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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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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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on 4 November 2009
Played this CD once so far and my initial thoughts are this is a very Dark album which in my opinion is no bad thing as most of best music is,but it is not held together or as inspired to the same degree as Fear of the Blank Planet which I thought was exceptional it would be nice to think with more familiarisation this album might become the same but unfortunately it just doesn`t seem to have the same qaulity of inspiration,but don`t be put off by any standards this is still a good album that might just require more listening but make sure you buy the previous excellent P.T works like In absentia,F.T.B.P,Deadwing and Steven Wilson`s last album Insurgentes which is Excellent.
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on 10 June 2011
Porcupine Tree have been releasing consistently good albums over several decades. The Incident is the latest in the line, and from the hard-edged opener of Occam's Razor through to the finale it represents an intelligent and accessible approach to the genre.I would move to a 5 star rating if the vocals were a bit stronger. Steve sings well enough, but for me well enough is not quite good enough given the high standard of the creativity and craftmanship exhibited in all other areas of the work. To finish on a positive note, I love the percssion - it reminds me of Bill Bruford in his pomp, and underpins the feel of the music.
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on 16 September 2009
Porcupine Tree have always had a loyal fan base, and thus every fan feels passionately about a certain point in PT's career; usually depending on which era they discovered the band. This is where The Incident is bound to divide some of the fans. It never reaches the blistering barrage of the heaviest parts of FOABP's 'Anesthetize', nor does it reach the blatant Floydian influences of songs such as 'Don't Hate Me' on Stupid Dream. What on offer here is quite simply a unique collaboration of each musical style PT have attempted in the past 15 years, condensed into an album with a haunting concept but delivered with all the majestic talent that made me fall in love with the band in the first place.

Although the first CD should be listened to as one long journey through love, life and death it is split up into 14 tracks each telling a story about a certain 'Incident' that inspired the concept of the album. Each sub-section to the 55 min title track is linked lyrically and in theme, if not directly connected by the song transitions. The entire song itself goes through many changes, from the powerful down-tuned rock of 'Blind House' to the beautifully melodic climax of 'I Drive the Hearse'(Which contains a sublime guitar solo reminiscent of 'A Smart Kid' from Stupid Dream). The Incident touches on many emotions and absolutely nails the balance between earlier PT and more recent PT.

However, what a lot of the reviewers on here have seem to have forgotten about is the second CD. Just when i thought the whole album could not get any better i was treated to some of the best individual songs the band have released in years. 'Bonnie the Cat' for example provides the progressive metal complexity of FOABP whilst 'Black Dahlia' (personal favourite) and 'Remember Me Lover' really pull on the heart strings to complete an outstanding second CD.

Overall The Incident is bound to divide audiences, but it shouldn't really because it contains almost everything that have made Porcupine Tree one of the most impressive and important British rock bands around today. It may be a lot for a first timer to digest, but for many die hard Porcupine Tree fans like myself this really is heaven.
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on 28 September 2009
Music, particularly albums, either grab you instantaneously or grow on or with you. The ones that grow on or with you tend to stick with you, often for life.

I'm a huge fan of The Porcupine Tree, however, I was unconvinced on my first listen to 'The Incident' (unlike my first listen to other Porcupine Tree albums), partly due to the concept of the first CD in this package which I initially felt may have been contrived for the sake of being artistic: It's either one song or it isn't. The needle swings towards it isn't as the linking themes aren't immediately obvious, however, there are common threads which become all the clearer during absorption. I would argue that this is a fair expectation of any decent well put together album. Only a few listens in, the art is deep, haunting, the concept has grown on me and it really begins to fit the overall concept of the album which becomes more apparent the more one listens. The musicianship and individual style is unquestionably Porcupine Tree, credit to the four unique musicians that make up this group.

If this were to be my first Porcupine Tree album or listen I may have found the concept challenging and arrangement possibly inaccessible, particularly if you consider the relative accessibility of In Absentia or Deadwing and in the context of other music out there. However, being familiar with the 'Tree, this piece of work is unquestionably them and I would dare say it's the 'Tree evolved, when you consider artistic evolution is not always linear yet individual performance often is: Gavin Harrison and Colin Edwin's contribution providing sufficient evidence. There is some great writing, even better performance and solid hooks amongst this material. Their best recorded performance yet?

