Sound — 10
I can't believe nobody's reviewed this album yet! This is another masterpiece from Porcupine Tree and builds on the foundations laid by their last album, In Absentia. The sound of Porcupine Tree is really varied, sounding at times almost Floyd-esque and bearing all the influences of a range of totally different bands including, according to the band's website, Opeth, Pink Floyd, Meshuggah and King Crimson. So before you start you know you're going to get something intense and varied. This is certainly the case. The opening and title track of the album, Deadwing really features everythin that is PT, acoustically-driven choruses, sweeping mixtures of keyboard effects, mellotron and electronic sounds and the new development of the band's sound in recent times, the sudden eruption into heavily distorted riffs, all held together by Steven Wilson's vocal talents. It's altogether a haunting and absolutely captivating album from the offset. From this 9-minute epic it only gets better, heading into two very different songs, Shallow is a rock 'n' roll style song at first impression before breaking down repeatedly into the trademark acoustic and keyboard interludes. Whereas Lazarus differs greatly, beatifully soothing and fascinating to listne to, it's similar to the PT of old on albums like Up the Downstair. The album continues on a similar path combining the heavier distorted riffs with the brilliantly constructed keyboard, acoustic guitar and percussion work they're also acclaimed for. This is easily one of the best albums I own in terms of musicianship, atmosphere, creativity and the sheer talent of the band.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics of the album are carefully and brilliantly written as they always are from PT. Each song seems to be telling the listener a lyrical story, Which must be a reflection on the fact that the album coincides with a yet-unproduced film script. There's a vast array of vocal styles here also, and Steven Wilson really excels himself. In my opinion, he's one of the most distinctive vocalists in modern music, and his contributions to other artists' work (most notably Opeth and his other band No-Man) has had a strong influence on his lyric writing and vocal techniques.
Overall Impression — 10
Porcupine Tree are possibly one of the most underrated and undeservingly unknown bands around today and this album is a brilliant piece of work. If you liked In Absentia at all this album cannot fail to impress, but if you've never heard anything from the band before this is still an abolute masterclass in 'alternative' and progressive rock music that you can't afford to miss. I first heard of them via Opeth's website who referenced Steven Wilson as producing and contributing to many of their albums and did a little research and was more than pleasantly surprised. I can't really stress enough though that they don't really sound like any specific other band. While their influences are apparent they remain unique and different from anything else. A lot of work's gone into this album and it's paid off with a number of 'best album' nominations from various magazines and websites and glowing reviews and this is one of them.