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Fear of a Blank Planet

Porcupine TreeAudio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 6 Songs, 2012 $8.99  
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Vinyl, 2007 --  

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic / Wea
  • ASIN: B000O75F7C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,295 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

On Fear of a Blank Planet veteran progressive-rock act Porcupine Tree takes up the task of exploring the alienating forces of the media and its impact on our youths and ourselves. Fear's titular cut features lyrics rife with allusions to the confusing, isolating effects of TV, the X-Box, drugged out consumer escapades, and the ennui that arrives with prescription and self-prescribed numbness. "My Ashes" advances the themes of isolation, as a young person becomes increasingly estranged from himself; "Anesthetize" aptly captures dull apathy with accuracy and knowing but perhaps delves to deep into the dark depths and instead of alleviating pain and pressure instead deepens it via a track that fails to offer much emotional or mental counterpoint. The tune does feature an exceptionally lyrical guitar solo from Rush's Alex Lifeson and proves that if anyone can write a sprawling, throbbing epic it's most likely Porcupine Tree. Elsewhere, such as on the beautifully crafted "Sentimental" and "Way Out of Here," Wilson and Co. land squarely between the epic grandeur of peak-era Pink Floyd and the psychically distant cool of Radiohead, a feat that doesn't as much demonstrate how well PT echoes those bands as it shows us how expansive the English quartet's music and emotional vocabulary is. For elder listeners Fear probably won't serve as the powerful statement it wants to be--its themes have been explored to more exacting impact before and, musically, it's fairly standard progressive fare--but it is a strong and intelligent album and for a generation that's grown numb from three-minute ditties about life at the end of the country club cul-de-sac that embrace rather than rage against the dying of the light, it may serve as a wake up call and provide hope for a brighter and more color-infused tomorrow. ––Jedd Beaudoin

Product Description

This starkly beautiful elegy on the numbness, apathy, and isolation brought about by the constant barrage of television, video games, advertising, prescription drugs, sex, and violence of everyday life is emphasized by the symphonic arrangement of metal guitars, synthesizers, fat basslines, and virtuosic drumming.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
118 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MON THE TREE April 25, 2007
Format:Audio CD
For many, this is one of the big albums to watch in 2007. In certain circles, at any rate, there has been a lot of rather assuming talk, with phrases like potential `album of the year' thrown around. Ancillary to this, some of us were privileged enough to hear the entire thing in rough, prototype form live last year, and the textures and dynamics evident in some of the entrancing music we heard that evening certainly suggested something special waiting in the wings. Finally, a lot has been made of the fact that (supposedly) this album functions as one continuous 50-minute cycle of music, and that the lyrics deal pretty much exclusively with Wilson's fears that the younger generation is risking descent into intellectual torpor owing to their addiction to an oh-so lethal cocktail of prescription drugs, MTV, internet addiction and banal culture of necessary instant gratification.

For me, however, none of the above really has much bearing on the album itself. Sonically, the six pieces here (which are distinct enough not to flow together the way, say Light of Day, Day of Darkness does) present an interesting proposition. Crucially, the narcotic core of their sound has been left largely intact, with outrageously catchy melodies, dense, layered and painstakingly executed production, careful, wandering bass-lines and lush, intricate harmonies all present in abundance. There is a slightly more heavy approach evident, but overall the album is remarkably spacey and dreamy, with a lot of attention given to synth washes, soundscapes and somnambulistic melodies, all rather reminiscent of their The Sky Moves Sideways era. But this is juxtaposed with the tight songwriting and straightforward riffing of later releases.
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow--No Need to Worry. You'll Love it April 26, 2007
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
You know how worried you get that bands' subsequent releases are not going to measure up to the past? No worries here. This disk is simply amazing. Even for the "mellow fans" whose favorite song is Lazarus (from Dead Wing), there is something for you on FOBP. I read a past review that said this was HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY ... so I was a concerned it might be too Metal. No need to worry. It's heavy in that it's deep and lush. I love music that makes percussion an integral part of the experience--instead of just keeping time. The percussion in this is great even for PT.

I might be PT's oldest fan. Look for me at the front of the line in Boulder on 15 May. Can't wait.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of 2007: Classic Porcupine Tree May 19, 2007
Format:Audio CD
After the less than impressive Somewhere Else by Marillion, 2007 was not looking too promising for prog rock fans. But Porcupine once more saved the day! Their "Fear of a Blank Planet" is a direct reference to the Public Enemy album, Fear of a Black Planet (1990) and it left me gasping for air after the first time I listened to it: so much musical power, so many layers of sound.

It can be hard to imagine that barely six tracks can carry the burden of prog rock on their shoulders, but "Fear of a Blank Planet" does this task almost effortlessly. Steven Wilson repeats the same lineup he's had for the past five years. Besides them, the band is accompanied by King Crimson legend Robert Fripp on soundscapes in "Way Out Of Here", Rush's Alex Lifeson on guitar in "Anesthetize" and John Wesley, who had previously appeared on In Absentia and Deadwing, also doing and producing guitar work.

The end result is an amazing prog rock album that leaves the genre breathing comfortably and one of the best albums of 2007.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OMG May 1, 2007
Format:Audio CD
This review is not really a review but more a strange (to me) historical comment. I was recently "turned onto" Porcupine Tree by Rush- I heard that Alex Lifeson was a guest guitarist on Anesthetize. I am 46 years old and have been a Rush fan since 1975 (well before most of you smarta** commentators were born : ) What is fascinating is that PT sounds nothing like RUSH but I absolutely love this music. This contradiction requires serious scientific investigation. Alex Lifeson likes them- and I'm guessing many other Rush fans will love this music even though it is very un-RUSH like. Many people have commented on PT's progressive style- but it has a very metal overtone as well. My 46 year old ears will certainly go deaf listening to PT- but I can't resist. Remarkable music- and I thought real music died long ago...Thank God for PT
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A more atmospheric Tree April 25, 2007
Format:Audio CD
THE BAND: Steven Wilson (vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards), Richard Barbieri (keyboards, synthesizers), Colin Edwin (bass), Gavin Harrison (drums & percussion).

