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PORCUPINE TREE

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Porcupine Tree biography
PORCUPINE TREE are incredibly hard to describe because their music doesn't fit into any one genre. I like the description on the back of the album "Signify" (one of my all time favorites). It says "Porcupine Tree have managed to defy genres and blend together numerous ambient, rock and avant-garde styles to create a musical landscape that is both refreshing and compulsively seductive". The great post-GONG revival which gave birth to OZRIC TENTACLES now brings us PORCUPINE TREE. The hypnotic rhythms, spacy synthesizers, glissando guitar and crazy voices which made the style successful are all contained here.

The band started as a solo project of singer-songwriter-guitarist Steve Wilson who, back in the early nineties, released a series of increasingly spaced-out ambient excursions. PT is one of the most innovative bands in prog today combining intense musicianship, unconventional composition and superb studio production. They are unquestionably one of the UK's most inspired and inventive rock groups.

The bands 4th studio album from '96. "Signify" saw Porcupine Tree truly gell as a studio band producing a blend of psychedelia, heavy rock, melancholic pop, kraut rock, and wild experimentation that brought the best out of each band member. Their latest two albums ("Stupid Dream" and "Lightbulb Sun") move the band further away from their influences and into their own catagory, by which other bands eventually will be compared. But if you are a fan of progressive, thoughtful, briliantly executed and flawlessly produced music, you will do no better than PT.

PORCUPINE TREE's eighth studio album, "Deadwing", was released in March 2005 by Lava Records / Warner Music. Less rock-oriented than the previous album "In Absentia", "Deadwing" is partially based on a "surreal ghost story" screenplay written by Steven and sometime PORCUPINE TREE / NO-MAN art collaborator Mike Bennion. The 60-minute, nine-track album contains material varying from short airplay-friendly songs such as 'Shallow' to lengthier pieces like the 10-minute-plus 'Arriving Somewhere But Not Here'. Most of the music was written by Steven but the album features the largest amount of full-band compositions since "Signify" in 1997. The album also features guest appearances by Adrian Belew (KING CRIMSON) and Mikael Åkerfeldt (OPETH).

In 2007 the band scored it's biggest chart success to date with "Fear Of A Blank Planet". Featuring contributions from Alex Lifeson and Robert Fripp...
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DeadwingDeadwing
Lava Records 2005
Audio CD$11.56
$12.76 (used)
Fear Of A Blank Planet (USA Only)Fear Of A Blank Planet (USA Only)
KSCOPE 2017
Audio CD$10.60
$14.38 (used)
Stupid DreamStupid Dream
KSCOPE 2017
Audio CD$10.82
$10.90 (used)
AnesthetizeAnesthetize
KSCOPE 2017
Audio CD$13.90
$17.72 (used)
SignifySignify
Import
Ark 21 2000
Audio CD$11.98
$7.88 (used)
Lightbulb Sun (Sleevepac CD)Lightbulb Sun (Sleevepac CD)
KSCOPE 2017
Audio CD$8.74
$11.53 (used)
Porcupine Tree Octane TwistedPorcupine Tree Octane Twisted
Import
KSCOPE 2017
Audio CD$8.99
$4.00 (used)
Arriving Somewhere ( 2 Dvd Set )Arriving Somewhere ( 2 Dvd Set )
Multiple Formats · Widescreen
KSCOPE 2017
DVD$11.12
$10.12 (used)
Stars DieStars Die
KSCOPE 2017
Audio CD$10.41
$14.38 (used)
On The Sunday Of LifeOn The Sunday Of Life
KSCOPE 2017
Audio CD$9.04
$12.27 (used)
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PORCUPINE TREE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PORCUPINE TREE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.02 | 754 ratings
On The Sunday Of Life.....
1991
3.90 | 875 ratings
Up The Downstair
1993
4.06 | 1189 ratings
The Sky Moves Sideways
1995
3.83 | 1064 ratings
Signify
1996
3.98 | 1207 ratings
Stupid Dream
1999
4.03 | 1343 ratings
Lightbulb Sun
2000
4.24 | 2258 ratings
In Absentia
2002
4.10 | 1821 ratings
Deadwing
2005
4.24 | 2301 ratings
Fear Of A Blank Planet
2007
3.66 | 1408 ratings
The Incident
2009

