Fear Of A Blank Planet review by Porcupine Tree

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

Sound — 10
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.

Lyrics — 10
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.

Overall Impression — 10
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.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i agree with Golem29, after repeated listens, there are some great songs but the last 4 albums were better in terms of song-writing, and if you want more progressive, ambient, or psychedelic soundscapes, go to their earlier albums. @Confetti - steve wilson has repeatedly denied porcupine tree as being a "progressive" rock band, just fyi... and to add to what Second Rate said about concept albums, at least porcupine tree didn't repeat musical themes too often with this release... think about how annoying the wall can be because of that same one guitar riff in about half the songs on the cd...
    Golem29 wrote: It's a problem with most of the reviews on here, nobody can be impartial, making the reviews totally worthless.
    obv. but some albums are just too good. Especially this one.
    Root Beer
    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.
    He's not talking about his girlfriend, he's talking about the imaginary "kid" from whose perspective he's speaking's parents. Great album, but far from PT's best. (Signify, Lightbulb Sun, In Absentia)
    Wow!!! I just bought this album and this band is amazing!!! Prog rock is still alive!!! Procupine Tree fans who have not given opeth a listen should because you will find that even though they are a progressive death metal band you will discover music that is as beautiful as procupine tree. I wish I found out about this band a long time ago. But if it wasnt for Mikeal Akerfelt I would still be missing out. 10/10...this is what music was meant to be
    steven wilson wrote: i wanted to be the best musician in the world, so i thought, who is the best musician in the world and why is he so great? john lennon of course! and he wears great glasses so i started wearing those great glasses, and thats how i am so talented
    omg i luv him!