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4.4 out of 5 stars93
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 14 November 2009
When the album was released, my first listen made me wonder whether there were a few errors in the concept, but rather than rush to review like some did here during September, I decided to give 'The Incident' several listens before reaching a judgement. Is it my favourite PT album? No, but it is brilliant when you've given it time and picked out all of the nuances.

A 55 minute concept track is ambitious and does it really hang together seamlessly? Not sure, but as a collection of pieces, the Wilson genius is all there. We have tracks that take you back to the likes of Lightbulb Sun and Stupid Dream and a continuation of the flirtation with metal riffs. 'Time Flies' is an homage to Pink Floyd and 'I Drive the Hearse' is a beautiful and subtle ending to 'The Incident'. CD2 consists of 4 tracks that were produced as part of the writing process and for me, 'Flicker' and 'Remember Me Lover' are the stand out pieces there.

OK, I'll be honest, I'm a PT fanatic and have been since they released Signify. If you are a fan of serious rock music then Porcupine Tree and their founder, Steven Wilson are vitally important to the ongoing life and success of the genre. They need our ongoing support and interest and they are phenomenal live. Take the PT journey, it's a fulfilling one for fans of serious rock music.
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on 23 October 2009
How many ideas can you put into a record? Porcupine Tree can tell you that. Barbieri, Wilson, Edwin and Harrison have created a mazterpiese. This is not to be called progressive music according to Steve Wilson, the main songwriter and guitarist/singer of the band. Just rock or pop. Let's forget about that. This record is at least without boundaries; maybe someone would call that progressive. This double album is filled to the brim with songs, arrangements and ideas that any rock band in the world should envy. The environment of sound is endless: The guitar is constantly giving new dimenisions and soundscapes, the bass is always dead on, beautiful and filling every hole as the keyboard. Harrison's drumming is amazingly brilliant. Wilson is definitly one of the most gifted musicians, composers and producers in the rock world today. How, on this beautiful album, he draws back and forth the instruments and singing/choruses; fills your ears with guitar and drums etc. or draws them into the background of other sounds or instruments, is simply outstanding in every aspect! And his way of writing music is always something you will recognise out of the millions of songs you hear year after year. I will call this album a Mazterpiese. Not a Masterpiece because Porcupine Tree have yet to make their own Masterpiece. For all those who still can open their ears to something extraordinary and new in rock music I will give The Incident 5 stars. To those who know PC will also know that this is a 3 star album by them according to our own demand. And that is the top so far along with Deadwing, but we KNOW that they have the ability to reach the 4 and 5 stars (according to our demand) in the next years. By far the best "progressive" rock band in the world today All the details and songwriting on The Incident keeps growing every time you listen. Just buy it and then dig out all the other great albums by PT!
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As a long-time fan of Porcupine Tree (and other Steven Wilson side projects) I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the Tree's more recent 'progression' (most notably the heavier sound that became more prevalent from Lightbulb Sun onward). Porcupine Tree fans tend to fall into two broad camps: those that prefer the older, more Floydian and trippy vibe of their early-to-mid period or those who welcomed and have enjoyed their move into heavier rock territory. I fall squarely into the former category and - I am delighted to report - it looks like my patience has paid off (at least in part, which I will come to shortly).

Don't get me wrong; PT never fully 'lost the musical plot' with their last few albums: there are fantastic and transcendent cuts of elegiac power to be found on their more recent offerings ('Arriving Somewhere But Not Here' &'My Ashes' for example) but sometimes these gems were marooned in a sea of more harsh material and I found they suffered as a result. Hence I have long been waiting (well 'hoping' actually) for an album that would go back to their old 'formula' of perhaps more simplistic yet ultimately more rewarding longer musical excursions. Which finally brings me to my specific thoughts on this album (phew!):

