Ten years after their auspicious 1992 debut, On the Sunday of Life (for U.K.

Ten years after their auspicious 1992 debut, On the Sunday of Life (for U.K. indie Delerium Records), Britain's post-prog-rock progenitors Porcupine Tree is poised to break the U.S. with its much-anticipated major-label debut. Fronted by singer/songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist Steven Wilson, the quintet (which also includes ex-Japan keyboardist Richard Barbieri) has amassed a devout cult following on the strength of its mesmerizing live shows and extensive back-catalog. With In Absentia, the group delivers a jarring tour-de-force, replete with strong songs, cryptic lyrical musings, virtuoso musicianship, and lush orchestration (that lies somewhere among Radiohead, King Crimson, and Metallica). Highlights include lead single "Strip the Soul," industry-bashing anthem "Sound of Muzak," and the sublime "Lips of Ashes." With an opening slot secured on Yes' upcoming U.S. tour, steady rotation on MTV2, and a headlining tour to follow, Porcupine Tree is poised to become the next big thing you've almost never heard of.—CR