Steve Wilson, Porcupine Trees front man, credits his recharged interest in heavy metal to his work as producer for the Swedish metal band Opeth. Wilson began forging a heavier sound for his band with 2002s In Absentia, Porcupine Trees first release on a major label in the US. Prior to that disc, the British bands progressive rock had built up a solid following in the UK and Europe after more than a decade of recording and touring. In Absentia smartly combined the brutal force of metal with a richly experimental progressive-pop sound.
Porcupine Trees newest disc, Deadwingł is even harder edged than In Absentia, but it is as melodically subtle as its predecessor. Wilson has a strong pop instinct that makes even the heaviest tunes on Deadwing lodge in ones memory. He also shrewdly balances its heaviness against sections of complex beauty. The crashing opening of each verse of "Shallow" gives way to a gentler vocal over acoustic guitar and piano, leading to a powerfully brutal chorus. "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here" highlights all of Porcupine Trees strengths: lilting vocals over atmospheric keyboards; gorgeous, dense multi-tracked harmony vocals; and long instrumental passages that play melody against volume and distortion.
In addition to the standard two-channel CD, DTS is releasing a multichannel mix of Deadwing (Wilson also prepared a DTS release of In Absentia about a year after its initial release). Wilson is a master at creating records of great aural detail, so surround should only enhance the power of this disc.
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