PORCUPINE TREE — Deadwing

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PORCUPINE TREE - Deadwing cover
4.36 | 63 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2005

Tracklist

1. Deadwing (9:46)
2. Shallow (4:16)
3. Lazarus (4:18)
4. Halo (4:38)
5. Arriving Somewhere But Not Here (12:02)
6. Mellotron Scratch (6:56)
7. Open Car (3:46)
8. The Start Of Something Beautiful (7:39)
9. Glass Arm Shattering (6:13)

Total Time 59:31

Line-up/Musicians

- Steven Wilson / Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Keyboard, Dulcimer, Bass
- Richard Barbieri / Keyboards, Synthesizer
- Colin Edwin / Bass
- Gavin Harrison / Drums

- Mikael Akerfeldt / Backing Vocals, Guitar (track 1, 3, 5)
- Adrian Belew / Guitar (track 1, 4)

About this release

28 March 2005 (UK)
26 April 2005 (US
March 2006 (Japan)
Lava Records

American Edition has the following bonus track:

10. Shesmovedon (2004) (4:59)

Dvd-A Edition has the following bonus tracks:

10. Revenant (3:04)
11. Mother & Child Divided (4:59)
12. Half-Light (6:20)
13. Shesmovedon (2004) (4:59)

LP Edition has the following bonus tracks:

10. So Called Friend (4:49)
11. Half-Light (6:20)

Japanese Edition has a bonus disc titled Introduction To Porcupine Tree with the following tracklist:

1. Even Less
2. Pure Narcotic
3. How Is Your Life Today
4. Buying New Soul
5. Russia on Ice (Warszawa Live)
6. Blackest Eyes
7. Trains (edit)
8. Open Car
9. Lazarus (single edit)
10. Halo (live)

Thanks to The Angry Scotsman for the addition and Pekka, Lynx33, adg211288, Bosh66 for the updates

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PORCUPINE TREE DEADWING reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Necrotica
Porcupine Tree have certainly gone through an interesting stylistic evolution over the years, but what's always been fascinating is that each shift is more like an extension of their previous eras. Think about it: Their first era was almost entirely built on psychedelic rock, albums like Stupid Dream and Lightbulb Sun are primarily alternative rock but contain elements of psychedelic rock, and everything after that has been progressive metal with elements of alternative rock and psychedelic rock. While Porcupine Tree are on hiatus right now, it would be interesting to see what they come up with next to add to their current range of genres if they do come back. But, like many fans of the band, I believe that the 2000s (barring The Incident) is the decade that holds their best work and their most natural evolution: the aforementioned shift to progressive metal. We still have the layered and beautiful soundscapes in abundance, but the band's songwriting got a lot tighter and gained a lot more direction... along with some wonderfully heavy and crunchy riffs to boot. So, with frontman Steven Wilson hard at work with his solo career at the moment, I think now is a good time to revisit the first Porcupine Tree album that hit the Billboard charts and reached a larger audience: Deadwing.

A lot of the songwriting elements that made In Absentia such a fan favorite are still here in spades, but there's a bit more emphasis on metal here than on their previous records. "Shallow," "Halo," and "Open Car" are all songs that one could imagine getting airplay on alternative metal radio stations; hell, "Shallow" actually made its way into the action movie Four Brothers! But despite the presence of intense and almost grungy riffing, the same old Porcupine Tree we all know and love is still on this record. Even the heavier songs have softer and more atmospheric portions to even them out, such as the beautiful piano-driven pre-choruses of "Shallow" or the drumless outro of "Open Car" which features some nice harmonized vocals from Wilson. Speaking of "piano-driven," Richard Barbieri was really given the chance to shine on Deadwing. He was always widely regarded as a great keyboardist, especially when he was in the new wave band Japan, but he was often reduced to just providing background atmosphere with his layered effects and sampling. But here, there's much more of a balance as tracks such as "Lazarus" and "Start of Something Beautiful" (mainly the second half of the latter) showcase much more traditional piano playing in which Barbieri displays his virtuosity a bit more. Bassist Colin Edwin and drummer Gavin Harrison are fantastic as usual, providing a very solid and proficient rhythm section for Wilson to work with.

But, as always, the compositions are what makes it all come together. This might not be the best Porcupine Tree album ever, but it might just have the best balance in terms of dynamics and track placement. What makes Deadwing so accessible and fun to listen to is just the sheer range of song lengths and ideas flying around. It may seem weird mentioning the song lengths, but to go from the shorter, punchier, (presumably) religion-bashing and tongue-in-cheek alternative metal of "Halo" to such a powerful and emotional epic like "Arriving Somewhere but Not Here" is just a taste of what makes Deadwing work so well. The way the more hard-hitting and the more emotionally resonant pieces come together makes this both a thrillingly energetic experience and an intriguing one. The title track and "Shallow" work in very much the same way, with a more long-winded and dramatic song rife with progressive passages paving the way for possibly the most distorted and brutal song Porcupine Tree have ever released. But the quality also lies in the songwriting of the individual tracks too, of course. Despite the seemingly simplistic nature of the music compared to other contemporary (or even classic, for that matter) progressive rock bands, there are a lot of little intricacies that drive each song. Songs like "Glass Arm Shattering" and "Start of Something Beautiful" don't feature ridiculous amounts of instrumental virtuosity, but instead use the band members' talents for a more layered experience featuring a heavy amount of atmosphere and dynamic subtlety. The same goes for "Arriving Somewhere but Not Here," whose strength is how well it builds up to its very heavy metal-oriented payoff with beautiful space rock-esque soundscapes and one of Wilson's strongest and most emotional vocal performances.

