December 12, 2002

Underground U.K. prog rockers PORCUPINE TREE have cited MESHUGGAH and OPETH as the main musical influences for the band's latest CD, "In Absentia" — widely described as the group's "heaviest" release to date.

"The big influences when I was writing the record were MESHUGGAH and OPETH, no doubt about that," PORCUPINE TREE frontman Steven Wilson told Canada's Chart Attack. "And I actually thank those two bands on the sleeve notes. I can't really overstate the importance of those two bands on the way I went about this record. When I was writing the record I was listening to those bands. I mean, I was working with one of them [Wilson co-produced OPETH's recent 'Deliverance' album]. And it was a pleasure to be working with them, just the sophistication of the music.

"I have to be honest," Wilson continued. "For years I had dismissed metal as music for adolescents, which a lot of people do, because I was only exposed to the stuff that is in the mainstream. And then suddenly I tapped into this whole group of bands from the underground. Actually, it's because I read a book called 'Lords Of Chaos', because I was fascinated with this guy from BURZUM, that led me into the whole world. So I started listening to bands like MORBID ANGEL, some of the doom bands and eventually found my way to MESHUGGAH and OPETH, which to me, were the holy grail of that whole scene. I suddenly realized where all the musicians that were making truly progressive music had gone. They weren't making old-style progressive music, they were making a completely contemporary form of progressive music by using metal as their kind of conduit, if you like. I mean, Mike from OPETH is completely into progressive rock. But he's not doing it in a nostalgic way, he's doing it in a completely cutting edge contemporary way, using metal as his vehicle. And he loves metal just as much as anything, and so do I. And that was kind of a real eye-opener for me, to find musicians who are obviously very much coming from the tradition of the way people made records in the '70s, but doing it in a completely new and contemporary way and with musicianship that I just didn't think existed anymore."

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