Porcupine Tree
Fear of a Blank Planet

When it comes to the title of musician/producer/leader, Steve Wilson tops the cake. While there may be plenty of other people that do the same thing, Devin Towsend for example, Wilson is probably one of the more accomplished men in music today. If you don’t agree with that, I invite you to take a journey with Porcupine Tree’s latest monument of perfection, Fear of a Blank Planet.

In a musical world where everyone is trying to cross genres, no one is quite as stylish about it as Porcupine Tree. This is the definition of progressive music. Five to twenty-minute opus’s that never leave you feeling jaded. This is music you can share with anyone. I have yet to hear a single bad thing come out of any mouth about this act. And why should I? There are not a lot of people who can be in this band shoes. Their fan base is from all angles and Wilson works with a lot of different people as a producer. He is so talented that you can hear his influence just about anywhere he goes. With his crystalline guitar tone and 70’s inspired atmosphere’s, it’s downright hard to miss. Take Opeth’s Damnation album for example. Opeth just ooze his influence now. Literally. You can hear the shift they took from one album to the next. It’s even eminent in Akerfeldt’s voice now. So, if the man can influence the likes of Opeth, imagine what he does with his own band.

Enter Fear of a Blank Planet. Starting off right where 2005’s Deadwing left us, this track give a pretty good description of what we are in for. If you heard Absentia or Deadwing, you know what Fear of a Blank Planet will give you. Track three has a guest appearance from none other than Canadian prog rocker Alex Lifeson of Rush on guitars. This is the longest track on the record lasting over seventeen minutes long. Somewhere in the middle of this track the song gets real heavy and there is about a 30 second drum extravaganza that cannot be missed. Coolest thing in the entire release, love it.

The best thing about this band is how steady they are and how wide ranged their audience can be. Your mom would like this just as much as your progressive death metal buddy. This is serious stuff for serious music lovers. Abstract jazz/rock solos thrive with any Porcupine release and there is no exception here. For guitar players there is nothing like hearing the clean, crisp, yet dirty sound of Steve Wilson’s almost delicate attack. Signature sound nonetheless. The same could be said for his vocals. He can be quite beautiful and subtle, even over the more rock parts to the music.

Fans of classic rock, metal, folk, jazz, country, prog, and whatever should embrace Porcupine Tree with glee. Flawless band that puts out flawless releases every single time. Take a Sunday drive and enjoy the melancholic and atmospheric rock tunes of Porcupine Tree.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shane Wolfensberger
July 24th, 2007

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