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Porcupine Tree: The Incident

I was a late starter when it came to the very talented, long running progressive band Porcupine Tree. My first taste of their music was in 2002 with that years In Absentia release, having enjoyed every album of theirs since, and always kept guessing what the next release will sound like. No doubt the move to Roadrunner Records, who now have some of the biggest names in metal , hard rock, and progressive rock on their roster, would have increased the bands exposure, with Porcupine Trees' music now in stores where you perhaps wouldn't normally see it (though they have had increased exposure here in the US on Lava Records the last few years), allowing many others to experience their wonderful music. The Incident is a two disc release, one contains the 55 minute title number comprising of fourteen parts, and the second has four additional songs, so there is plenty of material here to sink your teeth into.

Disc one contains the epic piece "The Incident" and this is what most fans will be eager to hear, as the band take you on a ride with "The Incident's" many mood changes starting with the atmospheric opener "Occam's Razor". Inspiration for the album and title came from the different 'incidents' which Steven Wilson had experienced or those he had heard about, and the effects on those involved. During the various stages of this lengthy composition the band show a variety and flair few can match. The many musical passage really are as one would expected from such a top gathering of musicians, like those on "Time Flies", the super cool "Octane Twisted" or the gripping heavy off beat, groovy instrumental "Circle Of Manias", with Gavin even adding some double kicks, showing they really are a diverse band. I would love for Porcupine Tree to maybe release an instrumental CD one day, nothing against Steve Wilson's great voice which is impressive on The Incident, but their music alone can be so captivating, and I'm a sucker for good instrumentals and that's what Porcupine Tree deliver. "The Incident" is sure to appease the appetites of progressive music fans, and those whom enjoy variety in their music.

Disc two is a great bonus, with one of my highlights being "Bonnie The Cat" on which Gavin Harrison exhibits his great fluid drumming. He truly deserves the many accolades he recieves, and this is a fine spirited number from Porcupine Tree that really shows his talents behind the kit. "Flicker" and especially "Black Dahlia" show the lighter side of the band while "Remember Me Lover" brings down the curtain in style displaying its different musical turns.

Steven Wilson is well known for his great song writing, musicianship and production skills, and thanks to Steven and fellow PT members we now have another stellar CD to enjoy. I can't wait to hear how Transatlantic's The Whirlwind, which also features one epic song on its first disc, compares to The Incident. For now though I am more than contented with listening to Porcupine Tree's The Incident over and over again.

Track list:
Disc 1
1.The Incident
i - Occam's Razor
ii - The Blind House
iii - Great Expectations
iv - Kneel And Disconnect
v - Drawing The Line
vi - The Incident
vii - Your Unpleasant Family
viii - The Yellow Windows Of The Evening Train
ix - Time Flies
x - Degree Zero Of Liberty
xi - Octane Twisted
xii - The Séance
xiii - Circle Of Manias
xiv-I Drive The Hearse
Disc 2
1. Flicker
2. Bonnie The Cat
3. Black Dahlia
4. Remember Me Lover

Added: September 28th 2009
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 9743
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Posted by Richard Wheelhouse, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-09-28 11:29:58
My Score:

Steve Wilson's Porcupine Tree - long a slightly reluctant trailblazing force in the UK's progressive scene, are gradually coming to accept their position in the vanguard of interesting British rock. In some ways The Incident is the most explicitly progressive statement they've made in years, boasting as it does a song suite that takes up an entire CD.

There are those, myself among them, who would question whether a piece split into 14 distinct and diverse tracks should really be described as 'a song' much more than Dark Side of the Moon or Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club should be. Labels are irrelevant though, what is significant is that this self-imposed structure seems to have given Steve Wilson and the band a greater freedom in their craft. As if released from the weight of a requirement to create rational, self-contained 'songs', the pieces that make up "The Incident" feel much more freely creative than much of the band's recent work. Ideas flow between and through the tracks with wild abandon, and simple moments create a drama far beyond the sum of their parts.

Whether or not it is truly one song, the suite certainly does have a tremendous sense of unity. The brutal opening, featuring the thunderous "Occam's Razor" and "Great Expectations" (which could have been lifted straight from King Crimson's Red) feels very much at one with the more introspective tail. All this is held together by "Time Flies", the beating heart of the piece that recalls Pink Floyd's Animals, only with that album's bitterness replaced by a reflective sense of resignation.