PORCUPINE TREE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.45 | 421 ratings
Coma Divine
1997
3.72 | 83 ratings
Spiral Circus Live (LP)
1997
3.67 | 132 ratings
XM
2003
3.42 | 12 ratings
Live in Poland
2003
3.92 | 294 ratings
Warszawa
2004
4.02 | 133 ratings
XMII
2005
4.23 | 158 ratings
Rockpalast
2005
4.47 | 178 ratings
Arriving Somewhere...
2006
3.35 | 224 ratings
We Lost The Skyline
2008
3.66 | 120 ratings
Ilosaarirock
2009
4.24 | 189 ratings
Atlanta
2010
3.52 | 187 ratings
Octane Twisted
2012

PORCUPINE TREE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.57 | 507 ratings
Arriving Somewhere...
2006
4.68 | 521 ratings
Anesthetize
2010
4.16 | 68 ratings
Octane Twisted
2012

PORCUPINE TREE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.53 | 107 ratings
Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape
1994
3.25 | 356 ratings
Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip
2000
4.18 | 347 ratings
Recordings
2001
4.21 | 239 ratings
Stars Die: The Delerium Years 1991 -1997
2002

PORCUPINE TREE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.49 | 58 ratings
Tarquin's Seaweed Farm (K7)
1989
3.22 | 49 ratings
Love, Death & Mussolini (K7)
1990
3.02 | 42 ratings
The Nostalgia Factory (K7)
1991
3.37 | 26 ratings
Radioactive E. P.
1992
3.70 | 108 ratings
Voyage 34
1992
2.96 | 51 ratings
Voyage 34 : Remixes
1993
3.27 | 61 ratings
Moonloop E.P.
1994
3.82 | 164 ratings
Staircase Infinities
1994
3.85 | 46 ratings
Waiting
1996
3.30 | 85 ratings
Insignificance (K7)
1997
3.96 | 27 ratings
Ambulance Chasers
1997
2.87 | 44 ratings
Stranger By The Minute
1999
2.87 | 47 ratings
Piano Lessons
1999
2.95 | 49 ratings
Pure Narcotic
1999
3.81 | 18 ratings
Coma Divine II
1999
4.00 | 32 ratings
Stars Die - Rare and Unreleased
1999
3.25 | 4 ratings
The Rest Will Flow
2000
3.06 | 60 ratings
4 Chords That Made A Million
2000
3.26 | 56 ratings
Shesmovedon
2000
4.08 | 95 ratings
Transmission IV
2001
2.96 | 197 ratings
Metanoia
2001
4.08 | 12 ratings
Blackest Eyes
2002
4.18 | 11 ratings
The Sound Of Muzak
2002
4.45 | 11 ratings
Trains
2003
3.36 | 30 ratings
Delerium EP
2003
3.45 | 136 ratings
Futile
2003
3.58 | 114 ratings
Lazarus
2005
3.43 | 7 ratings
Shallow
2005
3.17 | 6 ratings
So Called Friend
2006
3.33 | 6 ratings
Way Out Of Here
2007
4.00 | 7 ratings
Normal
2007
3.83 | 6 ratings
Fear Of A Blank Planet (Single)
2007
3.93 | 452 ratings
Nil Recurring
2007
2.33 | 3 ratings
Novak
2008
2.67 | 61 ratings
Time Flies
2009
3.99 | 65 ratings
Transmission 10.1 - Ilosaarirock
2009
3.83 | 6 ratings
Acoustic Session Jan 2010
2010

PORCUPINE TREE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Nil Recurring by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
3.93 | 452 ratings

BUY
Nil Recurring
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 127

"Nil Recurring" is an EP of Porcupine Tree and was released in 2007. This mini-album is composed only of four tracks and was written during the recording sessions of their ninth studio album "Fear Of A Blank Planet" and it was completed over the same year of 2007. Of all the four tracks on it, all were composed for "Fear Of A Blank Planet" album. However, later they were dropped from the final track list. So, these are leftover tracks from that album.

When the group met in 2006 to work on the new material for their new studio album "Fear Of A Blank Planet", at the time, two songs were already written, "My Ashes" and "Normal". Those musical sessions produced all the album's songs except "Way Out Of Here", plus four more songs of which three wouldn't quiet fit the concept. The only track that the group thought that could make the way into the album at that moment was "Cheating The Polygraph".

