ABOUT IN ABSENTIA
In Absentia is the seventh studio album by Porcupine Tree, first released on 24 September 2002. The album marked several changes for the band, with it being the first with new drummer Gavin Harrison and the first to move into a more heavy metal and progressive metal direction, contrary to past albums’ psychedelic and pop rock sounds.
While not a formal concept album, many of the songs still have common themes related to serial killers, youthful innocence gone wrong, and criticisms of the modern world. The album’s title is also tied into this, with the phrase being Latin for “in absence” or “in one’s absence”, often in reference to a person’s rights when mentally unable to be represented in court in legal situations. Wilson said of the title:
“It comes from… It’s related to some of the lyrics. It’s about people on the fringes, on the edges of humanity and society. I have an interest in serial killers, child molesters, and wife beaters… Not in what they did, but in the psychology of why. What caused them to become unhinged and twisted? Why are they unable to empathise? It’s sort of a metaphor – there’s something missing, a black hole, a cancer in their soul. It’s an absence in the soul.”