2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
this one has to be the porcupine's best...,
This review is from: In Absentia [European Edition] (Audio CD)
Steven Wilson, for me, is a very hit and miss songwriter. a listen to any other of his albums will tell you that. for me, this is the one record that stands out as his best piece of work to date.
This is consistently a great album, with some fantastic ambient prog rock and a sprinkling of distortion thrown in to great effect. Since working with Opeth, who are probably the best band in the world right now, more and more elements of metal can be heard in the music, and the acoustic side of things has been cranked up a gear technically as well.
Steve Wilson is one of those people who can write something that is essentially very simple and easy to play on guitar, but you are still left wondering 'how did he come up with that?'. In absentia is a great reflection of that.
Opener blackest eyes is a real grower, I have to say I thought the mildly heavy opening riff was a tad average on first listen, but it has since grown on me. The rest of the song is top notch.
For anyone who may be put off by the distortion (if metal is not your scene at all), then the second song 'trains' will be a welcome return to the bands lighter side; one of the best songs they have written, and a live favourite. Anyone could play this on a guitar yet we would all have loved to have written this song... truly gorgeous.
Lips of ashes is another beautiful song, with a very nice solo at the end over some nice backing rhythm notes. A very ambient song, and fantastic in surround sound!
The sound of muzak is an interesting song, written in 7/4 and has some nice drumming on display from Gavin Harrison, and has a very valid message about the state of things today musically.
We then go into arguably the highlight of the album, gravity eyelids. WHAT a song. For me, perhaps, their greatest. A wonderful chorus; great choice of chords on the piano, and when things turn heavier, it is every bit as good. The album is worth buying for this track alone.
The other tracks are very strong but the opening 5 are probably the best, with the exception of 'Strip the Soul' later on in the album, which for me is also one of their best songs to date. But it is how the songs sound collectively as a whole which gives this album real depth, and I feel personally that there is no doubt that this is their best.
The dvd-a version of this album includes the song 'Futile' which for some reason is not available on any of their original albums... Steve definately has a knack for leaving his best material hidden away from everyone. This song is well worth a listen, particularly for what I would describe as 'THE riff' towards the end of the song. Perhaps the best riff he has ever written. Then again, I am a huge fan of Opeth and am therefore probably biased towards anything he writes that sounds similar.
Other albums worth listening to by this band are Nil Recurring and Fear of a Blank Planet, both boosted by the presence of the master that is Bob Fripp, whom I am luckily enough to live 5 minutes away from! Deadwing is also worth a listen, although none of their other many albums are nearly as consistently listenable as this one is throughout.
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Initial post: 23 Sep 2012 15:31:46 BDT
I know this comment is 3 years late, but to have stated 'Deadwing is worth a listen'....
..... was rather like saying Shakespeare was 'quite a good dramatist'. AND we all know
what SW/PT have achieved since, do we not?
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