Fear Of A Blank Planet Review

artist: porcupine tree date: 01/05/2008 category: compact discs
porcupine tree: Fear Of A Blank Planet
Release Date: Apr 16, 2007
Label: Lava
Genres: Ambient, Prog-Rock/Art Rock, Experimental, Post-Rock/Experimental
Number Of Tracks: 6
With less of a rock influence and more of Porcupine Tree's unclassifiable sound, Fear Of A Blank Planet is a magnificent album.
 Sound: 9.6
 Lyrics: 9.2
 Overall Impression: 9.4
 Overall rating:
 9.6 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.4 
 Users rating:
 9.7 
 Votes:
 117 
reviews (5) 46 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.7
Fear Of A Blank Planet Reviewed by: trotz, on april 19, 2007
7 of 9 people found this review helpful

Sound: There is music. And there's music with substance. Music which, from feeling to feeling, touches our soul, even for a glimpse. Music to be loved. Art. How many artists can we say, 18 years later, to have sensibility to build, one after another, true odes to Human Feeling. And so, this is no immediate music. This can only fully be understood by a focused commitment, a strong and willed desire to understand, to seek for the inconspicuous beauty on it. The album is one of the most cohesive and intense albums Porcupine Tree have ever made, flowing, from piece to piece, to a glorious 50 minute journey of self consciousness and liberation. 10 year-old kid. The pills that I've been taking confuse me. Pills for emptiness. Futility. Ephemeral. All the drugs that seem to take out the humanity in us, which make we forgot that the most beautiful is not what is seen, but indeed what it is felt. And in this way the title track flows, an energetic and blasting convincing rock opener, resembling the mood of Deadwing track: anger-climax-peace, with some psychedelic piano paintings in the middle. But the album then evolutes to a different kind of feeling, different from the overall nostalgic, sad, quasi-romantic feeling of it's predecessor. Strings put My Ashes, a sweet quasi-acoustic layered track, to an ethereal level, elevated by the kid's comprehension that part of him is empty And my ashes find a way beyond the fog, and return to save the child that I forgot. And then the album flows into it's art peak. All the subtle feeling, all the utterly blistering sonic rock power blended in one song. Anesthetize. Memorable refrains, impressive riffs (with some touch of post-metal), disturbing soundscapes, mind blowing rhythms, splendid cascades of celestial backing vocals and even ethereal zen moments, all together fueled by some precious moments like You were stolen, there's black across the Sun. It ends. Terrifying, only 17 minutes? Next one, Sentimental. Sentimental is the moment to cry. All the emotions evoked until now explode in the piano-laid dreamy guitar tone of the track: I've wasted my life, I'm hurting inside. No excesses or dramas, just feeling as the way it is. Time to recover is not encountered on Way Out of Here, another moving track, with some anger explosions, leaded by it's disturbing soundscapes, marking bass lines and with the delicious original guitar solo. And then it comes the last track, Sleep Together. Class. The band had reinvented themselves again. They did what it seemed impossible. To fuse perfectly the most bizarre and psychic electronic industrial a la Nine Inch Nails with the most majestic symphonic arrangements. The album ends in a cathartic explosion of strings. We're literally disintegrated in particles, voyaging through the cosmos infinitude. Let's leave forever. Leave forever. Forever from this, many times, inhuman place we call Earth. // 10

Lyrics: Lyrics are very down-to-earth, different from the poetic disposal of "In Absentia" ones. We have to see them as a kid's perspective of its own ego. They have to be seen as a flowing story in order to be understood. Still, heartbreaking in some moments, as I mentioned. // 9

Overall Impression: When the album ends we're shocked. We want more. And then we put the album from the beginning. Feel, cry and leave again. Like we were in an intense and beautiful dream. The dream of escaping from this blank society, in which we assist growingly to the terrifying indifference of pointing a gun, of causing suffering, of killing. Lives guided by destruction. This album is the manifest against the emptiness that plagues the humanity. Steven Wilson has the power to touch people. Every single album of the band has it's own feeling. I still can't resume what I feel in this album. But it feels a lot. Masterpiece. // 10

