this one much, it's too bleak and powerless, I'm ready for the up-coming one which I hope will bring back my faith in PORCUPINE TREE. The glory days of "The Sky moves Sideways" or "Deadwing" are long gone now, each band should move further, but the direction taken by Steven Wilson & Co is somewhat confusing. Not recommended after all
Review by poslednijat_colobar
5 stars The biggest stardom of contemporary progressive music

Porcupine Tree have established themselves as the most popular contemporary progressive rock band. This is not accidentally. They have their own style and their own conception of making music. They are trademark everyone have to conform with. Their newest album - The Incident, again shows their late mature style of playing and composing. Playing - because as a musicians they show real virtuosity and professionalism in making the production; composing - because Steven Wilson's songwriting is absolutely unique and impossible to be made by some else. Moreover, he makes some huge mistakes in earlier career with a lot of boring repetitions in his compositions. Now everything is estimated ideally.

Porcupine Tree's unique style have attracted a lot of fans of experimental, psychedelic and space music, including a lot of Pink Floyd's fans. Porcupine Tree is truely the seccessor of Pink Floyd, because they are the only one band to use the same conception of making music as Pink Floyd. Of course, in The Incident we can hear harder tunes, typical for the band. However, these harder tunes are again estimated perfectly for the most necessary moments of the album, where they followed the conception of the album.

What about the album? The Incident is a concept album about the life and some philosophical problems around it. The structure of the album is really innovative and the production of the album is perfect. Without being flawless, this album shows the genius of Steve Wilson. As I said this album is not flawless and some of its flaws can be feeled from the first time you hear the album. The most important flaw is in the fifth song - Drawing the Line, which is a middle class alternative song. Everything else on the album is highly impressive. The Incident is a mixture of psychedelic, space, crossover and metal music, combined in typical PT's style. Gavin Harrison is highly impressive on the album. I think his style on The Incident is perfect and adds some more intense sound. Probably the best progressive drummer now. The best moments on the album are The Blind House, Time Flies (in Animals' style), Octane Twisted, I Drive the Hearse and Remember Me Lover. The other songs are mostly links between these main moments. All these make The Incident one of the best PT albums and one of the best albums of 2009. 4,5 stars.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars 7/10

"The Incident" is a surprisingly really good effort by PT.

After the highly acclaimed "Fear Of A Blank Planet", Porcupine Tree release their fourth album with their new sound, the sadly underrated "The Incident". There was a lot of excitement for this album, and everybody couldn't wait for it to be released. I was able to get it a week before it's official release, and I must say I was expecting a lot less.

The style is pretty much the same as the last couple of albums from the band, some heavy metal influences as well as progressive/ Pink Floyd ones, psych rock, ambient,romantic ballads and catchy melodies. The structure of "The Incident though is much more different than the previous efforts of the band: in fact, all the first CD contains one long suite, "The Incident", divided in 14 songs that perfectly flow, thanks to some repetitions of some of the main themes, as well as different, brilliant ideas. Definitely one of PT's highest peaks of the last ten years.

The second CD manages to keep the same level as CD 1: thanks to songs like the relaxing Flicker, or the tense and at times violent "Bonnie The Cat", and the ending song "Remember Me Lover", which contains lots of romantic melodies and lyrics.

Unfortunately, this album will be surely forgotten, as it will get lost in the middle of all those huge masterpieces that PT released previously. But "The Incident" is a surprisingly really good effort by PT, even though it is getting a little underrated.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A grower

Edit: Ignore the following review. The album is much better than I gave it credit for and I need to rewrite this. Ironically, this album grew on me while I lost most of my appreciation for Insurgentes. I've raised this rating to 4 and reduced Insurgentes to 3.

At the end of the day, The Incident simply feels like a great recipe that was unfinished, undercooked, choose your cliché. My honest opinion is that most artists require a certain amount of time to prepare each feast, and in this case Wilson used most of his kitchen magic in preparation of the exquisite "Insurgentes." That album struck me as a great progression for Wilson as an artist and a very satisfying experience for the listener. The Incident, while chalk full of promising bits and pieces never comes together as a great album. It feels lost, it meanders, it tries everything in the tackle box but the fish aren't biting. The intent may very well have been to make a "looser" album as a change from the clearly well structured FoaBP, he may have been trying to force the listener to accept something less defined. Sometimes albums like that can be a real adventure but in the case of The Incident it just didn't happen.

There are some really fantastic individual tracks here that jump the rating to an immediate "good-3" for me but that's as far as it goes. "Octane twisted" is a good track with the gentle Steven intro just launching into ferocious rock, the kind of real punch I wish Rush were still capable of. Songs like "The blind house" and "Time flies" in particular have this middle-aged angsty melody that Wilson is every bit as capable of tapping as he is teen angst on earlier work. I know exactly the feelings he is lamenting in a "suburb of heaven" that "seemed to make so much sense." I shared the same time and place, and the speed with which life passes becomes painfully clear to anyone past 30. While the lyrical concepts of the album are loftier than that of course, what is important to me is the emotional connection which come in fits and spurts throughout this album. Yet unlike "The Wall" where the minor pieces and connecting tissue always felt as wonderful as the meatier tracks, those pieces here feel more or less like outtake PT riffing and drifting. Harsh perhaps, but after so many plays it never feels as complete or as special as Insurgentes, In Absentia, or even FoaBP. It feels like something that would have succeeded much more as an EP, with the best material streamlined into 28 minutes.

Review by evenless
5 stars So there I was, in Seattle on September 15th 2009.

It was a special day. Why? Because it would be the official release date of my favorite band's new album and they would start their INCIDENT tour in Seattle that very same day in The Moore Theatre at 1932 3rd Ave. I had never heard the album until that day. This would be a great environment to absorb it for the very first time. The first riffs of the album already gave me goose bumps. What an energetic band and what a great album. After September 15th this album would only continue to keep growing on me !

So after I got back home in The Netherlands the Special Edition of The Incident had arrived and I was eager to listen to it again, again and again. Now I could also hear the 5.1 remix of the album on the DVD-A. And even better: I would go see them again on October 12th in the Heineken Music Hall. I went there with my wife and some very close friends and wow, it sounded even better than one month before in The Moore Theatre! The set list was pretty much the same, but I didn't care. This was awesome and even my wife, who's not really into progressive rock like I am, was enjoying herself a lot ! All great stuff and wow, I can't simply describe how much I enjoy that great guitar solo on "I Drive The Hearse". That's just awesome !

