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Porcupine Tree: Closure/Continuation

For their first album since 2009's The Incident, the longtime dormant Porcupine Tree have resurfaced with Closure/Continuation, which brings back together Steven Wilson (vocals, guitars, bass, keys), Richard Barbieri (keyboards), and Gavin Harrison (drums, percussion). Yes, you read that correctly, no mention of bassist Colin Edwin, as he is not currently part of this 'reunion', with Wilson playing all the bass on the album and a new bassist, Nathan Navarro, performing on the tour. Whether this album will actually turn out to be 'closure' so Wilson can go back to his solo career, or this will indeed be a 'continuation' remains to be seen, but there's no doubt that this eleventh studio release was quite welcome from the fanbase who have waited and hoped, quite patiently I might add, for something new from this outfit.

And does Closure/Continuation live up to expectations? I'd say it does. While it might not go down as one of their greatest achievements, for a band that hasn't released new music in 13 years, Closure/Continuation is damn good, and reminds us why we all have loved this band so much over the last 30 years. "Harridan" kicks things off in fine fashion, a blending of spacey pop and bone crunching heavy riffing, while "Of the New Day" features Barbieri's lovely keyboard textures underneath Wilson's enchanting vocal melodies and expert guitar work. The latter is easily one of the sleeper songs on the album. Wilson's crunchy riffs and Harrison's mid blowing drum work cap off 'Rats Return", a must hear for fans of the bands more hard rocking material, while "Dignity" offers up more of those dreamy pop & spacey prog sounds, synths wafting in and out of the mix, and Wilson's bass lines melodic yet leathery. "Herd Culling" in another heavy hitter but also shows off the prog side of the band with layers of vocals, bubbling synths, and Harrison's busy stick work. "Walk the Plank" is probably the least successful piece here, sort of a prog/pop/industrial hybrid that doesn't really go anywhere, and the near 10-minute closer "Chimera's Wreck" also somewhat treads water. It has some nice moments that blend '70s prog as well as more modern prog-metal, but as a mostly instrumental track (save for some fun Gentle Giant styled vocal sections) it could have easily been trimmed by a few minutes to be more effective.

Overall, a strong release that seems to get better with each listen, but there is also a deluxe edition that includes three extra songs not appearing on the regular release. Though I haven't heard those songs, word has it that they are as strong as anything else on Closure/Continuation, which has to be frustrating to some who purchased the regular version first not knowing that another one was coming. At 48-minutes long, they could have easily added the three songs here for an album just over an hour. Either way, welcome back Porcupine Tree, this one was worth the wait.

Track Listing
1. "Harridan" Steven Wilson, Gavin Harrison 8:07
2. "Of the New Day" Wilson 4:43
3. "Rats Return" Wilson, Harrison 5:40
4. "Dignity" Wilson, Richard Barbieri 8:22
5. "Herd Culling" Wilson, Harrison, Barbieri 7:03
6. "Walk the Plank" Wilson, Barbieri 4:27
7. "Chimera's Wreck" Wilson, Harrison 9:39
Total length: 48:01

Added: August 8th 2022
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1220
Language: english

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Porcupine Tree: Closure/Continuation
Posted by Eric Porter, SoT Staff Writer on 2022-08-08 14:33:11
My Score:

I can’t say for sure if everyone has been waiting with bated breath for return of Porcupine Tree, as Wilson’s solo career seemed to be going quite well, even with the controversial “Reality Bites”. But here we find ourselves with 3/4ths of Porcupine Tree, for what might be just a one off, but will certainly make many fans happy.

Interesting that opener “Harridan” opens with a bass riff, bringing a reminder that former Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin is not part of this reunion. This is classic Porcupine Tree in sound, everything has that flavor from Barbieri’s haunting keyboards, the brutal heavy riffing, and plenty of atmosphere to spare. I find this to be the most memorable track after having spent a lot of time with the album. “Of The New Day” takes us into more mellow territory, a nice ballad that again has Barbieri finding the perfect moods and sounds to fill the gaps. Wilson does pick up the mid-section with some heavier guitar for contrast. “Rats Return” has an excellent opening riff, followed by a sparse atmospheric verse. “Dignity” is another slow track that slowly builds but fails to reach the dramatic high it seems to be aiming for. “Herd Culling” seems a bit familiar with its guitar riff (the opening reminds me of a more subtle “Blackest Eyes”) but takes a little longer to hit you with a slamming riff. The closing “Chimera’s Wreck” is an interesting closer, a slow builder, that begins to find its legs at the half-way point. Gavin’s drumming and Wilson’s bass propel the song from underneath. A quick shift to a guitar bass riff takes us to a Wah drenched solo from Wilson. A powerful closer with those heavy riffs, and a twist for an ending.

The band has not taken a sharp left turn, this is the Porcupine Tree we know and love that blossomed with “In Absentia”. The question remains, how will this album hold up against their classic material? For me, Porcupine Tree have always made an immediate impact with songs that offer plenty of great playing but have been memorable. “Closure/Continuation” has yet to reveal that greatness to me. I enjoy it while listening, and only time will tell if I reach for it in the years to come. Had they tried to do something markedly different, I don’t think the fans would have been happy, but the songs fail to grab me, I can’t seem to find that classic track (or tracks) that knocks me out.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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