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overall: 10
Fear Of A Blank Planet Reviewed by: ad4mZX, on april 16, 2007
4 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sound: For those who haven't heard of Porcupine Tree, they are a progressive rock band from the UK. Fear Of A Blank Planet is their latest release (comes out April 16 Europe, April 24 in the US). Many may say that this isn't as good as Porcupine Tree's last album, In Absentia, upon their first listen, but after getting used to the new sound you'll begin to realize that the two albums aren't comparable. With less of a rock influence and more of Porcupine Tree's unclassifiable sound, Fear Of A Blank Planet is a magnificent album. With only 6 tracks, many may think that this is as short lived as frontman Steven Wilson's last release, "Blackfield II." However, due to the fact that the tracks are very long (the longest is over 17 minutes), the album manages to clock in at over 50 minutes long. Each track flows together very well, something that In Absentia did not achieve. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics in this album flow together as well as the music itself does. It seems to me that this is a concept album, however Porcupine Tree hasn't stated this themselves. Steven Wilson's singing talents manage to match those of his music production. Sometimes the vocals will sound like Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails (notably in the title track) while other times they will sound extremely smooth. // 10

Overall Impression: This album lacks in two areas: filler tracks and bad music. It's been 20 years since the band started, and it's a disappointment that such great music sells only a fraction of what some 19 year olds wearing makeup and yelling into a microphone does. Every song here is a masterpiece and has it's own unique quality to it while still flowing together with the other tracks. The music will relax you, but won't make you fall asleep. This is the best album I've heard so far from 2007. // 10

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overall: 10
Fear Of A Blank Planet Reviewed by: CaptainSBDA, on january 05, 2008
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: A prog album of the old days has rarely occured in a long time. Prog albums of the old days had few songs (anywhere from 4-7 songs), and the songs were generally longer. When I looked at the tracklisting for this album, I thought, "This looks a lot like Rush-era prog." After listening to it, I feel the same way. This is probably as pure as prog gets. The sound goes anywhere from rock (title track) to slow ballads (The beautiful "My Ashes" and "Sentimental") to furious, blistering metal ("Anesthetize.") For an album with few songs, you get a wide sonic range. "Way Out of Here" is probably one of the best prog songs in a long time. // 10

Lyrics: This is a concept album based off of the book "Lunar Park," by Bret Easton Ellis. This album is told from the perspective of Ellis' son, who lives in a media-obsessed society that is hooked on prescription drugs, violence, and monotonous focus on Xboxes. This is reflected basically throughout the entire album, as evident through tracks like the title track, "Anesthetize," "Sentimental," and "Way Out of Here." The track "My Ashes" comes from the final part of the book, where the author scatters his father's ashes. Steven Wilson's amazing vocals deliver all of this perfectly. // 10

Overall Impression: While all of the albums in the period of "Stupid Dream" to "Deadwing" are nothing short of amazing, this is truly the best progressive album of the 21st century so far. Each of their previous albums could be easily classified: "Stupid Dream" is pop, "In Absentia" feels a lot like Nine Inch Nails, and "Deadwing" is more alt rock based. This one, while delving into metal territory, is prog in it's purest form, evident by tracks such as "Anesthetize" and "Way Out of Here." "Anesthetize," now my favorite track on the album, is better than most Tool epics and almost as good as some Dream Theater epics. The 17 minute track starts off proggish, but right around 6:15 it turns into a blistering metalfest, at one time reaching a point of insane double-bass drumming, courtesy of Gavin Harrison, who is probably one of the best rock drummers in existence. This is probably the best album of 2007, edging out amazing albums such as Vai's "Sound Theories" and Blackfield's "Blackfield II." This is progressive music, no doubt. // 10