However, later the band decided that none of the four songs were up to the standards needed to the album. As they weren't properly developed yet, and there was a policy not to make the album with more than fifty minutes long, they weren't included. So, the four tracks were mixed to make the "Nil Recurring" EP. "Normal" was entirely composed by Steven Wilson. Later he reworked it, simplifying its musical structure to transform it, into the song "Sentimental".

The line up on the album is Steven Wilson (vocals, guitars, piano and keyboards), Richard Barbieri (keyboards and synthesizers), Colin Edwin (bass guitars) and Gavin Harrison (drums, percussion and tapped guitar). This mini-album has also the participation of Robert Fripp (lead guitar) and Ben Coleman (electric violin).

"Nil Recurring" has four tracks. The first track is the title track "Nil Recurring" which was written by the four band members. This is an instrumental track, quite heavier, so don't expect the return to the days of "Stupid Dream" or "Lightbulb Sun". As Porcupine Tree thought, I also think that this is a track which wouldn't really fit in "Fear Of A Blank Planet". This is a more experimental track that has more in common with some of the work of Fripp, whose his trademark's sound is present on it. This is the most original song on the album, seemingly using no material from "Fear Of A Blank Planet". The second track "Normal" which was written by Wilson could fit easily on "Fear Of A Blank Planet". This is in reality a reworked version of "Sentimental". However, don't expect this is the same song because basically only the chorus is copied. While "Sentimental" is an emotional ballad, this energetic rendition is a lot more adventurous with an acoustic riff intro and a heavy middle section before moving into a closing section with acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies. The acoustic guitar performance on this song reminds me the style of Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth. I must need to say this is a wonderful song and I probably prefer the structure and production of this new version. The third track "Cheating The Polygraph" which was written by Wilson and Harrison is a more experimental song. Although, it opens in a relatively conventional way, with strident power chorus, a marching drums beat and Wilson's vocals. However, the song soon veers into a more avant-garde musical territory with sparse electric piano, some atmospheric sound escapes and crunchy riffs. It was one of the songs that was originally part of "Fear Of A Blank Planet", and the group played it live during the Arriving Somewhere 2006 tour. It eventually was replaced by "Way Out Of Here". The fourth track "What Happens Now?" which was written by the four band members has some of the lyrics from "My Ashes". It's another different song, more of a slow burner that builds up to a splitter and distortion effects. It starts with some native rhythms and dark moody synthesizers. Slowly it builds in tension and finally all the band kicks in. The last five minutes are instrumental, including an electric violin solo. The song continues to be building with guitars and bass lines to a heavy climax guitar, in the end. It finishes these set of songs in a very competent way.

Conclusion: All in all, this EP makes an essential addition to any Porcupine Tree fan's collection. Especially because it represents an essential addition to their album "Fear Of A Blank Planet". But, this is not merely a collection of inferior songs. These songs stand up in quality and can easily match the material on any of the band's albums. For reasons of style and concept and in order to keep the length of that album bellow one hour, Steve has decided not to include them. The overall mix of the EP is a little rawer with a less polished sound than is usual on any Porcupine Tree's recent full lengths. The EP differs from "Fear Of A Blank Planet" in a few ways. It's less claustrophobic with some songs moving more toward jam sessions and flowing a lot better. The constraint put on songs like "Sentimental" isn't found here at all. Because all the songs are reasonably long, they seem to have less emphasis on conventional rock structure than on "Fear Of A Blank Planet", and this allows for a more varied feel to the EP. If you are a fan of Porcupine Tree's music you will find "Nil Recurring" a worthwhile addition to the collection of a band that is constantly experimenting new things.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Fear Of A Blank Planet by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.24 | 2301 ratings

BUY
Fear Of A Blank Planet
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 126

"Fear Of A Blank Planet" is the ninth studio album of Porcupine Tree and was released in 2007. Steven Wilson has mentioned that the album's title is a direct reference to Public Enemy's album of 1990, with the same name. Public Enemy is an American hip hop group and they're better known for their politically charged lyrics and criticism of the American media, with an active interest in the frustrations and concerns of the African American community. However, while Public Enemy's album was about race issues, Porcupine Tree's album was about coming to terms with the 21st century technology, the technology which is generally used massively by all Western world civilization.

