The British progressive rock band Porcupine Tree has earned quite the cult following for itself, and much of it has to do with the latest full album release “Fear of a Blank Planet.”
Here is a review of the 2007 album.
Porcupine Tree’s “Fear of a Blank Planet” Album Review
In their early days, Porcupine Tree was basically current lead singer Steven Wilson and a few assorted friends. Much of the music relied on synthesizers and other digital techniques and consisted primarily of spacey soundscapes.
As the years went on, Porcupine Tree added a full band and truly become a real progressive rock band. Their sound evolved into an aggressive and heavier rock style while still keeping the atmospheric qualities of the old style.
“Fear of a Blank Planet” is a good combination of both styles and also features the heaviest guitar work yet from the band.
“Fear of a Blank Planet” Track Listing
The first track is the title track, and it sets the tone for the rest of the album, which is basically a theme album about the cold, detached state of modern youth.
It’s about the most straight-forward you’ll get on this album and it is solid and consistent throughout with heavy guitars and strong vocal work by Wilson who does an excellent job of conveying the hopelessness of the song’s main subject.
“My Ashes” is next and it’s a beautiful albeit depressing ballad with the early part sounding a bit like “No Quarter” from Led Zepplin.
“Anesthesize” is the album’s unquestioned centerpiece. It’s a 17-minute power-prog track with a towering guitar solo from Rush’s Alex Lifeson near the middle and a smooth, beautifully-harmonized final part about a stolen love.
“Sentimental” is a wonderful slow song that continues the theme of hopeless youth and throws in a remarkable surprise riff near the end that ties in brilliantly with the title.
“Way Out of Here” features soundscapes by Robert Fripp of King Crimson and is another soft-heavy-soft-heavy song that will keep you hooked throughout despite its long length.
The album closer is “Sleep Together” and it kicks off with a mesmerizing, sinister opening soundscape that gives way to a chorus that is catchy yet seems a bit formulaic, but it is anything but if you decipher the hidden meaning.
Porcupine Tree’s “Fear of a Blank Planet” Review Final Thoughts
This is an amazing concept album and a great starting point for people looking to get into perhaps the best and most underrated progressive rock band of its generation.
“Anesthesize” is worth buying the album for alone and all of the songs fit together perfectly like pieces to a puzzle. From beautiful melodies to crunching, angry guitar riffs, this album has something for everything and shows off the versatility that Porcupine Tree is known for.