And now what? I'm waiting for December 2nd and I will drive to Cologne with a very good friend then in order to see their show once more in Palladium. Can't wait. I'm exited already ! Maybe you guys should read some other reviews on this album as well, because this one was written by one of their biggest fans and I simply think this is one of their very best albums, because it has so much variety on it. Maybe you have to be a fan in order to like it so much as I do, but who cares, I can only rate it the full 5 stars. Sorry guys ! ;-)


Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "The Incident" is the 10th full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Porcupine Tree. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in September 2009. "The Incident" features both a full album and a seperate second disc with a 4 song EP. Disc 1 contains one 55:08 minute long concept story, sub-divided into 14 tracks that seque into each other while disc 2 features the 4 EP tracks. I recently read an interview with frontman and main composer Steven Wilson, where he explained that he wasn´t fully satisfied with the fact that the band had chosen to release "Fear of a Blank Planet (2007)" and "Nil Recurring (2007)" as two seperate releases. He didn´t feel that "Nil Recurring (2007)" got enough attention compared to "Fear of a Blank Planet (2007)". So this time around, when Steven Wilson had written some songs that he didn´t feel fit the overall concept of "The Incident", he opted to release those songs on an EP which would be released with the full album. So with "The Incident" you get a full album plus an EP for the price of only the album. A real treat if you ask me.

The 14 tracks that make out the 55 minutes long concept story on disc 1 are quite the exciting journey to my ears. As always it´s the melancholic emotions that are in focus and the songs go from subtle quiet parts to more energetic and loud ones. The songs are generally shorter than usual except for the 11:40 minute long "Time Flies". The choice of track order is exceptionally well thought out IMO which makes for an excellent listening experience. It´s obvious that the songs were written for the concept and they work well within that concept. Tracks like "The Blind House", "Drawing the Line", "I Drive the Hearse" and "Time Flies" are simply born "classics" in Porcupine Tree´s discography. Many of the shorter tracks are very enjoyable too. Most work as atmospheric interludes that help bind the album together. I have to give a special mention "Your Unpleasant Family" too because the lyrics made me smile the first time I listened to the song. Great lyrics on that one. The 4 tracks on the EP are of the same high quality as the material on the main album. "Flicker" and "Black Dahlia" are pleasant high quality songs but it´s mostly the experimental "Bonnie the Cat" and the beautiful closer "Remember Me Lover" that stand out.

The production is excellent. Powerful and perfectly mixed. One of Steven Wilson´s best IMO.

Porcupine Tree albums usually takes a while to sink in for me, but "The Incident" really nailed me to the chair from first listen. It´s melodic, memorable, progressive, powerful yet pleasantly subtle. It´s the most complete release by the band so far. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
1 stars Perhaps if we stop calling Porcupine Tree progressive rock, they will once again make progressive rock.

For me, this album completes the transition that most people would probably argue started with Stupid Dream. (Personally, I feel this trend started slightly on Deadwing, and has only gotten worse from there.) This trend I'm speaking of is moving away from progressive music, to music much more in the alternative rock/indie/rock-pop scene. For me, Deadwing hinted at it, Fear Of A Blank Planet greeted it warmly, and now The Incident is soaking in it. It really is a shame for my ears. I hope this is just an experiment for Wilson and will not become a normal path for Porcupine Tree. Hopefully they will embrace the very escense of progressive rock and progressive to a higher level of music.

I suppose I should preface this review with two facts. One, I am a fan of this band. I am a fan of Steve Wilson and I think he can do amazing things and write very intelligent lyrics (and music) when he wants to. There are plenty of examples from the bands back catalogue, as well as from Wilson's recent solo album. Two, I do not like pop music. I do not like indie music. I find these genres too boring and uninteresting to take enjoyment out of them (aside from the occasional song). If you like pop/pop-rock/indie music then you will probably be able to soak in much more enjoyment out of this album then I have.

On to the disc. Initially I was very excited to hear the Tree was going to release a fifty-five minute song, especially after the disappointing FOABB. I thought this would be a return to form. Sadly not. First of all, its not really a fifty-five minute song, but fourteen individual songs stuck together with some vague connections between them. This would have been alright if the music was anywhere near enjoyable. Musically this album is very uninspired. Diminished atmosphere, very limited, and much more in the pop/indie direction than ever before. Lyrically this album is also a bust as the lyrics are even more juvenile than FOABB and aren't anywhere near the sophisticated and intelligent melancholy lyrics that Wilson is so adept at writing. There are a couple of somewhat interesting instrumental breaks occasionally thrown in, but certainly not enough to keep interest. The second disc is better, but no where near great. The music feels very flat and unproductive. Similar to the first disc, there are flickers (pun!) of enjoyment, but they are too fleeting. Another complaint I have is the sound quality. I was expecting excellence in this realm as well, being Mr. Wilson seems to be an audiophile. Perhaps its because I don't have the latest in 5.1 surround sound stereo or anything nearly that upscale in terms of listening equipment, so perhaps the sound quality is actually better, but I shall never know. (Perhaps a plus for this album ;-))

All in all, this album was a disappointment to say the least. Its a shame to hear quality musicians produce such banal music. I have yet to use a one star rating, but am afraid I must here. I am still a fan of this band, if only for their back catalogue and the hope that they have fully explored this world of music and are ready to move on (or back) to better things. Fans of pop/indie music will probably enjoy this. Fans of the old atmospheric Porcupine Tree probably will not. Sad but true, the biggest disappointment of 2009 to be sure (and I certainly hope it doesn't win the title for collab album of the year). One star.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Steven Wilson and company shows excellent craftsmanship on this most recent effort of their, but the moments of true brilliance seems to be few and far away this time around. Unless one really fancies mellow, sophisticated music with strong singer/songwriter leanings that is.

The 18 tracks on these two Cds are very much a mixed affair though. While the mellow and subdued tracks and themes does dominate, and most of them as far as I'm concerned lacks the small extras that transforms them into stunning sonic experiences, there's also quite a few numbers where the contrasts between acoustic guitar or piano-lead themes and harder-hitting riff-based passages are utilized to good effect. There's aalso a few quirky, heavier compositions that should satisfy those not too fond of the mellow stuff.

But by and large this is a subdued effort with select heavier passages and tracks rather than the opposite. The epic length Time Flies are among the most succesfull tracks, and is a rather good example of what the rest of the CD has to offer.

Review by Gooner
2 stars What a mess! As someone else wrote here, there is no "epic" on CD 1. The only track on disc 1 that is even remotely prog.rock is _Time Flies_ which is a nice ride and a perfect balance between PT's Delerium years space period and their current heavier sound(they finally got it right). _I Drive The Hearse_ is a nice mellow track in the Floyd/Crimson mold. Other than that, the other tracks either sound like a poor imitation of Opeth or a dead horse beaten repeatedly with power chords. Nothing cohesive. no recurring themes - just some strange sound effects and keyboard noodles in between tracks.

Disc 2 is the only thing that really saves this album from being a well done turkey. _Remember Me Lover_ is probably the finest PT track since _The Sound Of Muzak_. Classic PT sound with the amazing vocal harmonies and literate lyrics from Steven Wilson. The other 3 tracks are reminiscent of the _Stupid Dream_ era, but nothing really stands out. For fans only, this one(unfortunately). 2 stars.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Porcupine Tree prove longevity is still possible in the world of prog.