The concept of the album was heavily influenced by Bret Easton Ellis' novel "Lunar Park". The novel is told from the perspective of a father, who bears the name of the novel's author himself, whereas the album is mostly from his son's perspective. Many of the lyrics of the album are lifted directly from the novel. The lyrics deal with two typical neurobehavioral development disorders affecting teenagers in the 21st century, such as, bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder, and also with other common behaviour tendencies of youth like escapism by drugs, social alienation caused by technology and a feeling of vacuity, a product of information overload by the mass media.

The line up on the album is Steven Wilson (vocals, guitars, piano and keyboards), Richard Barbieri (keyboards and synthesizers), Colin Edwin (bass guitars) and Gavin Harrison (drums). It has also the participation of Alex Liefson (guitar), Robert Fripp (keyboards and synthesizers), John Wesley (backing vocals) and the London Session Orchestra.

"Fear Of A Blank Planet" has six tracks. All songs were written and composed by Steven Wilson, except "My Ashes" with music by Wilson and Barbieri and "Way Out Of Here" with music by all four band members. The first track is the title track "Fear Of A Blank Planet". The clacking of a computer keyboard leads the album's opener into a haze of an aggressive song writing and slightly discordant ambience that immediately characterizes Steve's concept. The lyrics clearly condemn the mesmerizing effect of video and the computers on a child. Musically, we find heavy guitars, processed voice, great keyboard working and catchy choruses. The second track "My Ashes" is the opposite of the first track. It's a fairly retro ballad, driven by a quiet and unassuming synthesizer riff. It does get a tiny bit epic towards the end, but it's a lower key counterpoint to the opener which immediately demonstrates to the listener the real breath of the sounds that Porcupine Tree is capable of achieving and, more immediately, how cohesive they can make them seem. The third track "Anesthetize" is the epic song of the album. Unlike other Porcupine Tree's epics this isn't really one piece of music with a start, an instrumental middle piece and the return to the original melody. Instead of that, this new epic has three songs joined together. All three combine perfectly. This is indeed one of the best pieces of music that the band has ever recorded. The fourth track "Sentimental" is a very beautiful ballad with piano and drums accompanied by acoustic guitar, voice and a grand piano. The song is a typical emotional Porcupine Tree's ballad that even contains a very beautiful Spanish guitar solo. This is the kind of songs that wouldn't have been out of place on "Stupid Dream" or "Lightbuld Sun". The fifth track "Way Out Of Here" is a very good track that explores many different musical ideas with seven and a half minutes. It's the only full band's composition on the album and it also features a musical section with some of the loudest metal riffs on the album. This is a very tasteful song with a very mysterious musical ambience enhanced by some characteristics Fripp's soundscapes. The sixth track "Sleep Together" is a strange song that starts with subdued vocals, very electronic and many synthesizer effects. After some time, the drum beat comes in and the song eventually builds to a climax with a massive use of orchestral strings. This is a very interesting and inventive way to end this magnificent album and that leaves the listener eager for much, much more.

Conclusion: In many ways "Fear Of A Blank Planet" is one of the best Porcupine Tree's albums and is also my favourite studio album from the band. Lyrically, it's a lot more understandable and I like very much the concept used for the lyrics. Musically, the album seems like the accumulation of everything the group has done before, thereby creating a total that's greater than the sum of the individual parts, I think. I sincerely think that it's rather difficult to find any fault and any lack of cohesion on this album. It's very strong in all aspects and doesn't have a dull moment on it. Of course it has its quiet moments but none of them are dull. Steven Wilson demonstrates once again why he is considered one of the best sound engineers at the moment and one of the best producers too. So, I really can't find any reason not to give 5 stars to this album and considered it a masterpiece. It should be in every progressive rock lover's musical collection, because it shows Porcupine Tree at their best. It's due to albums like this one, that progressive rock is still alive today.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 The Incident by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.66 | 1408 ratings

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The Incident
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Huh. This may actually be it - the point where I and Steven Wilson part ways. Despite being very keen on most of his Porcupine Tree output, I just can't get into The Incident - just as I can't get into his solo work, though for different reasons. With his solo material, I tend to find it self-consciously retro-"proggy" in a way which seems designed to tickle the fancy of prog purists but is a little bit too calculated to engage me, with the result that it leaves me cold.

