Deadwing Review

artist: Porcupine Tree date: 03/11/2011 category: compact discs
Porcupine Tree: Deadwing
Release Date: Apr 26, 2005
Label: Lava
Genres: Experimental, Post-Rock/Experimental, Experimental Rock
Number Of Tracks: 10
The album further develops the unlikely combination of progressive metal's heavy guitar crunch with the warm passion of radio-friendly pop-rock, always retaining that vintage Porcupine Tree psychedelic and effects-driven ambience.
 Sound: 9.4
 Lyrics: 8.6
 Overall Impression: 9.6
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (5) 7 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.7
Deadwing Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 14, 2005
11 of 11 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 10

Lyrics: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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overall: 7.7
Deadwing Reviewed by: Metallica708, on february 26, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Porcupine Tree. What are they? Are they metal? Are they progressive rock? Are they electronica? Nope. They are none of these, yet all at the same time. They are impossible to define, but they make damn good music. Deadwing is probably their most commercially appealing album to date, as it adds more of the metal elements that seem to be flavour of the month. However, as a bit of a metal-head, this album is probably my favourite out of the three I own/have heard. Anyway, on with the review! The general sound of the guitars is good, due to the PRS guitars, "Bad Cat" amps, and the Native Instruments modelling used on this album. The clean sounds ring out nice and well, clean. The distortion sounds awesome, and the Acoustic bits sound great aswell. What more could you ask? // 8

Lyrics: To be honest, I haven't listened too much to the lyrics. However, I do know that this is a concept album based on a film script that Steven Wilson (Guitars, Vocals, Main songwriter) and a friend wrote together. The lyrics that I have read into are pretty good, especially on "Arriving Somewhere... But Not Here". The film is being made, and once it has been released, I'm sure the story will become clear, but for now, no-one really knows for sure. There are a few theories on Wikipedia for the story behind the songs, but it is mainly speculation. Steven Wilson has quite a good voice, which I can enjoy listening to. The harmony vocals are usually done by him or by Mikael kerfeldt (from Opeth), who guests on a few tracks (It is also worth taking note that Mikael also played one of the solos on the song 'Arriving Somewhere... But Not Here'. It is not clear which solo, as it just says 'second solo' in the album sleeve, and many different parts can be interpteted as solos. However, as there is one solo which Steve Wilson doesn't play live in this song it is played by their live second guitarist, John Wesley, I assume it's this one). // 7

Overall Impression: Compared to the other albums, this is my favourite. It has the right mix of progressive, metal and acousticness (is that a word?) that makes me listen to this album over and over again. My favourite songs are probably Shallow, Lazarus, Open Car and Arriving Somewhere... But Not Here. They all show a different side to Porcupine Tree, and add to the album's appeal. If it were stolen, I would definitely buy it again, or at least get it on insurance. This is definitely a keeper. // 8

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overall: 9.3
Deadwing Reviewed by: CaptainSBDA, on july 24, 2007
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound, for the most part, is alt rock mixed with metal, and I gotta say it works one hundred percent. This album is brilliant. It succeeds to having one sound, while their last brilliant epic "In Absentia" was all over the place sonically. This album has songs with rocking riffs like "Shallow" and "Open Car" (Best riff yet), softer, more melodic guitar like "Mellotron Scratch," and cool basslines like "The Start of Something Beautiful." Then, of course, there's the spacey epic "Arriving Somewhere (But Not Here)." The song starts off very melodic and Floyd-esque, and then about halfway through it breaks into the hardest, most dark metal riff PT has created yet. Brilliance. // 10

Lyrics: I can interpret stuff pretty good, but a good deal of the lyrics are hard to interpret, such as "Mellotron Scratch," "Shallow," and "Glass Arm Shatterng." However, there is one song that stands out lyrically is the nearly poetic "Start of Something Beautiful." The last line of the chorus is one of the most well delivered lines ever: "If you thought this was the start of something beautiful, think again!" // 8

Overall Impression: 01. Deadwing - good starter, great metal riff. Very catchy. 02. Shallow - brilliant rock song, one of Porcupine Tree's songs actually to chart in the US, and I can see why. Great metal riff and thrashy chorus. 03. Lazarus - after the metal-ness of the first two songs, we get a soft, beautiful poetic song. Another great chorus. 04. Halo - more of a Pink Floyd sort of rock song, it's good. 05. Arriving Somewhere (But Not Here) - something like a Dream Theater epic without superoverload technical proficiency, this song is flat-out amazing. From Floyd spaciness to brutal metal riffs, this song is amazing. 06. Mellotron Scratch - a nice, peaceful break from all of the madness. Very peaceful, relaxing, but also with a nice riff section that's not too hard. 07. Open Car - the song itself is OK, but the riff is their best rock riff ever. It's brilliance. 08. The Start Of Something Beautiful - best song on the album. Best lyrics and an infinitely cool bassline. And the chorus is one thing that you cannot get out of your head once it gets stuck. 09. Glass Arm Shattering - a boring end, unfortunately. A little too spacey for my liking. Overall, brilliance as only Steven Wilson can bring it. I highly recommend this album. // 10