PTree are undoubtedly one of the most influential groups of the past decade. Their albums in the early years are as weird as it gets with some dedicated to one sole idea and one song. Now on this latest release they present another one track conceptual album.

The main reason to purchase this is the 55 minute epic title track. 'The Incident' is a multi movement suite that features many songs merging seamlessly together to capture a narrative concept concerning a road accident, which is becoming popular on prog concept albums (The Human Equation, Octave).

The Incident is excellent in every respect, musically and lyrically it delivers, merging crunching metal guitars and ambient soundscapes of mellotron effortlessly; shades of dark and light. There are some tough fuzz guitars on these tracks and those melodic ethereal vocals of Wilson have never been better.

'Time Flies' is Porcupine Tree at their best, an incredible composition that is compelling and powerful. It is the highlight of ths very competent album.

The second CD features about 20 minutes of extras, at least they feel like it. They are Ok but no where near the epic title track. Its a bold move to release an album in this manner but it delivers and if only for 'The Incident' it will be hailed as a classic Porcupine Tree CD. It does not measure up to 'In Absentia' or 'Deadwing' but is still an excellent album, showcasing the sheer inventiveness and musical virtuosity of Porcupine Tree. I can't wait to see or hear them perform this live. 4 stars.

Review by jampa17
3 stars "Kneel and disconnect" ?just disconnected-

First, a three star review is not bad OK? In fact, is a good but not essential album and I think this is the perfect album the exemplify that.

The heavy riffing of Wilson guitars here and there are really cool, the more atmospheric parts played with effects and keyboard oriented are good, the drumming of Harrison is great, as always, dynamic and fresh and is evident that the players understand each other in the best form. Is that enough to make a great album? My most honest answer is that no, is not enough and I will try to extend a little.

The music is enjoyable most of the time, especially if you like Alternative Rock with long arrangements, which PT is the best example and maybe the most successful Alternative Rock band in prog. The problem that I found of this production is the lack of any emotion what so ever. The vocal limitations of Steven Wilson are evident and at the end, his interpretation is lame, boring and cold. Most of the time, I feel that the music rescue that but hearing Wilsons vocals I just wonder how far is the next instrumental break, is just like that.

There's no emotion shared in this music, no matter if the song talks about anger, sadness, happiness or whatever, he just brings out depressive vocals and I feel so empty about it. So, maybe the PT fans are use to it, but I feel that Deadwing and In Absentia, Wilson brought out a little more emotion and the music is more alive than here.

For new fans, don't start here if you want to hear Porcupine Tree, listen to In Absentia better. For the rest, if you like Alternative Rock in prog, I suggest Oceansize more than this. Of course, if you don't want emotion but just pure cold catchy music in a depressive way, here is your album.

I wonder how cool could be PT with a better singer, of course, Wilson is the essence of PT, but I might like it a lot more. No highlights in this album, it's supposed to be a conceptual album so, give it a try if you like the description above, or if you don't agree with me about the essence of music. 3 stars.

Review by Menswear
3 stars Eddie Murphy syndrome.

Poor Eddie. Just grab a People's Magazine and check out how grabbed by the throat this guy is. I mean, 6 children from 4 different women? The old wallet must be worn. I have one word for you: alimony.

Steven Wilson also suffers from too many 'projects' at the same time (sorry Eddie). He gives, and gives and gives...and what's left for the poor Porcupine? Crumbs. Hey, who could endure such a musical brain hemorragia? Who could brag that they can take care of 4 or 5 projects at the same time? Something will suffer. Just like Eddie's movies, I guess.

Well, the Incident surely suffers from lack of attention. Wilson being so busy everywhere, the older child has lacks of coherence and has a hard time to be even. The fire's gone most part, but there's still good moments. If you could take some ideas from No-Man, Insurgentes and could have a monumental statement.

If Clive Nolan was the most busy man of the 90's, Steven Wilson is clearly THE title older of this decade.

Review by Sinusoid
3 stars I really wish THE INCIDENT was the epic only...

The main album THE INCIDENT isn't bad by any means, but after the incredible hype surrounding it and my love for BLANK PLANET, this is a letdown. They seem to be regressing to what DEADWING represented, but with a bit more of a symphonic touch. The guitar sounds are more vibrant and less metal, and its the easiest difference I notice between this album and the last album.

The reviewers here seem pretty split on how the epic ''The Incident'' works; some say it is a full- fledged epic, others claim it's nothing more than fourteen disjoint songs. I say it's halfway in between. The opening theme in ''Occam's Razor'' is somewhat reprised in ''Degree Zero of Liberty''. I actually enjoy more of the shorter tunes like ''Your Unpleasant Family'', ''Yellow Windows'', ''Kneel and Disconnect'' and ''Circle of Manias'' (the only piece that sounds like it could fit on BLANK PLANET) for the atmospheres. ''I Drive the Hearse'' is my sentimental choice pick even if it's a tad cliche.

There are a few fits that I have. The title track is the black hole of the epic with a horrible drum- machine sounding beat and tacky trip hop checks. ''Drawing the Line'' has a nice piano intro, but the chorus brings out the weakest of Wilson's nasaly indie vocals. ''Time Flies'' has potential, but it lasts a tad too long and the name checking of albums at the beginning is cringeworthy at best. Still, ''The Incident'' epic is a pretty interesting piece of music that is on the bubble of four stars had one thing been taken away.

The extra EP at the end makes no sense. The combined time of the EP and the epic could fit on just one disc, but (it seems like) for continuity's sake, they are separate. If the main album has its charm, the EP is practically disposable. There isn't a track worth remembering off here. The presence of this bonus disc ruins my rating of THE INCIDENT since this is how it's packaged from the beginning.

Review by Flucktrot
3 stars With Incident, the Steven Wilson train appears to be running out of steam. All the signs are there for an utterly average album: little outside contribution from guest musicians, trying to follow up from a generally well-received concept album (Fear of a Blank Planet), and--most importantly--an obvious lack of cohesion and musical ideas.

Devoting lots of space to ambience and atmospherics may fool some as powerful musical ideas, but I'm not buying it. In the same vein, haphazardly repeating a few unremarkable melodies throughout the album does not do all that much to build coherence.

Based on the above, you may think that I view this as a bad album. Certainly not! However, the band is somewhat a victim of past success, as each new album must add something unique to the catalog, or else risk fans simply turning to previous material when in the mood for some Porcupine Tree. That's the case with me: in Incident, I see a well-produced album with a few engaging melodies, but find myself simply much preferring previous albums when I need some PT.

Fortunately, there are two major exceptions to this feeling: Time Flies and Octane Twisted. Whether you view the former as somewhat of a copycat (and I do not), it's a good song regardless. The latter is the PT that I enjoy: rocking out, with plenty of action from Harrison (which is noticeably lacking throughout much of the album).

All in all, I'm just not sure what PT was attempting with this album, as there is some pandering to fans (i.e., Time Flies), some exploration of new avenues (via tender ambience), and some simply uncreative songwriting (Exhibit A: the incredibly uninspired quarter note, power chord intro sequence).

