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Porcupine Tree In Absentia

By Eden Capwell, Contributor
Friday, March 28, 2003 @ 9:29 PM


(Lava Records)

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Review after review states this be a stunning masterpiece. While I agree to some extent, it needs to be said right up front that this is not metal. I’d be hard pressed to call it rock as well. This is pure alternative -- progressive. Progressive in the fact, there really isn’t anything else out there like this. Alternative shouldn’t have a negative connotation in this case. In a word this is: mellow. It’s got some hard riffing that’s mixed with highly complex song arrangements. Strong tempo changes, and a drummer that punctuates what the band is accomplishing with the songs as a whole. Vocals are quite beautiful, crystal clear, but not particularly powerful. If they were powerful it would not fit this style at all. They are emotional while staying steady -- firm. Bass is not noticeable. Guitars are mixed up; hard leads rip through a song while it may be balanced with well done acoustical additions. What is captured is a more serene and relaxed experimental group of musicians. Any musician of any caliber would appreciate and grow to love this disc. It is both mesmerizing and haunting, while soothing and always interesting. Incredible song arrangements and poignant beauty. Quiet intensity -- infinitely listen able.

1. “Blackest Eyes” -- Haunting little tune. Excellent harmonized vocals.
2. “Trains” -- Beautiful acoustical guitar mixed with light electric sweepings. Touching and exquisitely emotive vocals.
3. “Lips Of Ashes” -- Again another poignant song -- supple and liquid.
4. “The Sound Of Muzak“ -- gently weaves it spellbinding touch on you. Excellent sustained solo.
5. “Gravity Eyelids” -- Piano is added for texture. Complex song, not easily grasped initially. Has some great riffing when it up and decides to rock out. Breaks back down into the complex style already stated. 7-minute opus.
6. “Wedding Nails” -- Has a funky, jam vibe to it, with ever escalating guitar work. Minute-long doomy outro.
7. “Prodigal” -- “I tried the capsule, I tried the smoke, I was never able to capture the feeling of normal folk.” Another moving song, with delicate melodies.
8. “3” -- Bass and light keys are the intro that slowly builds the tension. Drums are added, and this is another poignant instrumental long intro. Halfway through is acoustical guitars with vocals that are slightly distorted, echoing from somewhere else.
9. “The Creator Has A Mastertape” -- Uber thumping bass with the jam/rock style drums, guitar leads ripping through the song, signal this to be more a rocker style song. The song gets more aggressive as it wears on, borders nearly on experimental metal.
10. “Heartattack In A Layby” -- Less is more in the sparse song. Very saddening with it’s light guitar work, and double, then triple layered vocals.
11. “Strip The Soul” -- Moody and trippy song.
12. “Collapse the Light Into Earth” -- Mostly a piano and vocals number. Saddening to say the least.
Expert and nearly flawless musicianship. If you’re looking for something more experimental, outside the metal realm -- but still contains passion and magic, check this out.
Was only available as an import, that now has North American distribution.

* * * * ½


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