Stand-out tracks are 'I Drive the Hearse', 'Black Dahlia' (written by Barbieri) and 'Remember Me Lover'. As with most PT albums, including Fear Of A Blank Planet and Up the Downstair, there are some, often initially unexpected, stand-out moments right across both of the two 'Incident' CDs, which make it an absolute pleasure to listen to. The depth of this band almost always guarantees a new insight on every listen.

My personal challenge (and thus four stars) with this album is two-fold:

i) Having listened to it in context of Steve Wilson's astonishing recent album, Insurgentes, despite quite different moods and textures, I am puzzled to where the line between Porcupine Tree and Steve Wilson exists, particularly given he is solely accredited to the writing of most of 'The Incident' and the flavours between his own material and this band are so close. There could be an argument Porcupine Tree is Steve Wilson and vice versa. For example, Gavin Harrison makes a significant contribution to both solo and collective ventures which just blurs the line further. I can't help but feel Steve Wilson was slightly less engaged on this album than any other of his magnificent creations/contributions, not in terms of performance but perhaps in terms of presence, belief and this may have unconsciously filtered out throughout the soundtrack.

ii) There is some great music on this album although I still feel the overall package is less emotionally inspired and more contrived concept. Perhaps to do with incongruities between material and package. There's something with this album that separates it from the others and who knows, over time, that may prove to be a great thing. I feel this truly personal opinion emanates from the fact I have felt great integrity from everything else Porcupine Tree and, for that matter, Steve Wilson. I'm positive though and it's still refreshingly different from much else out there.

Sonically, an album I am having great pleasure indulging in and would recommend to anyone. I've always enjoyed the depth and emotion of this band.

For me, personally, it's a grower and a good one at that. Be great to see how it unfolds live.
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on 26 February 2012
Okay I've been listening to this regularly for about a year now and it took a good 4 or 5 listens to really sink in and even longer for it to rate as highly as I regard it now.
This album seems to have divided fans of their earlier albums and I have seem some extremely negative comments here and elsewhere - something I feel is a bit undeserved. I think a lot has to do with expectations; porcupine tree marketed this as a '55 minute long concept album consisting of a single song cycle' - something that immediately conjures up such words as 'epic'. Porcupine tree have always managed to effortlessly create stunning 10-20 minute long 'epics' before, so perhaps people were looking for another 'anesthetize' or 'arriving somewhere' etc.
On first listen I was unsure of what I heard - musically it sounded disjointed and conceptually it sounded unfocused. Personally I don't care too much for concept albums but it has always worked for porcupine tree in the past, even if the concept is a little vague ('deadwing' was based on a script for a ghost story film that never got made...). Well the 'concept' for this album is much less about a story and more a theme that unites the individual tracks that make up the 55 minute long song.
Musically it actually sounds more like a collection of short tracks making up a larger piece (which I suppose is what it is anyway...). What I mean is that it does not flow with the same ease that the individual parts is 'anesthetize' for example did. Instead, for every 'song' there seems to be shorter instrumental passages that aids the flow of the tracks. Also, it is much quieter than their last few albums (albeit with a few loud raw guitar riffs in a few sections). In-fact, there is a new 'semi-acoustic'sound to their music that, while not truly new to the band, has never been so apparent as in this album.

As I became familiar with the flow of the album, I started enjoying it a lot more. Parts that stood out as 'jagged' i) - Occam's Razor, the end of vi) the incident)sounded more natural and the album started to take shape as a single piece to be enjoyed in once sitting. This I believe is how it was meant to be heard (an indeed all porcupine tree albums). Rather than simply enjoying individual tracks, highlight for me became several song sections ( for example a particular favourite of mine is the section from xi) - octane twisted to xiii) circle of manias). I started to notice that tracks complemented each other ( vii) your unpleasant family and viii) the yellow windows... acted as a build up to the albums central moment and definite highlight - 'time flies').
The second disc (yep theres two!) are songs that the band did not feel fitted into the concept but still felt strong enough to release. After the lack of any real interest in 'nil recurring' (its amazing by the way), the band opted to not release another EP, but instead release these tracks as part of the album. This was a wise move for me because I feel that disc 2 contains some of the bands most fresh sounding material. 'Black Dahalia' does not sound like any porcupine tree song I've heard before and 'Bonnie the Cat' is heavy song that fans of the bands more metallic sound will appreciate.