Here's hoping the guys find time between tours to rest up and find the direction and inspiration the seems so lacking on Incident.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An album that helps us think Big!

I think, the beauty of enjoying progrock music is the total experience on listening the music not in song-by-song basis but the whole album as one experience. Doing so, at the end we can only say the entire album instead of which songs are the major hits of the album. This kind of prog attitude helps me enrich my total understanding how to see things entirely not on piecemeal basis. Yes, in the past it did not happen that way because I knew rock and prog music based on the song instead of album. Say "The Musical Box" of Genesis, I was not aware (and I did not really care) what album this song was. So was the case with "Roundabout" I did not quite care about the song being part of Fragile album. In some cases, I was forced to THINK in an album-way like when I knew Tull's Thick As A Brick or Yes' Tales From Topographic Ocean. But still, the thinking was more on "songs" instead of "album" in its entirety. For example I liked The Revealing Science of God, so I kept playing the song only and not trying to play next track or I rarely did that. In the case of Genesis "Foxtrot" I tended to play Horizon - Supper's Ready - Can Utility and The Coastliners. Why? By that time we were not used to think album but think on the basis of song.

Lately we knew what was so called as 'concept' album that forced us to think about overall storyline, for example the Rael story in The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. In a way, our love on prog music has educated us (especially myself) to think holistically. It does matter to me as this, in a way, relates to my professional life as Strategy Consultant. The way I learn enjoying prog music has helped crafting my competence to be a good consultant...and well yeah ...talking about business strategy, we have to think in a holistic way, not piecemeal ....seeing the BIG PICTURE. Thanks to prog music! You rule the world, really!

Well sorry for the long introduction that you might have thought that it has NOTHING to do with Porcupine Tree's "Incident" album review. You are wrong. This album reminds me back to reflect on what good progressive music is all about - helping people to create better life, better world. We are given by God a major responsibility to take care the world around us. Enjoying progmusic helps us create the nuance to think in a big picture and shaping our motivation to take ownership of that responsibility. That's the way I think. Prog has helped me a lot in shaping my life, including this excellent album by Porcupine Tree.

I have been a long time fan of PT since I got the live set Comma Divine that blew my mind the first time I heard their music especially through their groundbreaking "Waiting" performed wonderfully by the band. Since then I kept buying their albums and EPs. Not all of them are excellent but most of them are good and excellent.

I got this CD just recently from a friend of mine, Nico, who has just visited the US for his business trip. He asked me what thing he should buy for me and I asked this one. Finally I got it. Thanks, Nico! I am so excited listening to this album from first track to the end. I did not really care the song titles as the music plays seamlessly from one track to another with a very good ambient that makes me enjoy the listening journey from start to the end of CD 2. Looking at the duration, actually this album fits into one CD. But, I have observed that CDs with album duration greater than 65 minutes usually will experience technical glitches couple of months later because, probably, too much information is stored in one optical CD. I think the albums from The Flower Kings have duration of more than 65 minutes in one CD. It usually starts with some problems later. It's better this album by PT stored in two CDs.

The music of this album flows very nicely with some variations of ambient style, stunning guitar solo, powerful riffs and nice vocal line. I find the drumwork as well as bassguitar are very good. Keyboard is of course an important part of the album. Porcupine Tree is masterful in creating soundscape. During the course of the album you will find how the soundscape master, Steve Wilson, takes his role in creating great total experience to the listeners. You can enjoy the subtleties when you play it with decent sound system set. As I enjoy the music, sometimes I looked at the track title which was written as "The Incident" (6th track) and later on I found again in "Time Flies" (9th track). Why? Because in those two tracks I found something progressively different than what I experience with other tracks. But again, the good thing is that I enjoy the music its entirety. What I am happy is that the music of Porcupine Tree takes largely the Pink Floyd style but improve it in so many ways, like inserting great and powerful riffs, vocal harmony and excellent sound production. Even though Disc 2 is basically additional songs that are not part of overall storyline, bt they still sound like parts of the whole album.

Overall, I highly recommend this album to all prog freaks as the music is really excellent and very easy to digest. It might be this is the kind of new generation prog music. The fans of Porcupine Tree MUST have this CD and the fans of Pink Floyd, you should try it and I am sure you will happy that the souk of Pink Floyd music is still alive until now and possibly in the future. By the time I am finalizing this write-up, I am at the middle part of "Time Flies" where it has a well crafted interlude with stunning guitar solo. Oh man's really great interlude and it's so rocking! (look at the drum beats, it's sooooooo different!). Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Time flies... when you're enjoying yourself

Released in 2009, 'The incident' is Porcupine Tree's tenth studio album. Although on the face of it this is a double CD release, it is really a single CD and an EP, and even then the whole lot could fit onto one CD. While not a concept album as such, the first CD is occupied by a single track running to some 55 minutes and is described as a 'song cycle about beginnings and endings'. The phrase 'The incident' reflects a situation Steve Wilson came across which was signed as a 'Police incident', and his reflections on the far more humane circumstances behind the practical but disassociated signage. This led to him reflecting on other occasions where the cold summarising of a situation failed to capture the emotional reality of what had happened. A number of these are then reflected in the 14 sections which make up the track. Conveniently, the CD release is manufactured to have each section as a separate track, rather than having the obscure sub-sections sometime used.

These sections vary greatly in length from the brief dramatic guitar fanfare of the opening 'Occam's Razor' to the almost 12 minutes of the magnificent 'Time flies'. Overall, the piece is constructed more on the lines of 'Supper's ready' or side 2 of 'Abbey road' rather than of 'Close to the edge' or 'Thick as a brick'. What I mean by that is that the sections here are by and large autonomous, and can be listened to in isolation. As with all great prog epics though, the whole is of course much more than the sum of the parts.

There is a fine diversity to the content here, with pop orientated rock sitting perfectly alongside offbeat time signatures and reflective sensitivity. At times our feet are tapping out a beat, at times we are impulsively singing along, and at times we are listening intently to processed vocals and disguised melodies. The title section/track even strays into symphonic territories with delightful orchestration.

Steve Wilson's love of all things Floydian comes through strongly on the aforementioned "Time flies", which draws in sounds and styles from several different eras of Pink Floyd. This track was selected in edited form for release as a single. As with any composition on this scale, "The incident" is not for the feint hearted. While certain passages are pretty accessible, it takes quite a number of listens, and ideally attendance at a live performance, to properly get it.

While I mentioned earlier that the tracks on the second disc could have been accommodated on disc one, Porcupine Tree wished to emphasise the fact that 'The incident' was a complete piece, not just a succession of individual songs. The four other tracks recorded for the album were therefore placed on a separate disc (a sort of 'Nil recurring, part 2'). Each of these is an individual piece, with no connection to either the main title suite or the other tracks on the EP. That said, these tracks are very much from the same mould musically. They range from the pop harmonies of 'Flicker' to the full on thrash of 'Bonnie the cat', the 20 minutes or so of the EP offering as much diversity as on the main title epic.

