Spread Your Prickly Wings and Soar!
Much like a zombie crawling out of its grave, it seems prog-rock is finally breaking out of its casket (sealed and buried at the end of the 70’s) in search of new tasty brains to devour with epic song structures and conceptual albums. The Mars Volta is doing it in the indie scene, Opeth is doing it in the metal scene, and London’s Porcupine Tree continues to churn out intelligent progressive material with their 8th studio effort Deadwing.During the long pause since their 2002 major label debut In Absentia, primary songwriter/guitarist/producer Steven Wilson wrote a screenplay called “Deadwing” that would serve as the conceptual foundation for the album of the same name. The opening title track takes the listener on a nearly 10 minute introduction to the atmospherics of this release. Ambient keyboards combine with driving hard rock riffs that twist and turn through jazzy interludes (reminiscent of Meshuggah), setting up nicely for the album’s single, “Shallow.” The interplay of heavy riffing in the verse and soft ringing keyboards in the chorus form a memorable song sure to captivate new audiences without compromising the Porcupine Tree sound.
However, Deadwing is not Porcupine Tree’s attempt at a radio-friendly format, instead focusing on developed, palatable pieces. “Arriving Somewhere But Not Here” is a 12-minute opus with passages in the vein of Pink Floyd or King Crimson, featuring the latter’s guitarist Adrian Belew providing guest solos. “Glass Arm Shattering” has a dreamy lush ambiance that leads into the melodic solo-driven finale, “Shesmovedon.”
Deadwing is a dark, melodic and mature composition for smart fans waiting for a challenging album that isn’t afraid to blur the lines of what rock is.