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.