Preceding all that, though, is this album - a piece which somehow seems to fall between two stools. In its presentation, it seems to be going for that sort of proggier-than-thou style - a 55 minute song, wowsers! - but in execution it actually doesn't quite deliver. That 55-minute piece is essentially a whole bunch of different songs that run together with uncharacteristically clumsy transitions and a set of running lyrical themes which don't go anywhere; the second disc feels like a bunch of off-cuts. (If these pieces weren't good enough to work into the main album, why would they be good enough separate from it?)

Musically speaking, the album seems to take the style of Fear of a Blank Planet and render it, well, a little blank, with a surprising number of decidedly pedestrian-sounding alt-rock inspired passages. It feels like the group are going through the motions, no longer really feeling engaged by the musical direction that had been so successful a left turn for Porcupine Tree since In Absentia but not entirely sure of what they could do instead, cranking out an album through obligation rather than passion.

 Signify by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.83 | 1064 ratings

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Signify
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by SteveG

4 stars Signify is Porcupine Tree's somewhat disregarded stepchild in that it's a transititional album between their earlier ambient work and their more popular later alternative work. But Signify is a cohessive whole that spans space rock, Kraut rock, Floydian influences and, of course, ambient moods of a darker world (or a darker mind) as suggested by the album's disturbing cover art. And this viseral darkness could only come from the imagine of Steven Wilson.

While Wilson is still the band's primary instrumentalist, even playing some fab mellotron, bassist Colin Edwin and drummer Chris Maitland lock in the twisting groves of this sometimes twisted sounding music to great effect, while deftly dailing back the drama on the album's quieter ambient bassed tracks. It's a delicate balance that both perform well.

The hard question to answer is if prog a fan is missing something by not having Signify in their collection. I would have to say yes, as it's easy to miss much of what this music offers on just a few listens. It's one of those deeper albums that sneaks up on you and that, IMO, is why it's important to experience the music, over and over again, that's on this great album. 4 stars.

 Deadwing by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.10 | 1821 ratings

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Deadwing
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Rodrigo Andrade7

5 stars Such a beautiful album, I've heard it countless times...

Let's face it! This is one of the best modern prog albums put out to date, top music written by none other than the talented himself mr. Steven Wilson, which everyone knows, it's one of the main prog heads of this universe.

What can you ask more, when you have a album that is melancholic,dark,heavy,melodic,soothing,wonderful and calm all in one pack jammed together? Seems unreal, but its Deadwing. A brilliant album, it makes me happy that music like this exist. The creativity on this album is off the charts, which is already to be quite expected from Steven Wilson, but I think that its the greatness of making so many different records with so different characteristics from each other thats makes every single of them standout. Highlights: "Arriving somewhere but not here" is clearly, the masterpiece of the album which you should check out, but I also reccomend some heavy and fast paced songs like: "Deadwing" (amazing adrenaline to start up a album) "Shallow" and "Open car" and last but not least "Lazarus" which is the most beautiful track in the album and perhaps the most beautiful song Porcupine Tree has made. The album, is clearly more enjoyable if you listen to it as a whole, in the correct order, which is what I always do, but there goes my highlights anyway, just in case you just want a small touch of it first.

Rating: 5 stars: A masterpiece of progressive rock.

This is not hard for me to rate, as I do feel that the rating for "Deadwing" here is way lower than it really should be, any 3 or less stars reviews for this album are meaningless.

 Radioactive E. P. by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
3.37 | 26 ratings

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Radioactive E. P.
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by thwok

3 stars I am a definite fan of Porcupine Tree. However their early material, including the first couple of albums, is the least interesting to my ears. A lot of it is just too ambient, too derivative of Pink Floyd IMO. I did enjoy this RADIO ACTIVE promo. I will give it 3 stars, although it may be hard to locate. I believe most of this material ended up on the UP THE DOWNSTAIRS album. "Synesthesia" is a bland way to begin the EP, but "The Joke's On You" is great. I wouldn't call any of these among my favorite Porcupine Tree songs, but there's enough variety on this release to hold your interest for 16 minutes. As with most of what Steven Wilson has a hand in, this is mostly quality material.
 The Sky Moves Sideways by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.06 | 1189 ratings