If I have a minor gripe about 'The incident' as a whole, it is for me just a little too tight. It may seem strange to criticise an album with a 55 minute track as too tight, but not a second is wasted here. I would have liked to have heard a bit more in the way of instrumental development, including greater use of lead guitar soloing and repetition of themes. That though is just a personal thought,and should not put you off what is a superb prog album for the 21st century.

Review by Andy Webb
4 stars The undeserved bashing needs to end

Porcupine Tree is a widely loved band in the progressive community. Since the early 90s, the band has released a number of classic records, from the quirky debut On the Sunday of Life to the more metallic and incredibly diverse In Absentia. With their latest album, The Incident, the band's second album on the acclaimed (and also declaimed) label Roadrunner Records, host of many a prog-lover's bands, the band truly exemplifies the sound they began to approach back in 2002. The album is essentially one 55 minute long epic, with an EP length disc 2. Comprised of a more metallic edge, a fiercer outlook, and a dynamic range of sonic excellence, the album truly is a treat. Sadly, compared to 2007's great Fear of a Blank Planet, many were skeptical with the release and the album's ratings quickly began to decline. Although this album may not be your everyday Porcupine Tree album, it certainly packs a fantastic punch and is a great display of this band's excellent prowess.

Porcupine Tree is known for its more psychedelic output of the 90s. In the 2000s, the new drummer Gavin Harrison announced almost a new era for the band, with a sharper turn in the Progressive Metal direction with his appearance on In Absentia. The band has steadily progressed in that direction ever since. On this album, a whole slew of influences can be heard, from a slightly psychedelic to mellower rock, great punchy metal lines, and even some more art-pop oriented regions all appearing on the fantastic epic. Although this may not reach the level of the superb long epic like "The Whirlwind" or "Mei", but it certainly marks a superb display of modern prog. Steve Wilson has shown his compositional knowhow many a times, and this album only extends this. With tasty sections and rhythmic and harmonically beautiful sections, this album certainly has a delicious proggy flair to it. Even on my first listen I was captivated by a few incredible tracks, most notably Time Flies and I Drive the Hearse. Although the lyrical theme can seem silly at first, it quickly delves into more philosophical matter and at times has some superb lyrics. Overall, the album is a real treat. Although at times one may speculate the band has sold into a more poppy region of music, the album really stays true to its original genre and is a great album for the year.

I'd like to talk about two tracks on this album that really strike a chord with me on this album - Time Flies and I Drive the Hearse. Both are incredible, impeccably composed and mastered and overall just wonderfully done. When I had first heard Porcupine Tree around 2007 or 2008, I was still a huge metalhead and thought most of the band's music, which was overall much lighter, was boring and not listen-worthy. Despite the fact, I got The Incident. When I heard Time Flies, I was blown away. The gentle chords, the simple yet complex rhythms and the potent atmosphere created by the truly genius Richard Barbieri really made a spectacular effect on me - it showed me the power of more "simple" music; that music didn't need to have shredding solos or intense riffing sessions, that it truly could just be this incredible blend of psychedelics, popularly leaning melodies, and an overall wonderful atmosphere that could make up a spectacular song. Overall, this track is genius and a wonderful gem on this album.

The next real kicker for me was the final movement, I Drive the Hearse. This is probably one of the most pop-oriented tracks on the album, yet I absolutely love it. The incredible simplicity of it, the fantastic lyrics, and the overall spectacular atmosphere of the music really turned me on to this classic of the PT discography. Although it may seem one of those "sell-out" sort of tracks, it really is an almost retro-PT track, reaching into the back catalogs of PT's sound and extracting a truly marvelous song - and an incredibly addition to this album.

It's quite sad how this album is poo-pooed by so many critics. It really is a great album, and although it may not be a masterpiece of the band's discography, it really is a magnificent addition to a line of great albums. Yes, the band seems to be moving in a more popularly leaning direction, but this album is in no way pop - it still has that PT vibe, the slightly psychedelic, almost metallic, superbly progressive, and overall great atmosphere associated with a Wilson production. Overall, the album is a great addition to anyone's collection that is yearning for a more accessible but still fantastic prog record. 4 stars.

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars You can listen to this album like a soundtrack of a dark movie about dysfunctional relationships. You get through different moods from the calm of the ambient parts to the violence of the metal parts. Some samples are used to create those ambient passages which are not surprising, knowing the love of Steven Wilson for this style of music. He blends everything perfectly with some beautiful arrangements and a production that doesn't miss anything. There's a lot os short tracks here between some tracks ranging from 5 minutes to 11, but those tracks are part of a long song. The keyboards of Richard Barbieri are always tasteful and brings a nice contrast with the heavy guitar parts. This album is more enjoyable in surround sound, the DVD-A version has also 3 videos in surround sound.
Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Dead leaves at the end of the Tree.

There's something heartbreaking about The Incident that I've never quite been able to put my finger on. The story at the core of the album would probably like me to believe that it's the entire concept that puts a damper on each and every listen that I have of the album but that's just not it. If the album had actually achieved what it had set out to do by hitting my heartstrings in a way that made me feel for a character or concept the album would be a triumph - and that's not how I feel.

No, the heartbreaking thing about The Incident is that the whole thing feels lackluster. Half-assed. Effortless. Tired riffs and monotonous singing may have attempted to bring across an emotion that started with the rather nihilistic Fear of a Blank Planet but without the care and attention that was brought into each well crafted song. The 55-minute song cycle that makes up the first disc of the album has so few ideas stretched out over so long a time period that often times it feels like a drone album done by a drone band trying to expand into rock and roll without knowing how. The guitars clunk, the vocals whine and there are very few standouts that make my hair stand on end the way this band usually can.

Even Time Flies, the notable standout (and single) of the album is not without major flaws. Clocking at nearly 12-minutes it becomes the only song to actually leave a place in the listener's mind. However, any prog fan with depth to their catalog will not easily be able to dismiss the fact that it rings so heavily of the riff to Pink Floyd's Dogs that they will likely be put off of it.

The redeeming part to having made purchase of this album is the second disc. What a shame that is is only 20 minutes long! If they had combined this with the Nil Recurring recordings and released that as a kind of FOABP 2 they would have been met with much greater success! The odd tone and grumblings of Bonnie The Cat ring back to their Signify days while expanding on their current themes. Flicker is such a haunting melody that it DOES send shivers down my spine and Remember Me Lover takes us back to a darker version of Up The Downstair and finally ends off the hour plus long album.

In conclusion, The Incident is not without it's merits. It is simply unfortunate to see a band so lauded in the progressive, metal and alternative communities release an album that feels like an afterthought. Steven Wilson clearly had other things on his mind when the album was released, having already released his album Insurgents. His solo career has taken the music of Porcupine Tree to an entirely new level and continues to be truly progressive, but it's too bad he left the Tree to fall with no one around to hear it.

