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Porcupine Tree - The Incident CD (album) cover

THE INCIDENT

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

3.67 | 1425 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TCat
Prog Reviewer
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.

TCat | 4/5 |

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