The Incident (album)

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The Incident
The Incident cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released14 September 2009
GenreProgressive rock, progressive metal
ProducerPorcupine Tree
Porcupine Tree chronology
Fear of a Blank Planet
The Incident
Singles from The Incident
  1. "Time Flies"
    Released: 11 August 2009
Steven Wilson chronology
The Incident
Grace for Drowning

The Incident is the tenth studio album by British progressive rock band Porcupine Tree. It was released as a double album on 14 September 2009 by Roadrunner Records.[1] The record was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Surround Sound Album[2] and reached the Top 25 on both the US and UK album charts. It was the final release to feature Colin Edwin on bass as well as the last one from the band before an extended hiatus that lasted until 2021.


The band started recording the album in February 2009. This was confirmed by a post on their official website: "Writing for the next PT studio record is well underway, with the band recently spending 2 weeks scheduled in the English countryside working on new tracks. Recording of these pieces and a new 35-minute song cycle [written by Steven Wilson] were due to start in February..." A tour was announced on the band's website and MySpace, along with dates, following release of the new album.[3] Around March and April, Wilson commented that the 35-minute song kept evolving, becoming a 55-minute song occupying the entire disc.

On 12 June 2009, details of The Incident were revealed on the Porcupine Tree website: "the record is set to be released via Roadrunner Records worldwide on 22 September as a double CD: the centre-piece is the title track, which takes up the whole of the first disc. The 55-minute work is described as a slightly surreal song cycle about beginnings and endings and the sense that 'after this, things will never be the same again'; the release date was later moved to 15 September. The self-produced album is completed by four standalone compositions that developed out of band writing sessions last December - Flicker, Bonnie the Cat, Black Dahlia, and Remember Me Lover feature on a separate EP length disc to stress their independence from the song cycle."[4] On 13 July, the first preview of the album was posted at both Roadrunner and the band's MySpace pages. The track "Time Flies", described by Wilson as "sentimental" and the "centerpiece" of the album, became a music video directed by usual Porcupine Tree collaborator Lasse Hoile, along with an edited single.[5]

A DVD-A edition was released on the Transmission Label as Transmission 11.1 through Burning Shed. On 12 April 2010, an acoustic version of "I Drive the Hearse" was released through the Roadrunner website.[6] On 9 July 2010, a music video for "Bonnie the Cat" was published.[7]

The chord progression in several songs on the record, particularly parts of "The Blind House" and "The Séance", is reused from the No-Man song "The Break-Up For Real" (from 2003's Together We're Stranger).


The concept for The Incident emerged as Wilson was caught in a motorway traffic jam whilst driving past a road accident:

"There was a sign saying 'POLICE – INCIDENT' and everyone was slowing down to see what had happened... Afterwards, it struck me that 'incident' is a very detached word for something so destructive and traumatic for the people involved. And then I had the sensation that the spirit of someone that had died in the accident entered into my car and was sitting next to me. The irony of such a cold expression for such seismic events appealed to me, and I began to pick out other 'incidents' reported in the media and news, I wrote about the evacuation of teenage girls from a religious cult in Texas, a family terrorizing its neighbours, a body found floating in a river by some people on a fishing trip, and more. Each song is written in the first person and tries to humanize the detached media reportage".

— Steven Wilson[8]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
NOW [13]
Radio City [15]
Rocksound(9/10) [16]
Rolling Stone[17]

In January 2010, Eclipsed magazine critics named The Incident their "Album of the Year" and also gave credit to the band for "Best Concert of The Year", while "Time Flies" reached #5 in the "Best Song of the Year" category.[19]

Readers of the Teraz Rock Polish magazine voted Steven Wilson as the "Best Foreign Instrumentalist/Musician of 2009", surpassing other widely known artists, such as The Edge, Jerry Cantrell, Jack White, Kerry King, Kirk Hammett, Tom Morello, Mark Knopfler, and Omar Rodríguez-López.[20]

Classic Rock magazine critics voted Porcupine Tree #1 "Best Band" and The Incident as #1 "Album of the Year"; The Incident tour was voted #4 and Gavin Harrison gained second place for "Best Drummer"; Steven Wilson achieved #4 as "Best Guitarist" and was chosen #1 "Prog Icon of 2009".[21]

Once again, a Porcupine Tree song was chosen "Song of the Day" by NPR. "Drawing the Line" is the second NPR pick from the band since "Sentimental", off 2007's Fear of a Blank Planet.[22]

Indian newspaper The Hindu commented on "Time Flies" by asserting, "The epic 11-minute track is simply one of Porcupine Tree's best. Embodied in melodic simplicity with a rhythmic strumming pattern, the piece undulates with cascading crescendos, a rumbling mid-section and a propulsive finish."[23]

Track listing[edit]

Disc one[edit]

The first disc of the album was intended to be a single 55-minute song, but it is segmented into 14 sequential tracks.

All lyrics written by Steven Wilson.

1."The Incident"
  • I. "Occam's Razor"
  • II. "The Blind House"
  • III. "Great Expectations"
  • IV. "Kneel and Disconnect"
  • V. "Drawing the Line"
  • VI. "The Incident"
  • VII. "Your Unpleasant Family"
  • VIII. "The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train"
  • IX. "Time Flies"
  • X. "Degree Zero of Liberty"
  • XI. "Octane Twisted"
  • XII. "The Séance"
  • XIII. "Circle of Manias"
  • XIV. "I Drive the Hearse"
Porcupine Tree
  • Steven Wilson
  • Wilson
  • Wilson
  • Wilson
  • Wilson
  • Wilson
  • Wilson
  • Wilson
  • Wilson
  • Wilson
  • Porcupine Tree
  • Wilson
  • Porcupine Tree
  • Wilson
  • 55:15
  • 1:55
  • 5:47
  • 1:26
  • 2:03
  • 4:43
  • 5:20
  • 1:48
  • 2:00
  • 11:40
  • 1:45
  • 5:03
  • 2:39
  • 2:18
  • 6:41
  • Total length:55:15

    Disc two[edit]

    Disc 2 contains tracks recorded outside the song cycle.