2 stars for an album that is worthwhile for the 2nd disc (a must for fans) but an ultimately disappointing, perhaps final, release by a once titan of the genre we adore. If you have not already become familiar with their music check out Up The Downstair or The Sky Moves Sideways if you are a fan of Floyd-flavored psych rock, or Deadwing and Fear of a Blank Planet for brooding Opeth style psych-heavy-progressive bombast, or Stupid Dream and In Absentia for top notch song-driven crossover prog with feeling. Avoid this release until familiar with what made the band an impressive force and solidified Steven Wilson as a demi-God of music.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Yet another great album from my favorite current progressive band and frontman Steven Wilson and once again, a lot of reviews for the album. This album obviously is not getting the love from the ProgArchives reviewers that some of the band's past albums received, and even though I agree it's not their best, especially following the last 3 albums, I don't believe it deserves the harsh criticism that it has received. I still find it an enjoyable album and definitely still at a higher quality than a lot of artists. The songwriting is still stellar, the concept is great, and the prog elements are all there. But, even with that, and with the album also coming in between some excellent albums also released by Steven Wilson as solo albums, this album does suffer from something. For some reason, the songs overall don't have the same impact on me, or just aren't quite as memorable as they have been on previous albums. The music is still leaning towards heaviness, but not quite as heavy as previous. There is still an excellent use of dynamics also. So where does it suffer?

The album is made up of a very long, multi-movement song cycle lasting around 55 minutes with 14 movements. The concept of the song cycle is an attempt to personalize the use of the word "Incident" to describe what would be a life-changing occurrence in someone's life. Even though an actual automobile accident inspired the work, SW wanted to make the concept more general to include any type of incident. The song cycle is made up of many medium to short tracks which are interesting and varied enough, but may be the reason for the slightly lower quality of the album because of a lack of development among the tracks. Some themes are recurring, but they are not necessarily catchy enough to remember right away, and it takes the listener a little longer to appreciate the album. This could be part of the reason why so many reviewers are harder on this album, and I feel is the reason why it has a little less appeal to me than the previous albums. But I'm not saying that I don't like this album, because I do. I still listen to it a lot, but there is a slightly lower amount of enthusiasm for it from me than on some of PT's other albums. There are a few longer tracks, namely "Time Flies", which is the centerpiece of the album at over 11 minutes, and definitely the most memorable track on the album, and also "I Drive the Hearse", which is still only just shy of 7 minutes. There are some great guitar parts in here, especially in tracks like "Circle of Manias", but I find myself wishing for more development anyway.

After the song-cycle is over, there are 4 more tracks unrelated to the main concept, and these make up the 2nd CD in the album which runs an additional 20 minutes. "Flicker" and "Black Dahlia" are both ok songs that don't stand out a lot. "Bonnie the Cat' is awesome and probably one of my favorite PT songs, but it is probably the most original song on the album. Finally, "Remember Me Lover" starts out as a slow burn and quietly, but the intensity increases as it goes on and develops into an excellent heavy guitar sound before calming again. A nice melody and it has the great development that helps give the tune the life that was present on previous albums.

So, anyway, it's not their best effort, but it's still excellent and still a worthy effort nonetheless. Many bands would do great to only have an album as good as this. But we come to expect so much from PT and SW, so when something is a small step back from previous output, then we tend to be a little more aware of a slight dip in quality. If you are just starting to explore PT, then make sure to start with "Deadwing" or "In Absentia" first, then you might venture to this album later. If you have a choice, make sure to pick one of SW's better solo albums over this one too, but don't just ignore this one either, because it is still an excellent addition to your collection. And it really is better than a lot of people have given it credit for. 4 stars.

Review by Necrotica
2 stars Porcupine Tree have always been known as a polarizing band, but who knew that their last release for the forseeable future would also be their weakest? Created two years after the acclaimed Fear of a Blank Planet, The Incident is perhaps the most ambitious work that Steven Wilson and co. have created thus far. The concept revolves around the topic of incidents and numerous traumatic events, and is connected by (technically) a 55- minute track. While the song is split up into numerous movements, it's clear that Wilson intended for this to be a full-fledged epic that would string together each piece of the concept. And all of this certainly sounded promising to say the least; the subject sounds like it would lend itself to some very powerful and emotionally resonant pieces of rock music. But there's the age-old question: did it all work? Well... no, it didn't.

Let's make something clear right away: Porcupine Tree have never failed at being technically proficient, precise, and atmospheric in their albums; this record is certainly no exception to that. Also, as with previous albums, Wilson has learned some new tricks this time around, mainly in the metal department. Opeth, Meshuggah, and even Nine Inch Nails could be cited as valid influences here, especially on heavier tracks like "Circle of Manias" and "The Blind House." Even the opening number "Occam's Razor" does it's job really well, its intense singular notes ringing out and exuding suspense and intrigue with each passing burst of distortion. But it's not long until things go awry, and it all starts with Steven Wilson's voice. I guess the best place to start, considering it's where almost everyone starts regarding this, is with the poppy song "Drawing the Line." Wilson constantly sounds out of breath during the chorus, which is a bit odd considering how he was able to belt out those high notes in "Shallow" just four years prior. But the real issue lies in how detached he sounds throughout the whole piece. Again, the guitar work, Colin Edwin's bass work, Gavin Harrison's drum work, and Richard Barbieri's keyboard work all sound good; however, why give a damn when you can't summon any passion with your voice and get people interested? The title track is the worst offender; Wilson's voice sounds nicely sinister during the industrial segment, but just sounds lethargic and lazy during the alternative rock- based chorus.

Unfortunately, this all leads to the bigger issue at hand: the whole damn album sounds very detached. No song on The Incident is bad by any means, but the problem is that it focuses on a bunch of different incidents of trauma and destruction rather than just one or two. How can people get invested in these people and their scars when Wilson's songs just fly by them and hurry on to the next topic at hand? The shorter songs like "Great Expectations" and "Your Unpleasant Family" are the absolute worst when it comes to this, because without any flow or emotional development to carry them, they just sound blatantly unfinished and utterly pointless. These issues also make many of the album's payoffs pointless, because they don't feel earned. That is, except for two masterpieces: "Time Flies" and "I Drive the Hearse." These songs are longer, more developed, and are absolutely gorgeous works that are actually somewhat reminiscent of the band's Lightbulb Sun days. These songs are clearly the highlights of this whole thing; "Time Flies" is especially notable because of a long drawn- out Pink Floyd-inspired droning section in the middle. It doesn't really fit the rest of the song, but it's a neat and inventive detour for an album that's honestly not as ambitious as its concept suggested. "I Drive the Hearse" is more of a standard ballad, but is still a beautiful piece and features some of Wilson's most delicate guitar and vocal work thus far.