The second disc of the album does introduce an odd sense of top heaviness, with the enormous first side being counterbalanced by a mere four tracks that only just clear 20 minutes in duration. It would be easy to treat this disc as a throwaway bonus CD, but if viewed as a self-contained work it genuinely has a lot to offer, with some standout material.

First impressions of The Incident are of an album that would appeal both to newcomers and to those that like Porcupine Tree for the brand of twisted and melancholic metal that they have been producing since In Absentia. But there was a nagging doubt that this band; with such a rich history of self reinvention through phases of sweeping symphonic material, trance rock, brittle pop-prog and more; may be stagnating a little, that they were capable of more than simple variations on a theme. Repeated listens have changed my mind though. The album is not so much a stagnation of this musical incarnation of Porcupine Tree, but a culmination of the musical ideas present in the previous few albums. It is a pinnacle achievement, an album to be savoured, and one which begs the question – where next?

Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-09-27 09:31:24
My Score:

Steven Wilson and his band Porcupine Tree have taken all the elements that have made this band such an intriguing act to follow throughout their history and rolled it all up into one amazing release here with The Incident. No matter whether you prefer PT's more psychedelic, prog-rock, or hard rock/metal period's, they are all here, perfectly meshed on this amazing work of art. A 2CD set, with the first disc being the mammoth epic title cut, and the second disc a handful of shorter pieces, The Incident works on many levels, from a lyrical standpoint to all things musical. It seems that Wilson has decided to finally embrace prog-rock after years of denying that Porcupine Tree had anything to do with the genre, here mixing some lovely 70's sounds with dashes of pop, heavy metal muscle, and the abstract realms of psychedelia. Expect plenty of dynamic guitar work, skillful drumming, catchy melodies, lush keyboards, and passages of extended experimentation that never meander or bore.

This is a band that, despite now being on a larger record label in Roadrunner Records and obviously on the verge of finally starting to break out more into the mainstream, have yet to succumb to any pressures of changing their musical vision. Porcupine Tree in 2009 are just as artistic and adventurous, if not more so, than they were 10-15 years ago. It's just that the public is finally starting to catch on. If Steven Wilson and the band now have the luxury to be able to deliver their music in different formats and packaging thanks to a label that is really behind them, so be it. They've worked hard for many years and deserve whatever success will now come their way thanks to the excellent The Incident. Highly recommended!

» Reader Comments:

Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Posted by ??? on 2009-09-28 08:02:37
My Score:

This is the last thing I am going to say about this package. If you guys want to go out and spend over 100 dollars for a DTS disc and a book that you should be embarrassed to show your neighbors, go ahead! Put it next to that outrageous Pearl Jam and Dream Theater sets that you could almost have a whole Beatles discography box for the same price. You and Steve-O can bail out the labels together. You know, the same people who don't want to send you actual cds anymore to review.
Before you would get the DVD-A disc of much higher quality for 13.99 which is a most competitive, smart and fair deal to fans. It spoke multitudes before you ever even put the music on.

Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Posted by ??? on 2009-09-23 15:51:50
My Score:

Erik Vermeulen you are an educated man. I love reading when someone truly understands hi-rez!!

Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Posted by Erik Vermeulen on 2009-09-22 15:26:10
My Score:

Since I love the music I went for both the vinyl and the de luxe cd version. There is no doubt that the vinyl sound much better than the cd. There is no doubt that I love the over the top version with the books and the box. I'm glad not all cd-s are packed this way. The only real bummer is the surround version. Although it's perfectly mixed it's only DTS. There is nothing wrong with DTS as long as it's been used for a movie soundtrack. Here it hides a lot of details and makes the music dull and muffled. For the price they're asking SACD or at least 24 bits dvd-a would have been more appropriated. That would've done justice to the superior album.

Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-09-21 05:27:57
My Score:

RE: ???
"The idea of a sell-out has nothing to do with economics. It is based on philosophy and you can be rich, poor or anywhere in between to relinquish your integrity for an exchange of a benefit of some tangible kind. [---] Count sheep, dont be one."

I understand what you want to say (but "sell out" is, to me, also valid on an economical level as well, not only from a philosophical point of view). I just don't agree with your opinion(s). Simple as that!