Balance is what makes Deadwing so complete and fulfilling. It's both highly accessible and moderately challenging, technically proficient but also economical in its instrumentation, as well as soft and delicate while also tending to be crushingly heavy at moments. if it weren't for the slightly boring and uneventful ballad "Mellotron Scratch," this would most certainly be the strongest record in the Porcupine Tree discography, even edging out albums such as Signify and Lightbulb Sun. But it's still fantastic, and between the varied songwriting and consistently well-executed instrumental work, it stands as one of Porcupine Tree's finest hours.

Recommended Tracks ---------------------------------------------- Arriving Somewhere but Not Here, Shallow, Deadwing, Start of Something Beautiful

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)
Unitron
Porcupine Tree-Deadwing

'Deadwing' is the 8th studio album by progressive/alternative metal band Porcupine Tree. After the success of the previous album 'In Absentia', which was consistently prog metal instead of the previous albums having a few metal songs here and there, Porcupine Tree decided to maintain the heaviness but Deadwing features a more alt metal-twinged sound in my opinion.

Deadwing opens up with the title track, which sets the pace of the album really well. Many well-performed transitions between heavy crunching riffs and mellower passages take place here. Unlike the previous album, Deadwing featured two singles that were pretty successful on modern rock radio; The heavy 'Shallow' and the ballad 'Lazarus'. 'Shallow' is one of my favorites on the album, with great heavy-soft transitions, an awesome Tool-like chorus, and a crazy bridge with tons of distortion. The concert-staple 'Halo' is another one of my favorites with a kick-ass bass-line by Edwin. Probably my favorite song on the album is the Tool-esque 'Open Car', which has some great riffing.

Of course I can't forget the epic 'Arriving Somewhere...but not Here', which has very beautiful lyrics and an awesome build up for some great guitar work. Also featured on certain editions of the album is a re-recording of the classic 'Shesmovedon' from 'Lightbulb Sun'.

Overall, this is the best Porcupine Tree album after Lightbulb Sun. I recommend this album to any fan of progressive metal or alternative metal.

Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!
Warthur
Prog critics raved about Deadwing when it came out, and I can't blame them - it's a really tight album which carries forward the advances in Porcupine Tree's sound first put forth on In Absentia. But I don't think it's quite the five-star classic it's sometimes made out to be; the pacing of the album flags a little for me in the second half, though it's made up a bit by the last two songs (The Start of Something Beautiful and Glass Arm Shattering), which are excellent and blow most of the preceding songs out of the water. I suppose that's why people are very generous to the album - even if it does meander a little at points, it has a really excellent conclusion and leaves you feeling very positive about it.
AtomicCrimsonRush
Haunting, Sensual, Terrifyingly Beautiful. My introduction to Porcupine Tree began here and I was overwhlemed by the blend of heavy crunching guitar riffing and mellotrone ambience. I believe I was hooked from the moment I heard 'Shallow' which remains my favourite PT track even after getting hold of their last few albums and DVD. One of the greatest example of neo-progressive heavy rock by arguably the best in the business. Wilson's voice is mesmirizing on every track. Barbieri's keyboards are a beautiful touch that permeate the album from beginning to end. It is a masterfully produced work that deserves all the attention it has garnered. Streets ahead of previous Porcupine Tree material and a real turning point after 'In Absentia' which was also masterfully produced, though not up to this standard.

The melodies remain in your head well after the CD has ended in particular 'Mellotron Scratch', 'Start of Something Beautiful' and 'Lazarus'. The production and art work are worthy of note too, a juxtaposition of sound, visual images and symbolism to paint a picture that is powerful enough to remember. The album artwork seems to point to a disaster in a car crash resulting in the ghostly apparition of one of the deceased. I am not entirely sure but the enigma and mystique is evident and quite compelling.

One reason to get hold of this album is the wonderful mini epic 'Arriving Somewhere...' that has some innovative melodies and an incredible instrumental section featuring great guitar riffs and relaxing keyboards. The time signature shifts are classic prog rock. The Pink Floyd and Yes influences are evident. There are undoubtedly huge influences from classic prog bands in this music. The entrancing and mesmirising atmospheric slow moving tracks at the end of the album use techniques of minimalism and a huge wall of sound builds up to a crescendo. 'Open Car' for instance is simply hypnotising. The ghost track is an old favourite but well executed here and a pleasant surprise when you are not expecting it.

All the tracks are unique, inspired and demonstrate the musical complexity that is essentially Porcupine Tree. Many tracks appear on the live DVD 'Arriving Somewhere...' but the studio versions presented on this album are the best versions. I have no hesitation in awarding this incredible album 5 stars. The musical dexterity exceeded my expectations and I systematically was compelled to get hold of everything else the band has done. Porcupine Tree are keeping the neo heavy prog dream well and truly alive and are hailed today as masters of the genre!

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