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The Sky Moves Sideways
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

4 stars A dramatic space rock filled with heavy, crossover elements. This grand sound theatre "The Sky Moves Sideways", released in 1995 as the third album of PORCUPINE TREE (PT), should have got apparently influenced by Pink Floyd (Waters' era), and launch space rock-based striking fantasia including repetitive dreamy melody lines mainly composed by Steven and impressive, technical plays by all of the combo and collaborators. Actually this is my first PT acquisition (after my experience in some Steven's) recommended by my prog mate Caio aka CCVP (many thanks!), that could spread my knowledge for psychedelic prog / space rock via another interpretation of a creator of genius.

Interesting is Steven's method and assumption (in a sense) for Space Rock ... his flooding musical expression strategies would have completed this sweet "The Sky Moves Sideways" suite "without any breath", inspired with some masterpieces by the Space Rock Giant. On the other hand, Steven squeezed his obvious originality seasoned with heavy but catchy parameters, that gives this album fine variation and keen modulation. Various sound essence, whether organic or inorganic, artificial or natural, is heard here and there ... pity that his musical intention is a tad too refined to bring the whole suite to a fruitful production perfectly, though.

Via some short tracks, their easygoing play (and this sounds more matured and polished) can be heard. Beautiful chord, cynical discord, and mystic improvs ... every effect notifies the audience they have eclectic intelligence (and strongly understandable for all pop / rock fans). And another premature (and impressive) item of theirs is "Moonloop", let me say, that has spacey texture and obvious systematic movement during such an improvisation-oriented loose session. This methodology might be heard via their productions I imagine ... would like to listen to other material in near future.

This album filled with novel explanation of Space Rock awoke me favourably with no doubt.

 In Absentia by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.24 | 2258 ratings

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In Absentia
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Watchmaker

5 stars With albums like this you really don't know where to start, because each song flows into each other and plays a significant role in the album. So I will give a short review for each track, since this album is obviously a five-star masterpiece.

1. Blackest Eyes: An excellent opener. As heavy as it's needed to give PT a turn of style. A true classic.

2. Trains: A favourite of mine and many fans' as well. What's not to love in this track? Everything is perfect. Definitely one of PT's finest.

3. Lips of Ashes: A nice break from the first two masterful tracks with something very atmospheric but a tiny bit forgettable. Nothing to worry about as things get only better.

4. The Sound of Muzak: One of the most popular of the bunch to date. It is the only song from the album Wilson still plays live as a solo artist and maybe that is thanks to its "catchy chorus". I don't find the solo all that mind-blowing but it is a nice touch. Also, it's the first song in which Gavin Harrison really shows his teeth.

5. Gravity Eyelids: For me THE "In Absentia" song. I don't know why but it reminds me of the cover art. An excellent piece for sure, with a nice explosion in the middle.

6. Wedding Nails: The first song I really liked from the album. I have to admit that it doesn't offer much more after the first listen, something rare for prog, but I'm always in the mood for it when it comes. A wake up call.

7. Prodigal: For a long time it used to be my favourite song in the album, before it was replaced by "Trains". Everything about it is perfect, I wouldn't change a single thing. As solid as it gets.

8. .3 : Maybe the first (and only) not-that-good song. Is it because preceding "Prodigal" is so good or is it just a little bit...so-so? Who knows, maybe I should give it a few more listens before I completely love it like the rest.

9. The Creator Has a Mastertape : Starts with a kick but drags a little too long. Always fun to listen too and the drums are fantastic.

10. Heartattack in a Layby : The first time you listen to it it's not anything special but after a few listens it shows its true beauty. And it's a very scary type of beauty. One of Wilson's favourites, if memory serves.

11. Strip the Soul : Another good track that maybe drags a little. Nice grooves but the noise at the end isn't all that welcome.

12. Collapse the Light Into Earth: Can you think of a better closer? I can't. Listen to it and you will understand why. Pure bliss...

In general one of the easiest five-star ratings I have given.

 The Incident by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.66 | 1408 ratings

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The Incident
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Porcupineapple

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 miles ahead of so many other contemporary bands. Even with this mediocre album of theirs, which it is.