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overall: 8.3
Fear Of A Blank Planet Reviewed by: Metal_link111, on september 01, 2007
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: It's difficult to condense the brilliant collection of ideas and sounds featured on the newest addition to the Porcupine Tree discography Fear of a Blank Planet. The album comes five years after the release of prog-rock masterpiece In Absentia and two after the band's most recent release Deadwing, making it a highly anticipated and equally suited addition to the group's largely successful history. Though the album follows a bleak and disturbing story of a troubled youth, the music is nothing short of brilliant. Intelligently composed around a highly original collection of sounds and coupled with eloquent song writing, the album mirrors the artistic qualities of, not only the album's main creator Steven Wilson, but the genuine beauty of the progressive rock genre. The album opens with the title track, Fear of a Blank Planet which extends at a comfortable seven and a half minutes. The song begins with the typing of computer keys and slowly progresses so that it builds in intensity, a musical accompaniment that appears to perfectly mirror the turbulent life of the faded youth. As the album progresses, so does the style of music, moving at graceful pace from soft (My Ashes) to heavy (Anesthetize) and going deeper into the youth's troublesome psyche. Standout tracks include the melodic Way out of Here and ultimate prog-rock opus Anesthetize. // 9

Lyrics: Based on a teenager's disengagement with the wider society, the album provides an engaging (and harrowing) journey through the youth's inescapable downward spiral, highlighting the destructive nature of the world around him. From the bleak confines of his bedroom to the emotional dysfunction caused by an excess of drugs, Porcupine Tree capture this powerful imagery with a cleverly selected musical composition. Lyrically, the song details (quite graphically) exactly what the music projects. Lines such as you feel no sun, you steal a gun, to kill time are gripping as they provide the disturbing reality of the character in a way that is not overly simple or complex in language. Though not quite as lyrically creative as with past releases, primary songwriter and front man Steve Wilson does enough to ensure the story fits perfectly with the music. As always, Wilson has set himself up as a 'voice' for the modern prog-rock age and thus the vocals are comfortable accompaniment to the flow of the music. // 8

Overall Impression: While the album, in comparison to previous releases, is noticeably different it is not a huge departure from the band's easily recognised sound. In fact, Porcupine Tree, in maintaining their traditional style don't turn their backs on new and more modern sounds. The album's clever integration of many different genres make it a genuine recommendation for admirers of progressive and hard rock, blues, jazz and even heavy metal. // 8

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overall: 9
Fear Of A Blank Planet Reviewed by: thenewblack745, on september 06, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Fear of a Blank Planet overall is a much slower album than previous Porcupine Tree albums. The first song "Fear of a Blank Planet" sounds very similar to past Porcupine Tree albums, but starting with "My Ashes" it slows down. Not to say that these songs don't sound cool. It is just different. The music is somewhat psychedelic in places and with Porcupine Tree's unique sound, it just plain sounds awesome. An interesting fact about the album is how every song runs into one another, so the album really is just one big song when you think about it. Not to mention most of the songs are around 7:00 minutes long. // 9

Lyrics: A common theme with the lyrics is today's youth and how drugs, pornography, crime and MTV are wrecking them. In quite a few songs, the lyrics aren't even there for half the song. As always, Steve Wilson's vocals are interesting and moving. The only song that doesn't keep with the theme is "Way out of Here" In which Wilson seems to talk about a break up with girlfriend. Perhaps this is a reference to the Stupid Dream album. // 9

Overall Impression: This is an incredibly good album. Period. You will find no other CD out there like it. While some fans of Porcupine Tree may not like how much slower it is, it still sounds amazing. My personal favorite song is "Anethisize" the song is 17 minutes long and somehow it manages to keep your interest the entire time. This is a great album, so buy it. The only reason I cannot rate it a ten, is that it lacks a large variety of different songs like previous PT albums. // 9

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