It's a real shame when the rest of the experience is so damn mediocre and disjointed, though. Sadder, yet, is the fact that this is our last impression of Porcupine Tree for the time being and it has to be so weak. I remember the album initially having sort of a "wow" factor when I was younger, mainly because of the long- winded concept and (at least perceived) variety in the songs' tempos and dynamics. However, upon really peeling the layers of the record, it was proven to me just how bad its songwriting and ESPECIALLY its flow were. I guess I should briefly mention the second disc before signing out; honestly, it's not really worth discussing. The song's are decent, but don't pertain to the main experience and only serve to drag it out even longer. However, I will give a positive nod to "Bonnie the Cat" which has a cool sneaky atmosphere in terms of vocals and softer dynamics, as well as some impressive drumming by Harrison. Regardless, The Incident's ambition clearly didn't match the final cut. I really hope that Wilson brings the band back together for at least one more record, because we certainly deserve a better finale than this.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 25

This is my first review of a Porcupine Tree album. Porcupine Tree is a British progressive rock group formed in 1987 by Steven Wilson, their mastermind, mainly composer and front man. They're one of the best and most important bands to emerge from UK in the last years. They have the guidance of the visionary Steven, who have modernised progressive rock by adding a dash of everything that's happened to music in these days since the genres heyday.

Usually, I start my reviews from a band by my favourite album, their most striking album or their debut album. In this case, I decided to start with the last musical work from the band, because when I made this review I have seen the presentation of the album in a live concert in my country. So, therefore, and after all, I had the two versions, both the studio and the live versions, very fresh in my mind. So, as you can see, I had already made this review some time ago.

'The Incident' is the tenth studio album of Porcupine Tree and was released in 2009. The recording sessions of the album have been started in February 2009, and it was released on September. 'The Incident' is a concept album based on a Wilson's idea. The original idea appeared when he was caught in a motorway traffic jam driving and he passed a road accident. Then, he thought that an accident is something so traumatic and destructive for the people involved, that he decided to make a concept album about it. Therefore, he decided to search some other type of accidents reported in the media and in the news. So, the concept of the album is about several types of accidents very different, like a car crash, a drowning in a river, or a massacre in a religious cult in Texas. Curiously, he decided to call it 'The Incident' not 'The Accident', because he considered the word 'The Incident' a more detached word.

For those who aren't familiar with my progressive biography, I need to say that I'm Portuguese and despite I was born in Lisbon, I live in a small town in the north of Portugal, Viana do Castelo, for some years. On the live tour of Porcupine Tree's 'The Incident', the band had two concerts marked to Portugal. The first was in 20.11.2009 in Lisbon and the second was in 21.11.2009 in Porto. Although I have some family in Lisbon, I live about 400 Km away, and so I decided to go to the Porto's concert with my youngest son. The distance is not far away. It's only about 75 Km away.

I only bought the album in the beginning of November, because the concert was very close to that date. I must say that I was somewhat disappointed with the first listening of the album. After their splendid previous studio album 'Fear Of A Blank Planet' released in 2007, I confess that I expected much more of this new work. So, it was with some expectation, that I waited the presentation of the album live, and above all, because, despite the group had already acted in Portugal in other occasions, for me, it would be the first time that I would see a Porcupine Tree live concert.

The concert was divided in two distinct parts. In the first part the band performed the 55 minutes 'The Incident', without interruption, and in the second part the band played tracks from some other previous studio albums. The only thing I can say is that I became astonished with the concert. Porcupine Tree is really a wonderful live band. When I returned home and I listen to the album again, I maintained my first impression. It still didn't sound to me as good. I usually prefer studio works instead live works. But in this case I confess that 'The Incident' is better performed live than listen on the studio version. The album has a much faster rhythm and is quite heavier than on its studio version. However, to make this review, I had to listen to the album another couple of times. And oddly, I must confess that the more I listen to the album, it better sounds to me. Curiously, I saw, in the same year, three other live concerts in my country. The first was in Lisbon, Dream Theater+Pendragon in June, the second was also in Lisbon the Eagles concert in July, and the third was in Porto, the Progressive Nation 2009-Dream Theater+Opeth+Bigelf+Unexpected in October. However, I must confess that the Porcupine Tree live concert was the best and my favourite of all.

Conclusion: 'The Incident' is in reality a great album, more acoustic and less heavy than the last ones. It's an album with two CD's. The first CD is an ambitious musical project with a fifty five minutes piece of music divided into fourteen separate tracks. The second CD has only four tracks. In my humble opinion, the second CD doesn't explore the same line of the first and it shows the more experimental musical side of Steve. We can say that it's a kind of a bonus CD. So, for this reason, I practically skipped it away, from my review. Certainly, 'The Incident' is the most autobiographical album by Steven, because all the songs are somehow a little bit personal. Probably, it isn't for everyone. It takes time to absorb it. Undoubtedly, we are in presence of an excellent album by one of the greatest progressive bands, which has one of the best progressive artists in our days. Probably, my fault was to have so many expectations about it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Warthur
4 stars It took me a long time to warm to The Incident. Part of the issue is the presentation: supposedly it's one big 55 minute piece and a coda of a few additional songs on the second CD, but it's pretty self-evident that the 55 minute piece was conceived as separate songs (there's even bits where the music flat-out stops and then another "song" starts), so the idea that this was Porcupine Tree's Thick as a Brick or something is at best tenuous.

In fact, with less than 20 minutes of material on CD 2, it would really have been entirely possible to just put this out as a single-CD album, and indeed that's exactly what the most recent CD reissue has done. This makes it feel like the original release was to an extent a calculated attempt to play with the appetites of the prog fanbase, since the market was all too willing to buy 2CD albums which could have happily been a single disc if the filler were trimmed away.

Still, at least Porcupine Tree do us the favour of not bothering with the filler. At points feeling like a natural development of the sound of Fear of a Blank Planet, at other stages the album captures the band testing out other sounds. This isn't necessarily always to its benefit - Drawing the Line finds Steven Wilson attempting a forceful, hard-rocking chorus which is, to say the least, not very Porcupine Tree and also not particularly convincing - and in general it feels like the band were flailing around a bit here looking for a new direction and not finding one, which I suppose is why they went on a long hiatus after this.

Still, even if I don't quite think it hangs together as a cohesive piece of work, it's got lots of compelling bits and pieces here and there, and so I think my previous two and a half star assessment of it was about 1 star's worth too stingy. It's far from bad - in fact, it's mostly good, but from Porcupine Tree we're used to great.

Review by The Crow
3 stars Following up on a masterpiece like "Fear of a Blank Planet" was not an easy task!

And for this, Porcupine Tree decided to create concept album much more varied in terms of tessituras and environments, but also with a more irregular compositional quality, which made it a great disappointment for many of us.

The incredible hook and stunning songs of "Deadwing" and "Fear of a Blank Plantet" were gone! What the hell?

However, the production is still spectacular, and above all, Gavin Harrison's work on drums is absolutely amazing again. For that alone, "The Incident" is already worth listening to, despite being one of Porcupine Tree's weakest efforts.

Hopefully the next "Closure/Continuation" will be able to bring us back the best years of the band!