To summarise, this is perhaps Porcupine Tree's most varied album (other than perhaps lightbulb sun). It is very much a 'grower' - but PLEASE stick with it! I DONT rank it higher than their last few releases but that is hardly a reason to dislike it. I respect people opinions but the songwriting is still in top form and I cant see why people who liked deadwing, or fear of a blank planet do not like this. Infact people who liked their earlier, more psychedelic albums, will actually find this an easier listen than their previous three efforts. This is not the first time the band has split its audience (stupid dream was the start of a poppier sound and in absentia, a more metallic sound), so perhaps this is the start of a new direction for porcupine tree?. Steven Wilson even stated recently that he wanted to move away from Metal so perhaps this is a bridging album and we can expect something truly new for their 11th release.
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on 12 October 2014
I've recently discovered this band through the wonders of the Internet and I am flabbergasted. How on EARTH can a band this good be so unknown? I feel that I've stumbled upon a treasure trove. Following Guthrie Govan on YouTube took me to Steven Wilson and from there, Porcupine Tree. I kicked off with 'Fear of a Blank Planet', which I really enjoyed and have been listening to their back catalogue on Spotify. I bought this album yesterday so I could really blast it out in the car and it is staggeringly good. Fantastic!
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on 15 September 2009
In the run-up to the release of this album I had two conflicting emotions. The first was great anticipation, because I'm a big fan of Porcupine Tree and their last album (2007's Fear of a Blank Planet) was of very high quality. The second was a degree of trepidation when I heard that the new release would actually be a single 55-minute song split up into 14 tracks. That led me to expect a spaced-out affair like The Sky Moved Sideways, and I have more than enough albums like that already.

I needn't have worried. While this (concept) album definitely sounds like an album, a single piece of work, it also contains a great deal of variety. So, for example, there are downtuned riffs liberally spread throughout, but also haunting synth-glockenspiel on `Drawing the Line', Nine Inch Nails-esque robotic menace on the title track, a soaring guitar solo on `Time Flies' and acoustic guitar atmospherics on that track, `Great Expectations' (also featuring calming piano and vocal harmonies) and album-closer `I Drive the Hearse', which sums the mood of the whole up beautifully with the genius simplicity of its chorus lyrics `And silence is another way of saying what I want to say / And lying is another way of hoping it will go away'. At the same time, the unity of the record is shown by the fact that the riff on the album opener `Occam's Razor' keeps popping up in different places without sounding incongruous, and by the recurrent lyrical themes. When the same few lines unexpectedly turned up on `The Séance' as had on `Octane Twisted' I nearly punched the air. This unity is such that first single `Time Flies' sounds much better in the context of the album than it does on its own; although I should point out that the album version is also considerably longer.

In fact, I can truly say that on this album Porcupine Tree have perfectly married the soft prog (and sometimes spaced out) sounds of their 90s albums with the heavier metal of this decade that got them signed to Roadrunner. You can tell that the band have worked really hard on this piece of work, without falling into attendant traps like over-production. This is the best album that Porcupine Tree have ever released and I can't see how they will ever be able to top it; but I would love to be proved wrong.

All the above is about CD1. CD2 isn't up to the same standard, or even, really, that of the Nil Recurring EP, to which it is quite similar in spirit. But, frankly, you can treat CD2 as a bonus. CD1, The Incident, is the album of the year.
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VINE VOICEon 19 October 2009
I've been a Porcupine Tree fan for a long time and I have every LP, EP and rarity that's ever surfaced to do with them. Having said that, I was not a fan of this album's predecessor: Fear Of A Blank Planet, I was disappointed with it to say the least. The Incident, however, is so good that I am inclined to think that in years to come it will be regarded as Porcupine Tree's masterpiece.

It's basically got everything that's great about Porcupine Tree on it, it's got the harmonies, the long meandering instrumentals, the big riffs, the serene ambient textures, the interweaving vocal lines, the wandering time signatures, but most important of all, it has plain fantastic vocal melodies and lyrics. It's just a joy to listen to how well this record is constructed, it's a mature album made by people who have done alot of experimentation and are not afraid to use all of that experience.

There are many different phases to the career of Porcupine Tree, and it's almost like The Incident is comprised of all the very best parts from all those different phases, seamlessly moving through one style to the next.

Finally, I think Steven Wilson has finally accomplished something he has been attempting for some time, which is to bring out an album that you just have to listen to the whole of, rather than the individual tracks on shuffle. It's just so well put together, each track moves so effortlessly and subtly into the next that you want to hear the next bit.

Like most PT albums it is a grower, but my god does this album grow into something magnificent!
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