- Audio CD (16 April 2007)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: ROADRUNNER UK
- ASIN: B000O5B5FK
- Other Editions: Audio CD | DVD Audio | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,757 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Fear Of A Blank Planet CD
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These days it seems that almost every monthly music magazine has a feature in which either a veteran prog rock act is disinterred from the dry ice-wreathed vaults or there's a discussion of who the contenders for the crown of neo prog rock might be. Muse, Radiohead and The Mars Volta (to name but a few) are all frequently mentioned, but one of the monikers most fervently whispered in connection to the genre that dare not speak its name quite yet is Porcupine Tree.
The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist and writer Steve Wilson, Porcupine Tree started out in 1987 almost as a joke, when he created the 'lost' tapes of an imaginary psychedelic/progressive band (much like XTC's spoof psyche outfit The Dukes of Stratosphear) in his home studio. As with Andy Partridge and company, Wilson was surprised to find there was actually an audience for a group that didn't exist. By 2003, the wide-screen values of In Absentia had helped shift over 100,000 units, and their popularity was consolidated in 2005 with the darker Deadwing.
The new album - extensively toured to ever-growing and predominantly youthful audiences before it was recorded - sees a logical continuation of their successful formula. Based around concerns that young people are becoming separated from real life by a desensitising diet of video games and the internet, Fear of a Blank Planet explores this alienation via tracks such as the 17-minute 'Anesthetize', which traverses atmospheric terrains (largely supplied by ex-Japan keyboardist Richard Barbieri) and features bombastic dynamics from their constantly inventive drummer, Gavin Harrison.
The band grasp at sweeping, propulsive themes ('Way Out of Here') that can give the hairs on the back of your neck a close shave. Having honed in on the old-school prog of his youth (both Rush's Alex Lifeson and King Crimson's Robert Fripp guest), Wilson has welded to this the jagged recursive riffs which bands such as Killswitch Engage or Tool deploy to bone-crushing effect. What keeps PT from merely rattling around in the metal ghetto are its polished layers (especially effective on 'Sleep Together') and Wilson's accessible melodic sensibilities. --Sid Smith
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Top Customer Reviews
It's like art-quicksand: the more you resist and deny, the further you get ever-so-gently pulled in.
Thing is, I'm enjoying myself immensely. The music just comes in floods, sweeping me along deliriously. I feel like a grinning Robinson Crusoe, shipwrecked from the security blanket of my punk, indie and art-rock, but loving every second of the isolation. My dreams are now in colour too....(yeah, I know).
So far 'Inner Marshland', 'Going for the One' and the grand 'Blues for Allah' have entranced and mystified me; I feel like I'm passing tests and now this Porcupine Tree are another challenge on the horizon..
So, deep breath, 'FOABP' (yes, and I'm not a bit shocked..) is outstanding in every department. It's fierce, gentle, haunting, cinematic, brazen(lol!), profound etc etc.
It's like a good-music intravenous as I lay dazed and confused in the Garcia Clinic for people who thought they were years ahead...but are really just catching up.
'FOABP' is SO good (in a modern sense) it's almost un-reviewable. If it was born in the 70's lets say, I'd be standing on my tail on this very page, telling you how they don't make `em like this anymore. Another satisfactory category for 'FOABP'.
It's got fiery rock guitar; vast banks of whirling string-synth; staccato drumming; and a vocals-man, who obviously understands the lunacy of it all, singing brilliantly tongue-in-cheek lyrics with deadpan seriousness.Read more ›
As for the album, it is absolutely amazing! Although I've only been listening for a couple of days there is something that instantly grips you! The songs just have an amazing sound and their arrangements are impeccable. Like others have noted PT haven't changed their sound for this album, but it does seem like they have taken everything from Deadwing, Stupid Dream, In Absentia and Signify to create in my opinion their most complete album to date. One thing that Porcupine Tree I feel have lacked in the past is creating a complete album, individually the songs stand out but as an entire album fail to hit the mark. Something that has definitely been corrected on Fear of a Blank Planet. This is an album and should be listen to as one suite.
One song that does stand out on the album is Anesthetize, in fact I would go as far as saying the album price is worth it for this 17 minute track alone! It is definitely one of the most amazing pieces of prog rock or even rock you will ever hear. The 5.1 DTS surround sound version is just utterly amazing and takes you through an incredible journey each and every listen!
This is a must buy and is maybe even PT's best and for sure most complete album to date!
As usual, the band explores a variety of shades of heaviness and complexity. A larger-than-usual proportion of slow, soft sections (including a couple of whole songs predominantly in this style) might cause some fans of heavier Porcupine Tree to lose interest, but to me the album never becomes dull and is kept alive by Steven Wilson's haunting vocal lines and imaginative soundscapes. In contrast, the album also incorporates the heaviest music the band have recorded, and they pull it off brilliantly.
The album can be quite slow-moving: ideas are never hurried, but allowed to develop over many minutes. The chorus to the longest track, Anesthetize, doesn't kick in until some seven minutes into the song, but the build-up of the introduction adds to the impact of the memorable vocal line when it arrives. There are numerous classic Porcupine Tree moments on this CD which will keep existing fans happy, and although each song is perhaps not as striking as, say, the tracks on Deadwing, there is still plenty of interest here with unique musical and vocal ideas which Wilson manages so well.
In summary, although Fear Of A Blank Planet is a slightly more challenging listen than the previous two albums it's definitely up there in terms of songwriting, atmosphere and performance.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was the first album I heard from this band or of any Steven Wilson project. Following up on a recommendation from my son shortly after the release of this album, I checked it... Read morePublished 4 months ago by P.KELLY
At last something from this side of the millennium I can appreciate. Echos of the 1970's progressive era yet more accessible for those of us with shorter attention spans. Read morePublished 5 months ago by helowen
Some of the negative reviews about FOABP are really well thought out and should not be dismissed out of hand. A quality review doesn't mean you have to agree or disagree. Read morePublished 7 months ago by mal
Personally preferring more upbeat offerings like the songs Stranger by the Minute, Lightbulb Sun's title track, etc, I have found Fear of a Blank planet to be exceedingly difficult... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Another great album from the multi-talented Steven Wilson and co. Excellent songs and superb musicianship as well as the usual superb production. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Woodpecker4
Some good songs, with Gavin Harrison drumming with the best of them.Published 13 months ago by Jeremy Jameson
Porcupine deliver with this brilliant concept album. My Ashes is a stand out for me personally but then so are the other tracks, if you like long tracks with it all then this album... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Diane Wardman