Porcupine Tree – Closure/Continuation
Arguably one of the biggest and most anticipated releases within the prog sphere is “Closure/Continuation”, the new Porcupine Tree album. Given mainman Steven Wilson’s reluctance to do anything with PT for the past decade in lieu of his very successful solo career, it’s quite a miracle there’s a new record in the first place. The release is also marred with controversy, mainly to the conspicuous absence of bassist Colin Edwin and some persistent rumors the album’s release and subsequent tour being a mere cash grab. Be it what it may, let’s focus on the music presented on “Closure/Continuation”.
Reportedly, the album is mainly conceived by various writing sessions between Steven Wilson and drummer Gavin Harrison throughout the years without the intention of actually releasing the music. Keyboardist/sound manipulator Richard Barbieri became later involved with the project, adding his signature parts and soundscapes to the music. This more collaborative effort is this album’s greatest catch, but it hasn’t led to any significant stylistilic changes.
Porcupine Tree – Rats Return
The music on “Closure/Continuation” is firmly rooted in the “metal-era” of the band, roughly the period from “In Absentia” (2002) to “The Incident” (2009). While the album may lack some of the forward thinking and adventurous spirit of Steven Wilson’s solo outings, the musical foundation is solid grade A Porcupine Tree. Tracks like ‘Harridan’ and ‘Rats Return’ can easily stand toe to toe with the heavier moments on “Deadwing” and “Fear Of A Blank Planet”, while ‘Of The New Day’ and ‘Herd Culling’ would have made fine additions to “In Absentia”.
The electronic-laden ‘Walk The Plank’ is the odd one out and is very reminiscent of Steven Wilson’s “Hand.Cannot.Erase” and “To The Bone”. The album closing track, called ‘Chimeras Wreck’ is a 9 minute immersive tour-de-force harkening back to the best elements of “The Incident”. Coming to think of it, this track would sit neatly on SW’s “Grace For Drowning” too.
A special mention should go to the bonus tracks. ‘Love In The Past Tense’ is somewhat lighthearted and psychedelic, while ‘Never Have’ starts out as a piano-driven semi ballad while ending in a seventies prog crescendo. Finally, ‘Population Three’ is an instrumental track with some strong King Crimson vibes. If some vocals would have been added, this track would be standout among some of Porcupine Tree’s finest material.
Porcupine Tree – Harridan
So what to make of “Closure/Continuation”? Cash grab or the long awaited triumphant of one of prog rock/metal’s finest outfits? I guess it’s a bit of both. This album contains some of the strongest and most convincing material Steven Wilson and co have ever written, but at the same time, they’re not covering any new ground and it feels like they’re going through the motions, albeit executed with exquisite perfection. Regardless, if this record proves to be PT’s swansong, then “Closure/Continuation” is the quintessential send-off, forever cementing the band’s legacy as one of progressive rock’s most essential outfits.
- Of The New Day
- Rats Return
- Herd Culling
- Walk The Plank
- Chimeras Wreck
- Love In The Past Tense (bonus)
- Never Have (bonus)
- Population Three (bonus)
- Jun 24, 2022. St John’s Church – Kingston, Uk
- Jun 25, 2022. Rough Trade East – London, Uk
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- Sep 10, 2022. Meridian Hall – Toronto, On
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