Becoming more popular with every album released Porcupine Tree’s 2009 album The Incident was highly awaited by fans and critics. Especially as Steven Wilson announced the album being one almost hour-long song that didn’t work out in the end. It’s actually a concept album consisting of fourteen tracks, summarizing the sound of the previous albums.
The story behind The Incident is rather simple because it just is about – you guessed it – different people’s incidents. Musically, the album starts where Porcupine Tree left off with Fear Of A Blank Planet. The first five tracks are in the usual style, meaning a progressive mix of hard rock and softer ballads. It seems as if the band are playing it safe at the start. But a slight innovation would surely be better.
The title track that follows has a very industrial sound which reminds me of Nine Inch Nails. It’s a very intense song and one of the best of this album. It segues into the acoustic Your Unpleasant Family while keeping the industrial beat which is a very interesting idea.
Time Flies is the longest song of the album at almost twelve minutes. What makes this one so special is that its beginning is very similar to the Pink Floyd song Dogs from their Animals album. Nevertheless Time Flies is another great song and it works better than the album’s other short tracks. Based on a fast acoustic riff it becomes more powerful as the band joins in. The calm bridge in the middle of the song only increases the tension.
The following songs go into a heavier direction, except for the acoustic The Séance and the last song I Drive The Hearse. This one is a quiet ballad which ends the regular album in a beautiful way.
There’s also a 2 CD edition of The Incident with four more songs on the second disc. Flicker, Black Dahlia and Remember Me Lover are typical ballads and Bonnie The Cat is a dark rocker as usual. The fact that there is a single CD version available already hints at the rather mediocre quality of these songs.
The thing about this album is that many songs only resemble what Porcupine Tree achieved on their previous work. New elements are missing most of the time, sadly. All in all The Incident is a good album but the band surely can do better.
written by Wolfgang Merx