I have no intention of buying more than one edition of this record; I'll listen to PT as long as they make music that interests and pleases me; I'll go to the live gigs as long as their performance interests and pleases me. That goes for all the bands that I currently enjoy listening to!

The issue of an ethical/moral/philosophical "sell out" on PT's (and/or SW's) behalf, has previously been ventilated: when PT moved into "the structured song phase", and when PT moved "into metal". It will be up for discussion again and again, since these things boil down to matters of personal taste and preferences...

Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-09-16 15:22:06
My Score:

I would love for Porcupine Tree to maybe release an instrumental CD one day(...)

Have you missed a brilliant Metanoia and a bit out-of-date, but still quite nice Voyage 34 ?

Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Posted by ??? on 2009-09-16 12:33:15
My Score:

He could have put this out on his own label without sacrificing anything and you can bet the 5.1 mix would have been included. Instead, there is a supposition that a separate release will come. Bringing the total to 3 releases of the same title? The other re-releases were never mentioned and supported by this writer as a worthy do over. You dont read too much, do you? The idea of a concept record has no direct bearing with sales. Remember The Wall or Operation Mindcrime? It is the quality and content that will make it a success at whatever audience it is being aimed at. If you are so naive to believe that Steve-o and the record company haven't spun the numbers to see if this was a lucrative effort for them both that they would have signed them? They have every fan counted and what could be expected as an increase in proportion to their relationship. The idea of a sell-out has nothing to do with economics. It is based on philosophy and you can be rich, poor or anywhere in between to relinquish your integrity for an exchange of a benefit of some tangible kind. 3 releases of a cd? Believe me, he knows that you are going to have to pay for them. It is about him not you. Count sheep, dont be one.

Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Posted by PerPer Lundberg on 2009-09-16 04:18:17
My Score:

"The Incident" is a very good piece of music (as are the bonus tracks), even though I personally still prefer the slightly heavier "Deadwing". This might change after a few more listens to the new record, though. But this is just a question of personal taste...

The comments by "???" are rubbish whining, in my opinion. Gone corporate? A sell out by SW due to being on Roadrunner Records? Yeah, they sold out PT by making a record that is one track divided into fourteen parts. That's a very commercial approach to begin with, I'd say.

The various versions of PT recordings (5.1 editions, special editions of old recordings, etc etc) are perhaps sometimes a bit OTT in my minds eye, but you're generally not forced to buy this stuff, are you?

Enjoy good music where ever you can find it, regardless of label, I'd say. And good luck to "???" with your hunt for the bands that haven't sold out according to you standars.

Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Posted by ??? on 2009-09-15 14:32:36
My Score:

Perhaps Steve-O should have (Roadrunner his new corporate sponsor) make an official statement about the 5.1 mix.

Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Posted by tjtull on 2009-09-14 20:46:09
My Score:

As far as the 5.1 edition goes. This will be release separately, as all other 5.1 PT releases have been. So saying the only way you can get the 5.1 is by ordering the deluxe edition is not only wrong, it's willfully misinformed.

And on the issue of the deluxe edition. It's well worth the money expended. It's an exquisitely packaged piece of art that will guide you through the artistic vision. I'm loving this album more that FoaBP...and that's saying a LOT.

Can't wait to see these guys on Friday in San Francisco. It's going to be a great night!!!

Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Posted by The Head Geek on 2009-09-14 14:37:45
My Score:

"Steve has sold out and went corporate."

With all due respect to my favorite band, you have to sell albums before you can sell out.

Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Posted by tjtull on 2009-09-14 14:01:04
My Score:

The reader who says Steven has sold out couldn't be more wrong. The Incident is true to SW's artistic drive. It's a breath of fresh air in a stale music market where bands like Nickleback dominate.

I find the DE packaging enthralling. The pictures guide you through the album experience. What a masterful job at both recording and packaging. The songs create a mood that is unrivaled by only a few other bands today. It's a great combination of hard-edged metal and the softer (psychedelic) side of PT. FANTASTIC STUFF!! Can't wait to see it performed live!!

Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Posted by ??? on 2009-09-13 17:29:25
My Score:

Steve has sold out and went corporate. The only way to get the 5.1 mix is to invest in a $106 dollar coffee table book?! I was getting suspicious at all the product coming from him in one form or another, but for this I am finished. As for the cd...You have heard it before. The only thing new is the smell of sh%t that comes with it.

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