Fear Of A Blank Planet review by Porcupine Tree

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  • Released: Apr 16, 2007
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.6 (127 votes)
Porcupine Tree: Fear Of A Blank Planet

Sound — 10
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.

Lyrics — 9
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.

Overall Impression — 10
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.

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I bought the CD immediatly after its release and I'm addicted to it! very good review!
    ^ Yes I can't wait for the 23rd!! Gonna see them in Philly, should be an awesome experiance!
    In my opinion the new stuff is much better than the old stuff. Not saying stuff like Up The Downstair is rubbish (it's not!) but at times it seems very self-indulgent. Their newer work takes the best parts of older albums and streamlines it. FOABP is my album of the year so far. The only other album I'm getting anywhere near as excited about this year is Radiohead.
    i dunno man... if you ask me nothing compares to signify or early PT.. which is way better than this.. and the name of this release is a rip off of a public enemy cd.. fear of a black planet (anyone else notice that?)... this cd is alright.. deadwing was better (mostly for the title track and arriving somewhere.. and mellotron scratch).. at least this is... well, as said before by a few users, much better than most of what we hear today. i dunno though, it seems like this album follows a bit formula to me.. i saw it live in concert.. it was alright.. then they played lightbulb sun and sever and it was bliss. maybe it just has to grow on me cause i do really like "my ashes" and "anesthetize"... and it is pretty cool that both alex lifeson and robert fripp play parts on this record. i recommend to everyone here that likes new PT but hasn't been exposed to older stuff to go and check out the records on delerium...
    I was afraid when my brother tells me that this record will have only 6 tracks. But waw!!, this album is awesome, i recommend it to everyone who likes rock or rock prog !! Now I know why it's my favourite band
    i heard my friend talking about this band!hes not really into pshcadelic art rock stuff so i said id check it out so it must be good!i cant get over how easily you get lost in the music....the emotion...the imagery...it really does take you to a different place! amazing stuff!
    Amazing album. Porcupine Tree just get better every time they record. SW is a genius.
    Hey all, just got back from Seattle and Portland, and witnessed the BEST band on the planet. Do everything you can to get to one of their remaining shows. You will hear the new album performed in its' entirety plus an hour plus of back catalogue selections. GO, GO, GO! Vidgod, out!
    Porcupine Tree is the BEST rock band on this planet, hands down, bar none. Each musician is the best at their given position and each contributes in astonishing individualism which translates to the most cohesive rock band on Earth. Their longtime fans have witnessed an evolutionary arc which has brought us to the masterwork "Fear Of A Blank Planet". Everything that is being said about this album is true. Be sure to hear the 5.1 surround mix, simply jaw dropping. I have the delightful prospect of seeing these guys next week (May 8th,Seattle,& May 9th,Portland). I am already counting the hours.
    All their albums are awsome but in this one they truly have their own sound and its awsome! I've listened to it about 7 times and it just keeps getting better.Best album in a while by the best band out the right now! Buy it!
    9_11_4 wrote: wow i didnt know they had a new one out.. YAY!!! i love porcupine tree. i wonder what the release date in Australia is?
    Probably never. We don't get good music here This album is pure bliss. It makes you want more, but alas, only 6 top notch songs. It's definately not as heavy as Deadwing, with much more melodic and symphonic riffs, but this perfectly suits the melancholy themes of the album, of despair and no hope and eventually, suicide. Everytime I listen to it, I seem to find something new, which draws me into the album, so this album is repeatable and you wont get bored. Do yourself a favour, buy this album and you'll know your money is well spent on an amazing band.
    I really cannot wait for this to come out. It's only one more day but I still cannot wait any longer than I already have to listen to this masterpiece!
    Strip The Soul
    I have all of their CDs and Fear of a Blank Planet will be add to my collection for sure!!! I listen to the preview now and it's extraodinary!!!
    this release is a rip off of a public enemy cd.. fear of a black planet
    You do know they acknowledged that cd as the inspiration for the title? FOABP is supposed to take a look at the dangers of information technology with today's youth, so they obviously used the title as a way to relate it current goings on... ooh heavy XD. Yeah anyway its an immense album. Ive not long been into them and I have Deadwing, In Absentia and FOABP. I heard they played Download festival and im gutted i missed them. Hats off to one of the most original bands out!