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Porcupine Tree - "Deadwing" (CD)

Porcupine Tree - "Deadwing" CD cover image

"Deadwing" track listing:

1. Deadwing (9:46)
2. Shallow (4:17)
3. Lazarus (4:18)
4. Halo (4:38)
5. Arriving Somewhere But Not Here (12:02)
6. Mellotron Scratch (6:56)
7. Open Car (3:46)
8. The Start Of Something Beautiful (7:39)
9. Glass Arm Shattering (6:12)

Reviewed by on February 17, 2011

"Porcupine Tree has not only managed to eclipse some of the genre's greatest works, but has also proved that the band is the leading progressive rock authority going today."

Sometimes everything just falls perfectly into place. Such an example of this would be Porcupine Tree's 2005 full-length album "Deadwing." Everything is done to absolute perfection, from the songwriting and production, to the artwork and layout of the songs. "Deadwing" personifies true art in music. "Deadwing," while being a progressive rock album in its nature, also dips into the waters of metal, electronica, and pop to create a compelling hour's worth of unique music.

Opening with the title track, Porcupine Tree bombards the listener with music that portrays a simplistic frame, yet maintains a distinct level of complexity. For a song as long as it is, nearly ten minutes in length, "Deadwing" provides a breathtaking journey through expert musicianship that leaves a sudden and lasting impact. It has been widely recognized in the progressive music scene that Porcupine Tree singer, songwriter, and guitarist Steven Wilson is a musical genius and this track exemplifies it in every way. It’s the little things that truly matter most and when the catchy main riff is paired with the trippy electronic patches, occasional heaviness, and Wilson's charming vocal lines, it creates one of the best album openers possible.

The momentum never falters with "Deadwing" and even the softest ballad tracks are incredible. "Lazarus," being the album's most pop-friendly composition, features a beautiful piano section and simple acoustics. Once the subtle string section kicks in, "Lazarus" takes full flight and becomes not only one of the album's best songs but a cornerstone in the Porcupine Tree discography. Although it will surely make most die-hard metal-heads cringe and writhe in disgust.

The centerpiece of the record comes in the form of "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here," a twelve minute epic that transcends genres and merges multiple sounds together into one seamless work of art, like a great painting. One of Porcupine Tree's heaviest riffs used to date is also featured in the track and provides a startling twist to the song's main progressive atmosphere. Just when things couldn't get any better, Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt jumps in to provide a gorgeous clean blues guitar solo before the song makes its final round.

Very few albums have the distinction of being a modern masterpiece, even more so when held in comparison to progressive rock's glory days in the late 70's and early 80's. Porcupine Tree has not only managed to eclipse some of the genre's greatest works, but has also proved that the band is the leading progressive rock authority going today. It’s hard to create something so close to perfection, but Porcupine Tree has done just that with "Deadwing."

Highs: Everything is done so well that the songwriting and flow of the album are fantastic.

Lows: "Deadwing" was originally written for a Steven Wilson screenplay of the same name, but the film never materialized.

Bottom line: A cornerstone in progressive rock that has a little something for everyone.

Rated 5 out of 5 skulls
5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)