PORCUPINE TREE — In Absentia

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4.23 | 75 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2002

Tracklist

1. Blackest Eyes (4:23)
2. Trains (5:56)
3. Lips Of Ashes (4:39)
4. The Sound Of Muzak (4:59)
5. Gravity Eyelids (7:56)
6. Wedding Nails (6:33)
7. Prodigal (5:32)
8. .3 (5:25)
9. The Creator Has A Mastertape (5:21)
10. Heartattack In A Layby (4:15)
11. Strip The Soul (7:21)
12. Collapse The Light Into Earth (5:54)

Total Time 68:14

European Special Edition Bonus Disc:

1. Drown With Me (5:21)
2. Chloroform (7:14)
3. Strip The Soul (video edit) (3:35)

Total Time 16:10

DVD-A Edition Video Bonus Tracks:

1. Strip The Soul
2. Blackest Eyes
3. Wedding Nails

Line-up/Musicians

- Steven Wilson / vocals, guitar, piano
- Gavin Harrison / drums, percussion
- Colin Edwin / bass guitar, backing vocals
- Richard Barbieri / analog synths, mellotron, Hammond organ

- Aviv Geffen / backing vocals (track 4, 7)
- John Wesley / backing vocals, guitars (track 1, 4, 7)

About this release

24 September 2002
Lava Records

European special edition includes a bonus disc. There also exists a DVD-A version with bonus video material.

Thanks to The Angry Scotsman for the addition and J-Man, NecronCommander, Lynx33, Unitron, adg211288, Necrotica, Bosh66 for the updates

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PORCUPINE TREE IN ABSENTIA reviews

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Unitron
Porcupine Tree-In Absentia

'In Absentia' is the seventh studio album from progressive/alternative metal band Porcupine Tree. The album opens up with one of their most popular songs, 'Blackest Eyes' with front-man Steven Wilson giving us heavy kick-ass riffs. This song has very well crafted transitions from the crunching guitar riffs to Wilson's soft melodic vocals. The whole album has these transitions, heavy tracks like 'Blackest Eyes' to acoustic tracks like 'Trains'. Also in place are haunting mellotron-infused tracks like 'Lips of Ashes' and 'Gravity Eyelids'.

The lyrics are very dark, Wilson gives us haunting personal and dreary lyrics. Lyrics for escape, 'Trains' and 'Heart-attack In a Lay-by', and Lyrics about the music industry, 'The Sound of Muzak'.

The music range is widely varied, with the headbanging jam of 'Wedding Nails' to a weird 'The Creator has a Mastertape' with Wilson shredding like crazy at the end and Colin Edwin's bass and Gavin Harrison's drums complimenting each other perfectly. The haunting 'Heart-attack In a Lay-by' is another standout track, with it being unique in having minimal instrumentation that makes it feel empty which fits perfectly in the album. My favorite from the album is probably 'Strip the Soul', with Edwin's haunting bass and Wilson's guitar blasts and haunting lyrics. The only song I don't like on the album is 'Collapse the Light Into the Earth' which is a very bland piano song that just doesn't go anywhere and feels really out of place, I think it would have fit better on their previous album.

The atmosphere makes you feel empty and alone, which I think is what they were trying to get at. I've always felt that Porcupine Tree knows how to make the perfect mood for their albums.

Overall, 'In Absentia' may be inconsistent at times with switching from heavy to soft a lot, it's still a great album. I think that even with it's inconsistency, it's essential to any prog metal fan's collection. Hope you found this review helpful.
Warthur
Porcupine Tree's In Absentia certainly caused a stir when it came out - some prog-heads even going so far as to suggest the time Steven Wilson spent with Opeth had rubbed off on him - but listened to in the context of their whole discography it's clear that it's an evolution of their sound, not a reinvention of it. You can still just about hear the spacey psychedelic prog foundations of the band (which they'd never really given up) and you can also still hear the Radiohead-inspired indie rock/prog rock crossover of the triptych of Stupid Dream, Lightbulb Sun, and Recordings.

On top of this, there's an injection of a heap of hard rock, heavy metal, and heavy prog (a la King Crimson - see, for instance, the opening of The Creator Has a Mastertape) influences which add a third new layer of musical genetic material into the rich mixture Porcupine Tree habitually offer. And to be honest, this isn't even the most prominent feature of the album - sure, there's a big dose in the lead track, but there's also several gentler songs which wouldn't have sounded out of place on Lightbulb Sun.

And come to think of it, the title track of that one had some fairly hard riffing on it too, didn't it? Just like I said: evoltuion, not revolution. But what an evolution!
AtomicCrimsonRush
One of the greatest example of neo-progressive rock by arguably the best in the business. Porcupine Tree have triumphed with their unique blend of soft acoustic melodica merged with heavy crunching killer guitar riffs. 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 the best was yet to come following this album. But 'In Absentia' is an excellent way of being introduced to this important heavy prog band. They are complex in parts but never over excessive. And the melodies remain in your head well after the CD has ended. 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. Highlights include the wonderful 'Blackest Eyes' with the inspired riff that propels it to its sudden conclusion. The time signature shifts are classic prog rock.