Let me firstly start with the negative by saying that the song-cycle 'The Incident' (which constitutes all of CD1) didn't work for me as a concept. Although it does contain a musical refrain that is revisited and that anchors the piece together it is not strong enough to link the different passages thematically; in fact some of these tracks would not sound out of place if placed in an entirely different context (as they do not rely on each other to 'work' in my opinion). In other words this seemed to me a bit of a hotchpotch of songs that may - I'm guessing here - have been massaged into a concept album retrospectively as it were (i.e. merge the songs, add the musical motif here and there etc). The songs are of variable quality and, yes, they do feature a hard rock/metal sensibility at times but there are nevertheless two quite outstanding tracks among the 'concept' that demand particular attention. The first is the track 'Time Flies' which on first listen actually made me laugh out loud! Why? Well, it is such a shameless and affectionate homage to Pink Floyd that I could scarcely believe PT's brass neck. As soon as the first couple of bars were underway I thought 'mmm...this sounds like Gilmour's urgent, staccato riff in 'Dogs'. Later we are treated to the deep reverberating guitar sound as heard in 'Time' from Dark Side Of The Moon. And to top it off Wilson then uses the almost exact sound (possibly even some of the same chords) that Gilmour employs in the sublime coda/outro at the end of 'Sheep'. What stops all this from being a very clever pastiche is the fact that 'Time Flies' is a superb song that stands up on its own merits and - for me - is possibly 'the' stand-out track of the album: a fully-realised mini-concept within a beautifully executed song. The other notable song of CD1 is the final track 'I Drive The Hearse'. Again this may not please those that like PT at their heaviest but for those that Love Wilson's bleak-yet-tuneful Blackfield work you'll feel right at home here: lyrically and emotionally this is very moving stuff indeed.

Now to CD2 i.e. the CD that is NOT part of the song-cycle. Although only four tracks in length I actually found this to be the better of the two discs and - ironically - I felt all these tracks stood together in a way that the first CD doesn't. The first track `Flicker' has a slow and sinuous feel that put me in mind of 'Spirit Of Eden'period Talk Talk (high praise indeed). Somewhat formless and with no real progression (and all the better for it) it successfully evokes that indistinct PT 'mood' that they do so well. 'Bonnie the Cat' is heavier fare which sets the tone superbly for possibly the highlight of the album namely 'Black Dahlia' which then segues beautifully into the final track 'Remember Me Lover'. These two tracks typify a lot of what I look for in Porcupine Tree's music: powerful yet melancholic (sometimes desperately sad) music that stirs an indefinable sense of loss and wonder in the listener (perhaps best examples of this might be 'Fadeaway' or 'Dark Matter). Now THIS is what I'm talkin' about!

In conclusion, this is not the rumoured return to their previous sound that many might have hoped for. Uneven though it maybe it nonetheless has brilliance in parts that harkens back to former glories. Older fans may as well get used to it: the 'Sky Moves Sideways' days are gone - and what's more most fans seem to prefer the newer PT incarnation anyway. This album has pulled off the trick of managing to straddle the two styles with grace though and, although I'll always prefer their dreamier, psychedelic side, I now find myself more amenable to their increasingly contemporary sound. Hell, I may even learn to love it one day! 'Three stars' for now then (due to the unconvincing 'concept' and a few below-par tracks) but this has potential to be upgraded to four in time. Here's looking forward to the next chapter in Steven Wilson's (and PT's) intriguing musical odyssey...
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on 6 October 2009
A lot of people have been harsh with this new album and, yes on first listen it seems a let down, but give it a few spins and you'll start to hear the beauty and brilliance at heart. There's a very dark and sinister undercurrent flowing through this work but it doesn't once take away from the melody or the stunning musicianship. The title track is a stand out moment, dark and edgy and with more than a hint of malice about it, closing track "I drive the hearse" sits at the other end of the spectrum, being light and gentle and simply stunning.
If you percevere you really COULD find something for everyone here, and whereas, to these ears, it still doesn't top "deadwing" or "Signify" it comes VERY close!
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Oh, how I love Steven Wilson and his band Porcupine Tree.
Here's another winner, full of sound and fury, full of moment and (appropriately enough) incident, with as usual so much going on - so much to - well, listen to.
Wilson is a superb singer, a wonderful songwriter who is also a genuinely good lyricist, and a guitarist of rare taste and power, two attributes that don't always go together. A raunchier Steve Hackett...?
This 76-minute feast of varied and richly imagined music is in the form of a suite of fourteen songs called The Incident, plus four other songs at the end.
As I say, there is always so much going on in any PT/SW album, and this one is no exception. It sounds like a slightly more thoughtful, even downbeat, effort than some other Tree recordings, but with the uplift of Wilson's trademark potent and often downright beautiful guitar passages, and Gavin Harrison's customary inventive percussion. What a tremendous asset Harrison is, a truly great British drummer!
I came absurdly late to the Tree and Steven Wilson, but I'm having a whale of a time making up for it. Trying to keep up with the man's prolific work rate is getting to be a lifetime's occupation, but there are far worse ways of spending one's time and money.
I haven't yet heard a PT or SW album that's less than enthralling, at least on some level. I get the impression that Wilson takes such care, and puts so much of himself into each project - and they do seem more like projects than mere albums - that such careful attention pays rich dividends. Lucky us!
If you're already a Tree fan, I can't see how this would disappoint, and if you want to hear a stupendously good band at their peak, this 2009 beauty isn't a bad place to start (though In Absentia or Lightbulb Sun might be even better for a PT novice). This one has grown on me, and I love it.
Wilson writes about his childhood, having been "born in 67, the year of Sergeant Pepper and Are You Experienced" in the 12-minute track Time Flies:

It was a suburb of heaven
Yeah, and it would have been forever
It all seemed to make so much sense
But after a while you realise
Time flies
And the best thing that you can do
Is take what comes to you

It may not be Keats or Dylan - but in the context of the music it sounds more profound than mere words...
A beautiful record.
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on 14 October 2009
The Incident cycle is brilliant, working both as one song and 14 independant tracks (for most of them at least). The second disc of tracks is also fantastic, with Bonnie the Cat being a highlight of the album.
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on 9 November 2009
Downloaded a cheap version of this to hear it first but after a few plays in car and shallow sound on my hifi I had to get the actual CD. I have recently got into this band by reading about the drummer Gavin Harrison in Modern Drummer magazine.
This is a class innovative album with plenty of contrasts. Lovely melodies held together with Harrisons subtle odd meter rhythms which hook my ear. Then swift changes into skull bashing hardness which is still melodic put very powerful. Bought a ticket to see them in Glasgow in december even though I have to get a flight and book hotel. This really flexes the muso muscles in my head with resulting satisfaction.!!
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on 30 October 2009
This album is the 10th from "progressive rock" band Porcupine Tree. If you like many genres of music encompassed and grounded in sonically and musically interesting rock conventions, then Porucpine Tree are the best its going to get. If you are a fan of Opeth, Nine Inch Nails, Frost, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Meshuggah, Sigur Ros, Muse or just about anything else, you will find something for you here, cleverly woven into the aural fabbric of this record. Ambitious yet personal "The Incident" is yet another evolution of what Porcupine Tree are: hence the term progressive.
Even if you are just a fan of inspiring production values, layered soundscapes and masterful songwriting this record has all of those things. Whats special about Porcupine Tree besides their musicality is the ethos and concepts that are perpetuated throughout the lyrics and emotion of each song, Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson goes into an "incident" in each song and tries to imbue with the emotion and poingancy that it once had before it was sanitised by the media that feed us these news stories. This theme forms the backbone of "The Incident" and is adds gravitas to the beauty, melancholy and brutality off the music, a combination that is so lacking in today's mainstream music.

10/10

Key tracks:

the lot, this should appreciated as one stream of consciousness as it was written, as it was intended to be experienced.

Olly.
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on 28 October 2009
The Incident continues PT's steady advance towards mainstream recognition, if that's actually possible in today's music business for any band writing songs that run over 10 minutes. There are numerous good, even great, prog bands out there, but PT seem to be the torch bearers at the moment, & this album gives no-one any reason to take it away from them. You can't call it 'a single song', more like a single song cycle, with recurring themes that tie the album together. Time Flies is a brilliant track, reminiscent of Floyd in the instrumental middle section; I Drive The Hearse is a beautiful closer. But there are too many high points to mention. It all hangs together as a fantastic 55 minutes' listening experience. & the bonus CD is worth it too; 4 more songs each worthy of a place on a PT album. If you like prog, just get it.
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on 21 September 2009
I get the feeling the complexity of this album is a little overwhelming for some people, or is it because their finally seeing commercial success, their the current band to criticise? In years to come I believe this will be known as their masterpiece. There are more ideas on this album, than most bands have in their entire career.

Also fans of Steven Wilson's guitar playing will not be disappointed. As their are more memorable solo's than the last 3 albums. Also I'ts good the band have never sold out. If you love complex, intelligent, thought provoking music you really can't go wrong with " The Incident " I doubt they will ever better this, but time will tell, because I thought they would never better " Deadwing ". But technically this album is their best to date. If you want to be musically educated, go and buy it.
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