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Coma Divine - Recorded Live In Rome:Porcupine Tree

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Artist: Porcupine Tree

Date Released: October, 1997

Label: Delerium

Produced By: Steven Wilson

Tracklisting:

  1. Bornlivedieintro (1:23)
  2. Signify (5:22)
  3. Waiting (Phase One) (4:32)
  4. Waiting (Phase Two) (5:28)
  5. The Sky Moves Sideways (12:38)
  6. Dislocated Day (6:37)
  7. The Sleep Of No Dreaming (5:18)
  8. Moonloop (11:40)
  9. Radioactive Toy (15:26)
  10. Not Beautiful Anymore (9:43)

Expanded Edition

Disc One

  1. Bornlivedieintro (1:23)
  2. Signify (5:22)
  3. Waiting (Phase One) (4:32)
  4. Waiting (Phase Two) (5:28)
  5. The Sky Moves Sideways (12:38)
  6. Dislocated Day (6:37)
  7. The Sleep Of No Dreaming (5:18)
  8. Moonloop (11:40)

Disc Two

  1. Up The Downstair (7:40)
  2. The Moon Touches Your Shoulder (5:05)
  3. Always Never (5:41)
  4. IS... NOT (6:09)
  5. Radioactive Toy (13:32)
  6. Not Beautiful Anymore (9:43)

ReviewEdit

A live album from shortly after Signify was released, Coma Divine displays Porcupine Tree at the height of their psychedelic powers. It's pretty much a best-of from 1989 to 1997 played live, and it goes to show that these guys could put on a hell of a live show. As you'd expect from their studio recordings, there's plenty of improvisation to be found on here, distinctly setting the live versions apart from their studio bretheren. Those who had a problem with Signify and The Sky Moves Sideways, and prefer the group's new direction on Stupid Dream and Lightbulb Sun may want to stear clear, but anybody who enjoyed the group's heavily Pink Floyd influenced psychedelia on their first four albums should have this in their collection as soon as possible.

All the staples from the first portion of the band's career can be found here. Opening the same way Signify began with "Bornlivedie", followed by the great rock jam "Signify", it's evident right away that the band is clicking, as they tear through it, Steven Wilson's lead guitar work almost going into overdrive. This is followed by both phases of "Waiting". Phase one, the accessible one, is very laid back on here and is performed very well, but on Phase Two, the group dwelves into the dark, spaced out insanity that made their early days so incredible. What surprised me about this track was drummer Chris Maitland. PT's drumming has never been an important part of their music, but Chris goes all out here, pouding away on his drum kit towards the end, and even upstaging Steven Wilson. "The Sky Moves Sideways" starts off sounding more or less the same as it did in studio (it sounded great in studio though, so I'm not complaining), but as the band moves into more improvisational territory in the second half, Wilson speeds things up and delivers some of the most feverish, frantic guitar work you'll ever hear from him. "Dislocated Day" and "Sleep of No Dreaming" are both given solid performances, but neither manage to really stand out. However, for about 26 minutes after those two tracks, the listener is treated to Porcupine Tree at their spaced out best. First off, we get nearly 12 minutes of "Moonloop", allowing for plenty of jamming, but also showing that the track's haunting ambience is just as effective live as in studio. Plus, the loud part near the end borders on magical, as the whole band freaks out as one explosive mechanism. "Radioactive Toy" is even more powerful, and also a bit more ambient live than in studio (which may have something to do with a full band performing it as opposed to just Steven Wilson). Sure enough, they do some jamming on here too, bringing the track length out to more than 15 minutes. "Not Beautiful Anymore" closes things out the way they started, with an uptempo rock jam sure to blow the listener's brains out.

What also has to be mentioned about Coma Divine is the outstanding sound quality. For a band in PT's financial situation at the time, I'm surprised they were able to get such a high quality recording. While I wouldn't quite consider it essential, this certainly needs to be in the collection of any serious Porcupine Tree fan.

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