Best Tracks: The Blind House (great riff, evocative chorus and a great and furious mellotron towards the end), Time Flies (the star song of the album, and also the longest), Octane Twisted (great instrumental work, especially on the drums) and Remember Me Lover (the only song that can compete in terms of quality with their previous album)

My Rating: ***

Latest members reviews

4 stars The controversy, the controversy. PT still constitute the absolute zenith of music in my eyes and, if The Incident is disappointing, it says much about the standards Wilson has imposed on us. My rating oscillates frequently between 4 and 5 [insert obligatory comment about "4.5"]. I freely concede it ... (read more)

Report this review (#2538584) | Posted by arriving | Wednesday, April 28, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Fear of a Blank Planet represents Porcupine Tree at their peak. Steven Wilson's favorite themes of sensory overload, social alienation and influence of mass media are given free rein, especially in the brutal 17-minute piece, Anesthetize, which takes the name of the Atlanta concert in the promot ... (read more)

Report this review (#2441996) | Posted by iluvmarillion | Thursday, August 27, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a fine Porcupine Tree album. It's not one of the handful of their best, but it's still an entertaining release. There's an enjoyable performance/interview on YouTube called "Mhz" from 2003. In it Wilson discusses how much he loves the traditional idea of an album, as an entity. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1916521) | Posted by thwok | Sunday, April 22, 2018 | Review Permanlink

1 stars This well-ranked recording oddly seems to be the result of Steven Wilson not caring about Porcupine Tree anymore. This is nothing if not confusing. On the one hand, the act of writing a 55 minute song cycle seems like it would preclude the possibility of neglect. But "Time Flies" might be the w ... (read more)

Report this review (#1737479) | Posted by UncleRust | Saturday, June 24, 2017 | Review Permanlink

2 stars It is hard to write about a truly favorite band, when for the first time in your life they let you down with their new album. And whilst this is exactly what happened here, I will try to focus on the positives as well, because although my rating might seem low, they are still Porcupine tree, being m ... (read more)

Report this review (#1540264) | Posted by Porcupineapple | Wednesday, March 16, 2016 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Few fresh ideas - Metal Riffs meaningless - Few compositions inspired Some moments of lucidity surrounded by stuffed insipid and directionless loud rumblings. Too many alternative rock passages. Fortunately, Wilson changed course for subsequent solo career. Evidently the group had completed a c ... (read more)

Report this review (#994496) | Posted by sinslice | Wednesday, July 10, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Anybody who has talked to me about my love for progressive rock knows that I am indebted to two groups for getting me into the world of prog: Opeth and Porcupine Tree. After listening extensively to their discography and getting deeper into the world of prog, I eagerly awaited these two groups ... (read more)

Report this review (#882255) | Posted by SpectralHorizons | Wednesday, December 26, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars To all the reviewers who say this lacks any kind of musical themes, I say "what?". Beginning with the first intro track and into the second track "The Blind House" there are musical themes throughout the disc. There is a continuity I feel all through this dark and magnificent album. Many chord ... (read more)

Report this review (#609680) | Posted by AmbianceMan | Saturday, January 14, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Inevitable Drop Unlike a lot of people, my experience with The Incident was somewhat backwards. Following an album as exquisite and fantastic as Fear of a Blank Planet was always going to be a difficult job, and the fact that Porcupine Tree had been steadily improving for decades must have ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#573119) | Posted by Gallifrey | Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Tristephobia? After having been constantly bombarded by road-safety propaganda, it was almost a relief to find myself in a real accident. JG Ballard (Crash) I'm glad I didn't review this album when I originally intended to (several months ago) as I would have probably given The Incident a nea ... (read more)

Report this review (#464199) | Posted by ExittheLemming | Saturday, June 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Despite the incident, time flies ... "The Incident" is my third experience with the Porcupine Tree after the wonderful "In Absentia"and "Fear of a Blank Planet". As good as "Fear ...", but far from being better than" In Absentia ", this be a strong album, although not in all its moments. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#458926) | Posted by voliveira | Friday, June 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is the best PT album since 2002's In Absentia. As a huge fan of Porcupine Tree, I was disappointed with their last offering, Fear of a Blank Planet, and thought that maybe my Porcupine Tree days were finished. But this album got me back in their camp, big time. Steven Wilson has created ... (read more)

Report this review (#442793) | Posted by BobVanguard | Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars As much as I love Porcupine Tree, I have yet to hear a "perfect" 5 star effort from them. There always seems to be a song or 2 that don't hit me in the right places, and I skip over. If this were a single CD release, it may just crack the 5 star level. But the bonus cd material leaves me nothi ... (read more)

Report this review (#427994) | Posted by mohaveman | Tuesday, April 5, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars To buy this album for me was a disillusion. Trapped by the great Fear of a blank planet, The incident has nothing to do which what I was expected. As many times happens, maybe the conceptual thing limited the creativity of the songwriters, especially of Steve Wilson. The first CD tries to be ... (read more)

Report this review (#421587) | Posted by genbanks | Thursday, March 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Another good work from mr. Wilson.For another time he proves that he's a talent.There are two cd's.The first cd is The incident(one track with 14 parts/smaller tracks).The second cd is an ep(Remember me lover is its title).The incident is great.There are wonderful ideas.The music is angry,dark,quiet ... (read more)

Report this review (#311841) | Posted by Prog Geo | Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Not as bad as people are saying. All right, so The Incident is not really a 55-minute epic. If you really wanted to consolidate the 14 songs on this album into longer pieces, maybe you could get away with 6 songs or so. But it does not have the cohesion that artists like Neal Morse craft their ... (read more)

Report this review (#308584) | Posted by The SaidRemark | Saturday, November 6, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars It' the first time i listen to PORCUPINE and i've been told so much about that band;that i feel a little bit disapointed . I was hoping for some strange and beautifull landscapes but all i have here is very monotonous and monochord music except track 10 that reminds me of PINK FLOYD (ANIMALS) ... (read more)

Report this review (#293267) | Posted by jean-marie | Tuesday, August 3, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Is The Incident as good musically as Stupid Dream or Lightbulb Sun? No, probably not but I do like it more than Fear of a Blank Planet. Regarding the material itself, my first listen was a bit "meh" but after giving it a chance, I realized that there are some amazing lyrics here, which continue pas ... (read more)

Report this review (#287899) | Posted by PTFKC | Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The Tree's third phase? Introduction We got a 55 minutes song plus a 20 minutes side B, we got a double disc, we got too much hype for a mere common release that comes out from the controversial Deadwing and the wonderfull Fear of a Blank Planet, if isn't enough put the good single Nil Rec ... (read more)

Report this review (#276639) | Posted by Erik Nymas | Tuesday, April 6, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Wow, another masterpiece. Porcupine Tree never fail to deliver, and this album proves it. A 50 minute piece of music. How are they going to pull that off. A little like this. To be honest each seperate song on the piece is considered as a song in itself. There is quite a cool Tarentino mee ... (read more)

Report this review (#276615) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Tuesday, April 6, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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