Ok so first of all, no listener, who read any reviews, will be fooled by the promise of the "55-minute-long song" of the first cd, which it is not. Being the string of various songs it is, cleverly (and at places less cleverly) glued together, it has its ups and downs, but rather downs, certainly being the weaker element of this double cd. Songs like the opening "Blind house" try to bring back Porcupine tree's heavier side (with limited success), whilst "Drawing the line" or "Your unpleasant family" do nothing but answer the question of why the band is currently on a hiatus. This is why. These are average pop-rock ideas struggling to seem Porcupine tree, yet failing to find their place in the band's discography, in the end just showing the sad fact that they are lacking new ideas or that chemistry between them does not work anymore. The same goes for the 12-minute-long "Time flies" also, with an important side note being that the middle part (undoubtedly inspired by Pink Floyd) is one hell of a Porcupine tree riffage. Luckily, it then gives way to songs of the same quality, bringing us the heavier part of the first cd, through a string of four heavier songs, peaking in "Circle of manias", which is one of the best they created in the metal department. And when "I drive the hearse" closes this spiral of songs as well as the cd, for the first time the listener is finally reminded what this band used to sound like. The second cd is then nothing but an EP not fitting the structure of the first cd, yet being by far the strongest part of The incident. "Bonnie the cat" stands out like a rock, being a superheavy song built up around Gavin Harrison's amazing idea of a tricky groove, but Black dahlia also gets the job done (though some might say it is a bit too simple, not expanding on its own ideas enough), let alone the closing song, again reaching back to the roots well enough to satisfy hardcore PT fans.

All in all, Gavin Harrison is still the drummer of his age, Steven Wilson still has some outstanding ideas, but the whole thing just fails to deliver, allowing me to not be mad at them for their hiatus, which is probably what they need right now. Having said that, I can only hope that Wilson's solo break will do him good, letting him return to his roots in the future, if that is what he wants, with something that is much stronger than The Incident. Until then, may they rest in piece.

 Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip  by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2000
3.25 | 356 ratings

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Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by AndyJ

4 stars Porcupine Tree's 'Voyage 34' is definitely one of the odd-balls of the PT discography. Although this is labeled as a Porcupine Tree album, it is in fact more or less entirely a Steven Wilson solo album, with assistance only on the final track with Richard Barbieri contributing some of the synthesizer moments. 'Voyage 34' is definitely a love or hate affair. Personally, I absolutely love this record and actually consider it to be one of Steven Wilsons absolute finest albums, and some of the most expressive and interesting instrumental music he has ever recorded. In fact, I'm amazed that Steven Wilson doesn't consider this album to be part of the main PT release discography - if I was him I'd be so very proud of this album, it is enthraling and, forgive the pun, such a wonderous trip for the listener.

I think the key to enjoying this album I think is two fold. Firstly, you probably need a bit of experience with ambient / experimental electronic music, and maybe even a bit of intelligent dance music (IDM). If you are a fan of early Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, The Orb and even artists such as Autechre you are much more likely to 'get' this album. The second half of the album in particular does remind me a lot of some of the spacier moments in The Orb's 'Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld' in it's ambience and soundscapes. The second key, I think, is simply to listen with an open mind. Drop any notions you might have of how Porcupine Tree should sound. In fact forget this is even a PT album, as I said in the opening paragraph I think of this more as an instrumental Steven Wilson solo album.

The first two phases of the album are more likely to appeal to the conventional prog-rock fan as they are rooted more deeply in that traditional style. There are guitar solos, bass lines and rock drumming in parts, along with spaced out ambient passages. The second two phases really are much more electronica based with little, if anything, which resembles prog-rock. One of the things I love most about progressive music (of any genre) are long insrumental sections, so to me an album like 'Voyage 34' is like heaven. There is structure in the music, but the four phases are so long and spaced out that you don't really listen to them as individual songs - they are just movements within the confines of the album.

The theme of the album is supposidly the musical representation of an LSD trip gone bad (the subject's 34th trip). Having never done acid I have no idea if this has any accuracy or not. What I do know is that I listen to this album far more than some of my other PT albums, and that 'Voyage 34' is pretty much one of my main go-to ambient / chill-out albums I like to unwind with. In terms of rating this is very much between a 4 and a 5 star rating. I'll officially give it a 4 star rating, but in truth its a 4.5 star effort.

"Is this trip really necessary?" - the answer is a resounding YES!

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