Storm Corrosion – Storm Corrosion
So, here’s something that prog-heads have been waiting oh-too-many years for. After years of hints and pseudo collaborations, we finally have an album equally crafted between Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson and Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt. Originally, the project had been set to feature Mike Portnoy, until the two explained that the project really didn’t have room for drums, dismissing Portnoy from the project. Of course, by the time the album had been recorded, it would feature the masterful drum stylings of Mr. Gavin Harrison, but I can think of a lot worse lies I’d tell to get Gavin Harrison on an album over Portnoy.
What does Storm Corrosion have to offer then? For those who remember my review of Steven Wilson’s Grace For Drowning, I positively swooned over the new musical direction. But for all the dreamy jazz influence of GFD, Akerfeldt brings in a nightmarish level of horror. The album is rich with unsettling vocal harmonies from Wilson and Akerfeldt, creeping string sections, and I-am-seriously-running-out-of-good-synonyms-for-evil synth effects. The biggest weakness of this album for me is that if I listen to it 4-5 times a day like I’d want to, I end the day rather depressed, because it’s just that gloomy of an album. I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to call it revolutionary, but it is certainly close to earth-shattering for the current world of prog in a way that nobody will notice until that gaping hole to the underworld has already gripped hold of your legs. As far as songs go, there are 6 of them, “Drag Ropes” was the debut video, “Lock Howl” features no vocals, and “Happy” features vocals, but they’re so ethereal that they simply drop into the background. The album’s closer “Ljudet Innan” was perhaps the weakest song for me, or at least the least accessible. There’s a self-titled track in there too, and somewhere between 2/3rds and 3/4ths of the way through the song there is a transition that is downright jawdropping. You’ll know what I mean.
There are no screams from Akerfeldt, nor anything close to harsh vocals. In fact, there aren’t even distorted guitars. This might come as a disappointment to a section of the Opeth fanbase, but for the legions calling for another Deliverance, I foresee further disappointment in the years to come. As for Porcupine Tree fans, again, this is a radical departure from the metal of the previous 4 Porcupine Tree releases, but for those of us dutifully following Mr. Wilson’s career, the shift in style was a forgone conclusion. Though Wilson seems quite engrossed in his solo career, Opeth is, I imagine, still pulling in good money for Akerfeldt. However, such a collaboration is too natural for a once off, and I believe that if these two really put their heads together and pushed this style forward and expanded it, Storm Corrosion could go down as among the greatest collaborations in progressive rock history. Between these three musicians (as I am a strong believer in Gavin Harrison’s drumming), the results are predictably amazing.
Dagg’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5