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Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson, itching to create a prog-metal masterwork with the audacity of Tales From Topographic Oceans or The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, at last materializes his wish. The Incident takes up 55 minutes or so all on one disc. Because Wilson's apparently got prog-metal scrubbing out his veins, the music punches, spits, and dissipates into menacing swirls of silence in expert timing. Because he apparently didn't pay enough attention to Peter Gabriel, the lyrics settle for unbaked obfuscation. I've lived with the sucker a few weeks now, and frankly, heeding the booklet words after 4-5 spins was a bummer. A car crash figures in there somewhere, and the main disc's ten-minute centerpiece, "Time Flies," address, yes, you got it, the ephemeral nature of our existence upon this earth. Otherwise, if you can make sense out of such as "Distill malaise and photograph/ the hole it leaves/ Running out a copy for you," you're up on me.

The bonus disc finds Wilson felt back to cynical wit ("There are three things I would die for/ But I am sure you're not one of them") and assuredness. Here's hoping he sticks to strengths and heals up after his hyperextension. I'm fond of him when he's on, just not when he's all over.

Album title: The Incident (2009)
Artist: Porcupine Tree
Label: Roadrunner Records
Songs: (1) Occam's Razor (2) The Blind House (3) Great Expectations (4) Kneel and Disconnect (5) Drawing the Line (6) The Incident (7) Your Unpleasant Family (8) The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train (9) Time Flies (10) Degree Zero of Liberty (11) Octane Twisted (12) The Seance (13) Circle of Manias (14) I Drive the Hearse (15) Flicker (16) Bonnie the Cat (17) Black Dahlia (18) Remember Me Lover

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Russ Lewis Nov. 18, 2009 @ 12:27 p.m.

Hmmm...prog metal? Not the Porcupine Tree I know, which is mainly Voyage 34, an hour-long mynd-bender in itself. (Get it if you unaccountably don't have it, Andy.) This does sound interesting though.


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