Release Date: April 26, 2005
Reviewed by Scott Olivenbaum
Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson obviously learned a thing or two from his time producing Opeth. Where previous albums were often fraught with tortuous winding interludes, Deadwing seems much more pointed. The riffs and solos throughout Deadwing advance the songs and add depth to the lyrics rather than meander into effluvia.
The members of Porcupine Tree are typical prog musicians – they know their instruments inside and out and play crisply and cleanly. The soundscapes they create are lush and warming; they also are helped by pristine production. The precision with which this album was crafted is second-to-none but it is not something that everyone will appreciate.
Do not be fooled by the earlier mention of death metal gods Opeth; Deadwing is a prog album, a worthy one at that. The members of Porcupine Tree are pros at building an introspective aural atmosphere, and on Deadwing they did it yet again. From the 10 minute title track to the 12 minute “Arriving Somewhere But Not Here”, the tracks build a dimly-lit Floyd-ish world through smooth lyrics and steady keys and drum lines.
Deadwing is a great album to throw on your headphones or a surround-sound system and chill out. But it is a time commitment – there is no throwing on one quick song, this disc needs to be played from top to bottom. Like most prog music, there are no singles or stand-alone tracks. Like Rush and Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree can be a guilty pleasure for music fans everywhere.