Porcupine Tree - Fear Of A Blank Planet
Porcupine Tree mastermind Steven Wilson has taken alot of heat over the years. While his progressive pet project has garnered plenty of critical acclaim and a wide fan-base, many claim his music to be of a highly pretentious and passionless nature. While it's easy to take either side of the fence, Fear Of A Blank Planet does little to cut away the negativity surrounding the band, but still offers plenty to the established fan.
Fear Of A Blank Planet is bookended by highlights, the Dream Theater-esque title track and the album's most engaging number by far, "Sleep Together". In between one can easily get lost in Porcupine Tree's soundscapes, and not always for the best reasons. "Anesthetize" is apparently meant to be the album's focal point, as it contains much to do with the overall theme (based on Brett Easton Ellis' "Lunar Park"), along with Wilson's typical "1000 musical ideas in one track" writing style. This is where the band loses me; when they stretch themselves so far as to break upon their grand vision in the absence of what I like to call "inspiratia", the essence that shines through songs written with emotion rather than pure logic. I suppose you could call Fear Of A Blank Planet the thinking man's metal. The terminally-depressed-by-way-of-terminal-boredom thinking-man, that is.
The album has been getting solid reviews around the net so far, and although I am not to quick to praise Fear Of A Blank Planet, I can give credit where credit is due. Wilson and co. are obviously accomplished and skilled musicians, who can write a decent song (unlike those "saviors" of progressive music, Dream Theater ((don't get me started on those guys)). Alas, when it's all said and done, we've heard Porcupine Tree do this before, and it sounds not strikingly exact but close enough to warrant caution to those who've tried and failed to get into the Tree before.
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