'Trains' is an excellent acoustically driven track that even sounds at one point like a train on a track, especially the ending. A lot of this track,and others, sound curiously like Pink Floyd meets Yes. There are undoubtedly huge influences from classic prog bands in this music. 'The Sound of Muzak' has a very catchy melody and Wilson is in full voice, as are the harmonies from other band members. Check this song out for a great example of melody and awesome musical interludes. 'Collapse the Light Into Earth' is a mesmirising slow moving track that uses techniques of minimalism and a huge wall of sound builds up to a crescendo. The track sends you to another place, and has the power to entrance the listener. Close your eyes and let it take you. It is as relaxing as anything the band were producing in their early days.

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.

A real surprise! I was blown away by the musical dexterity and depth of this album. Following this was 'Deadwing' which is even better! Both are recommended!

arcane-beautiful
This album saw a more slightly more heavier side, but still keeping within the alternative rock like style with a healthy dose of prog.

Again, faces and eyes are present on the artwork (must be a fetish of Mr. Wilson).

Their seems to be a concept present, about a serial killer, and if there is, the story is more cryptic if anything. Maybe it's a bildungsroman...who knows.

1. Blackest Eyes - Amazing song and one of their best, no flaws at all. Killer riff as well. They do this song amazing live as well.

2. Trains - A more relaxed song, but still with a rock like edge to it, they never fail to impress.

3. Lips Of Ashes - Amazing eerie song. Spine chilling to say the least.

4. The Sound Of Muzak - Amazing satiracal song about modern music (a bit like 4 Chords That Made A Million). I love the line " The music of rebellion makes you want to rage, but it's made by millionares who are nearlly twice your age." Completely ironic and true. The chorus is also amazing.

5. Gravity Eyelids - Again an amazing chorus. I love the atmosphere of the instrumentals. Amazing song, epic and interesting.

6. Wedding Nails - Obvious King Crimson style instrumental. Dead on though.

7. Prodigal - The more upbeat long song. Another great chorus and the counterpoint vocals are quite extraordinary.

8. 3 - Again, amazing instrumentation.

9. The Creator Has A Mastertape - Very weird. This song is very interesting, I love the almost monologic like vocals and the amazing kick ass riffs.

10. Heartattack In A Layby - Very beautiful. The piano sections are very beautiful and the chorus is very memorable.

11. Strip The Soul - Kick ass! Quite angry for a Porcupine Tree song.

12. Collapse The Light Into Earth - How do you end a Porcupine Tree album, slow and nice obviosuly.

CONCLUSION - It's Porcupine Tree, expect nothing but an amazing piece of music.

Phonebook Eater
9/10

"In Absentia" has a new, explosive, change of sound for Steven Wilson and his band!

"In Absentia" was most definitely the heaviest PT record at the time, and certainly completely different from all the previous albums. In an interview, now available as an eleven minute track in the EP "Futile", Steven Wilson, PT leader, explains that during this period he was listening to some Extreme prog metal bands such as Opeth and Meshuggah, and that they were his main influence for writing all the heavier songs. The style of the album is, other than having some new, heavy moods, has. Like many previous albums, some pop, prog, jazz at times, ambience and psych. It is, stylistically speaking, PT's most eclectic album to date. The structure of the album is kind of different: no short songs ,as well as no excessively long songs (not longer than seven minutes), and there twelve songs, even though this amount of tracks isn't new for the band. In this way, you can't really feel the album as a journey that you must listen to all the way through, but more like a collection of songs, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, like in this album.

"Blackest Eyes", "Trains", "Sound Of Muzak" are three very big hits for a prog band, mainly because they're very melodic, catchy, and at times exquisitely heavy. " Lips Of Ashes" finds itself in the middle of these three hits, and it's probably the weakest song here. "Gravity Eyelids", however, is a masterpiece, seven minutes of an increasing climax, and before you know it the song explodes from a calm keyboard driven mood into a fantastic heavy riff. "Wedding Nails" is a great instrumental piece, almost all of it guitar driven, unlike other PT instrumentals. "Prodigal" is a beautiful song, very underrated, a lot of soft and dreamy moods. "3." Is a spacey, keyboard driven song, almost all instrumental, but with many great moments. "The Creator Has A Mastertape" is kind of odd, with a heavy bass driven verse, and has generally speaking kind of an energetic feel to it. "Heartattack In A Lay By" is a soft, beautiful song, with a very melancholic and sad sounding melody. "Strip The Soul" is another heavy masterpiece, with plenty of great moments that you won't forget. The last song "Collapse Light In the Earth" is another calm song, but very beautiful, with a heartbreaking melody that warms you up everytime you listen to it.

In conclusion, "In Absentia" is an album that is essential if you like progressive rock music, since it did go down in prog history as one of PT's best and most complete albums.



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