    All lyrics written by Steven Wilson.

    1."Flicker"Porcupine Tree3:42
    2."Bonnie the Cat"Porcupine Tree5:45
    3."Black Dahlia"Richard Barbieri3:40
    4."Remember Me Lover"Steven Wilson7:28
    Total length:20:35
    Japanese & iTunes bonus tracks
    5."Way Out of Here" (Live)Porcupine Tree7:49
    6."What Happens Now?" (Live)Porcupine Tree8:09

    These two bonus tracks were recorded in Tilburg, The Netherlands, in 2008 for the live DVD Anesthetize.

    DVD-A edition[edit]

    2."Flicker"Porcupine Tree3:42
    3."Bonnie the Cat"Porcupine Tree5:45
    4."Black Dahlia"Richard Barbieri3:40
    5."Remember Me Lover"Steven Wilson7:28
    6."Extra Features
    • Time Flies Video
    • Octane Twisted Film
    • TV spot
    • Photo Gallery"


    Porcupine Tree[edit]


    • Engineers: Steve Orchard, John Wesley (engineered guitars)
    • Mastering: Jon Astley (stereo), Darcy Proper (5.1)


    Chart performance for The Incident
    Chart (2009) Peak
    Australian Albums (ARIA)[24] 35
    Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[25] 45
    Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[26] 79
    Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[27] 40
    Canadian Albums (Billboard)[28] 23
    Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[29] 5
    Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[30] 11
    French Albums (SNEP)[31] 35
    German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[32] 17
    Italian Albums (FIMI)[33] 33
    Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[34] 19
    Polish Albums (ZPAV)[35] 5
    Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[36] 77
    Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[37] 23
    Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[38] 20
    UK Albums (OCC)[39] 23
    US Billboard 200[28] 25
    US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[28] 7


    1. ^ Get Your First Taste of Porcupine Tree's 'The Incident' 2009. Retrieved on 2009-07-10.
    2. ^ "Nominees And Winners". National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
    3. ^ "Porcupine Tree-News". 16 December 2008. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008.
    4. ^ "The Incident". Porcupine Tree. 12 June 2009.
    5. ^ Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) Talks About 'Time Flies' 2009-07-20. Retrieved on 2009-07-27
    6. ^ "PORCUPINE TREE'S 'I DRIVE THE HEARSE' PERFORMED ACOUSTICALLY". Roadrunner Records. 12 April 2010.
    7. ^ The Worldwide Video Premiere of Bonnie the Cat Retrieved on 2010-07-10.
    8. ^ "Porcupine Tree Reveal Details of the Incident". Retrieved 18 June 2009.
    9. ^ "Critic Reviews for The Incident". Metacritic. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
    10. ^ The Incident review Retrieved on 2009-09-19.
    11. ^ Porcupine Tree - The Incident Retrieved on 2009-09-23.
    12. ^ Tough as Porcupine Tree Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Retrieved on 2009-10-02.
    13. ^ NOW Magazine // Music // Porcupine Tree
    14. ^ The Incident review Retrieved on 2009-10-12.
    15. ^ Steve Wilson Delights, Again
    16. ^ Porcupine Tree - `The Incident´ - Reviews - Rock Sound. Rocksound magazine. Retrieved on 2009-12-08.
    17. ^ Fricke, David. "Porcupine Tree: The Incident". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 12 March 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
    18. ^ Porcupine Tree outdoes itself Weekender. Retrieved on 2009-09-30.
    19. ^ "Eclipsed again". Porcupine Tree - Official Website. 29 March 2010. Archived from the original on 19 April 2010.
    20. ^ "Pollwinner!". Porcupine Tree - Official Website. 5 February 2010. Archived from the original on 19 April 2010.
    21. ^ "PT Tops The Polls". Porcupine Tree - Official Website. 22 January 2010. Archived from the original on 19 April 2010.
    22. ^ "Porcupine Tree: The Virtual and the Visceral : NPR". NPR. 30 March 2010.
    23. ^ "Metro Plus Bangalore / Music : Beatstreet". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 12 April 2010. Archived from the original on 7 November 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
    24. ^ " – Porcupine Tree – The Incident". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
    25. ^ " – Porcupine Tree – The Incident" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
    26. ^ " – Porcupine Tree – The Incident" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
    27. ^ " – Porcupine Tree – The Incident" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
    28. ^ a b c The Incident - Porcupine Tree (2009) Retrieved on 2009-09-26.
    29. ^ " – Porcupine Tree – The Incident" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
    30. ^ "Porcupine Tree: The Incident" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
    31. ^ " – Porcupine Tree – The Incident". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
    32. ^ " – Porcupine Tree – The Incident" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
    33. ^ " – Porcupine Tree – The Incident". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
    34. ^ " – Porcupine Tree – The Incident". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
    35. ^ "Porcupine Tree - The Incident - Music Charts". Retrieved 25 October 2009.
    36. ^ " – Porcupine Tree – The Incident". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
    37. ^ " – Porcupine Tree – The Incident". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
    38. ^ " – Porcupine Tree – The Incident". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
    39. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 September 2022.