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overall: 10
Deadwing Reviewed by: Let it Happen, on december 27, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: This album did take awhile to grow on me, but one thing was clear from the beginning: there was pretty much fantastic musicianship the entire time. The sound is definitely prog and very much layered. One thing that I found particularly interesting is the fact that so much is going on at one time in the music. I found this very interesting. There is a lot more than just your conventional one or two guitars, a bass, and a drummer. There seems that there is always a mellotron and/or keyboard going on pretty much all the time which adds a nice ambient effect throughout. As Wilson sings on track 6, "the scratching of a mellotron always seems to make it right." Also, it seems as if sometimes there are even three guitar parts, which adds a nice intricate effect. To even further add to the layering, Wilson many times has multiple vocal parts going on at one time. On tracks 1, 3, and 5, Opeth's Mickael Akerfeldt adds additional backing vocals as well. There is so much going on at a time! It really has taught me a lot as a guitarist the importance of harmonies and depth that can really be unlocked. I would encourage all musicians to listen to this album to get a feel for the depth that can be present in music. // 10

Lyrics: The album is based on a screenplay written by Steven Wilson and Mike Bennion, and is essentially a ghost story. Given its narrative, most fans have dubbed this a concept album. Wilson has expressed the intention to eventually have this film script made into a movie. All songs were written by Wilson except "Halo" and "Glass Arm Shattering" (Wilson/Barbieri/Edwin/Harrison) and "Start of Something Beautiful" (Wilson/Harrison). Although the album is basically a ghost story, many parts of the story are unclear at best. There hasn't been any revelations given by the band either. This may be because Wilson wants to put this to film, and doesn't want to spoil any parts of the story. Wilson has above average singing skills and has influenced many artists of similar genre. He has even managed to influence bands that aren't so similar in genre, such as deathmetal band Opeth. He never screams, never really yells, and comes up with brilliant vocal harmonies that always add to the music. // 10

Overall Impression: This album really compares with all their other releases in the sense that all of PT's work is very layered, and this recording is no different. If one is a fan of Radiohead, I can't imagine that person not liking PT. Although PT is definitely prog, it differs from other prog bands in two significant ways. lack of shredding, sweep picking, hand tapping, showing off, etc. although PT is all made up of excellent musicians, none of them are virtuosos. This differentiates them quite clearly from other prog bands such as Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment. General avoidance of odd-time signatures: although PT does use these timings, they are definitely not in every song and can sometimes be few and far between. This would also differentiate them from other prog bands such as Dream Theater, Tool, Meshuggah, and Zero Hour. As far as the most impressive track on the album, that award would probably have to go to the longest track on the record, "Arriving Somewhere, But Not Here." This clocks in at a very progressive 12 minutes, and is just beautiful. Again, I love the layered, progressive recording. It makes for a very interesting listen. If lost or stolen, I would definitely buy it again and you should buy it too! // 10

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overall: 9.3
Deadwing Reviewed by: TheLetheProject, on march 11, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: This is definitely one of the best sounding albums I have, and, funnily enough, Steven Wilson doesn't use an amp to get most of his guitar's sounds (he uses a Line 6 POD). What I really love about this album is the great contrasts it has. The heavy-rocking, high-distortion Shallow flows right into the low-key, piano-based Lazarus, which almost baffles me. // 9

Lyrics: I've read reviews on the internet that claim that Wilson's voice doesn't fit with the music behind him, especially on the harder-rocking songs. On the other hand, I feel it fits perfectly, making softer tracks beautiful and harder tracks almost eerie. Supposedly, the lyrics (and songs, for that matter) are supposed to tie to a screenplay that Steven is coming up with, but I haven't heard much on that matter. Regardless, while the lyrics aren't extremely deep and complex, they really enhance the song (like in the beginning of Arriving Somewhere But Not Here), and I can see a story that they could weave if adapted. // 9

Overall Impression: Though I cannot say I've listened to hundreds of albums, as of right now, Deadwing is in my top 5. It flows perfectly from start to finish, picking you up at the first chord of Deadwing and releasing you only as the scratching of the phonograph on Glass Arm Shattering Fades out (unless, of course, you have the bonus track version). While there is not a single weak song, in my opinion, the best are Arriving Somewhere But Not Here, Deadwing, and Shallow. Anyone fan of any genre of music should at least give this album a listen, for it is a masterpiece. // 10

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