THE DISC: (2007) 6 tracks clocking in at approximately 50 minutes. Included with the disc is a 10-page booklet containing song titles/credits/times, song lyrics, odd/sad/haunting photos of somebody's kids, and thank you's. Guest artists included Alex Lifeson (Rush) - guitar solo on "Anesthetize", and Robert Fripp (King Crimson) on "Way Out Of Here". Strings performed by the London Session Orchestra. There is a limited edition 2-disc set available as well - the 2nd disc contains the same music recorded in 5.1 DTS sound (playable only in a DVD player) as well as a 40-page booklet. Label - Atlantic Records.

COMMENTS: Continued brilliance from The Tree. While "Fear Of A Blank Planet" didn't hit me on first spin like "In Absentia" (2002) did, it's still ultra fine music from PT mastermind Steven Wilson. Nothing new as far as lyrics go - still dealing with loneliness, rejection, a dark childhood, and a bleak future outlook. I feel "Fear" takes a step closer to the band's past - reverting back to "Signify" (1996) and perhaps "Stupid Dream" (1999) - giving you much more mood and atmosphere, and less rock & pop. Where "In Absentia" and "Deadwing" (2005) had more tracks geared toward the 4 minute "rock" song, "Fear" gives you 6 lengthy tracks (4 of the 6 songs are 7 minutes or longer... with "Anesthetize" just under 18 minutes all by itself). "Fear" starts off with the title track... I feel this song is oddly similar to "Deadwing's" title track. Though my least favorite track on the album, it's still a good rock song with a husky jam in the middle (though nothing groundbreaking). Track 2 is where the album takes flight for me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Came at just the right time
I bought this CD along with another CD (Ghost Reveries by Opeth) hoping I would be able to listen to them both on the same day and that was certainly the case. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nicholas
1.0 out of 5 stars Big let down
Not their best work Pretty lame absentia was remarkable wasted my money on this one?
Looking for another good progressive cd
Published 1 month ago by Edward Carpenito
5.0 out of 5 stars Their best.
While 'In Absentia' is probably their most popular, to me, this is PT's finest work. It's 'Tommy" for a new generation. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bartimus
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad CD quality, awfull book-cover impression and CD-R inside.
Not too much to say, just that this purchase isn't that good that I could imagine. The bookcover was badly made and the audio recorded on a CD-R is disrespectful. Not recommended.
Published 4 months ago by Jonathan Garces Molina
5.0 out of 5 stars Positively Terrific!
Much of the talk surrounding Porcupine Tree’s ninth opus, 2007’s “Fear Of A Blank Planet,” was, understandably, around track three on the album, “Anesthetize. Read more
Published 5 months ago by A. Stutheit
5.0 out of 5 stars As expected
My brother-in-law was pleased with this item. He requested it so he already knew what he was getting. I am not personally familiar with this group.
Published 6 months ago by MRH
5.0 out of 5 stars magnificent musicianship
Why did it take me so long to discover this band? This is how groups are supposed to jam. Outstanding-even an Alex Lifeson solo!
Published 7 months ago by Dan Zellonis
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have for the Lovers of Purcupine Tree
I own most of Porcupine Tree's albums, but this one is probably the one I still listen to the most. It has the perfect balance of intensity and "dreaminess" for me. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Yashoda
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT Album
Not as good as In Absentia, IMHO, but pretty good. A must-have for Porcupine Tree fans I think. The first song however, the eponymous track... I don't like it. At. All. Read more
Published 12 months ago by RideTheSpiralToTheEnd
5.0 out of 5 stars If you've never heard this band - check it out
I love this band. This is one of their best cd's. I have most of them and they are all good. Great band.
Published 12 months ago by ladybuggreen
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Topic From this Discussion
Fear of a New Album?
I like the Stupid Dream era quite a bit, but I could not get into Lightbulb Sun as much--lots of orchestral arrangements that seemed to overwhelm the great Tree sound. I am a big fan of In Absentia and the overall sound of that album. Deadwing is so dense, but I like it too. I do not have... Read More
Apr 19, 2007 by Alex Carr |  See all 25 posts
Getting Too Radio-Friendly?
I think it depends from what perspective you listen to FotBP and what you are comparing it to. If you are comparing it to earlier PT (some might argue "classic" PT), then yes, the album does sound mainstream by comparison. But if you honestly compare the sound/music of FotBP to... Read More
Mar 11, 2008 by J. Perez |  See all 6 posts
surround version
It is out but only in the UK that I know of. You can order via burning shed
Nov 24, 2007 by My Cuff |  See all 3 posts
Import price
They will. FOABP isn't supposed to be released in the US until the 24th of April, rather than the 5th. That leads me to believe that the US version isn't available for purchase just yet. I've seen the same thing happen for other new releases on amazon.
Mar 18, 2007 by Brian P. Testa |  See all 4 posts
where can i buy it ?
Hi there,

If you are interested in the Limited Edition version, which comes with the stereo mix and the bonus 5.1 surround DVD-A (including a 40 page booklet), then you can check out my eBay auction at:... Read More
May 2, 2007 by bulkhead72 |  See all 2 posts
Why is this so expensive? Be the first to reply
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