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Storm Corrosion – Storm Corrosion – Album Review

Storm Corrosion – Storm Corrosion – Album Review
Website: http://stormcorrosion.com/
Fans Of: Steven Wilson, Ulver,
Label: Roadrunner Records
Download This: Storm Corrosion
Genre(s): Progressive, Ambient, Folk
Release Date: 07/05/12

Sometimes, very rarely for me these days, along comes an album that really blows you away. Properly knocks your socks off. An album so good, you can only talk about it in clichés. Then, to make things even better, a promise of a rather exciting new collaboration from said sock knocker-offer brings even more uncontainable excitement to the musical world. Imagine that! Fortunately, there is no need for us to use our little grey cells: Steven Wilson, music’s busiest man, and Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt, have created Storm Corrosion; the album of the band that conveniently shares the same name. Their baby of many years has finally been unleashed upon the world.

Here’s that elephant in the room shaped like a big ‘but’; the trouble with collaborations is the expectation. Wilson himself admits the album is in fact not going to be what the masses were expecting, describing it as the ‘opposite of metal’ because I think a lot of people might have assumed from the two people involved that this would be some kind of progressive / metal thing’. I’ll readily admit that the album wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but I should know by now that you should never assume when Mr Wilson’s involved.

There are moments almost reminiscent, to my rather obviously unsophisticated ear, of The Beach Boys’, and sometimes Simon and Garfunkel’s, harmonies. Yet it still doesn’t sound like anything like those bands, or much like anything else I’ve heard before. It’s strangely hypnotic, but I often can’t make out the lyrics. Being drawn into something which I can’t actually access or comprehend leaves me feeling unsatisfied with the listening experience.

There are elements of beauty littered throughout the album. The instrumentation, particularly at the start of the title track sent shivers down the spine; there’s something heart wrenching about the guitar solo and the flute opening is incredibly haunting. Then, unfortunately, I disengage for a while until the comparatively pacier ‘Lock Howl’ kicks in, where my ears now have some work to do to keep up with what’s going on.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy some of the slower moments. Some of the eerier phrases left me with goosebumps. I’m still always amazed that music has the power to have such an effect on a person, to tell a story and create that level of unease that is only played out in the mind of that one listener.

What we have with Storm Corrosion is something much more cinematic, something grander than the Opeth/ Porcupine Tree that fans may be expecting. The heavy guitars and drums have bowed out, to be replaced by choicier instruments, offering different flourishes and effects to the sounds the bands normally produce.

There’s an element of ‘this is very, very not for you’ surrounding Storm Corrosion, because I apparently don’t ‘get’ it. This makes me sad; music should be accessible, it shouldn’t distance itself from people because they don’t know what’s happening in the minds of the writers. The musical snobbery expressed by Åkerfeldt (a lacking of ‘deeper understanding’) has heavily influenced my score, because that’s not what music should be about.

Now I know you care about these sorts of things. Did my socks make an escape? No, they’re still firmly on my feet. Whilst the album is full of musical brilliance, and you’d expect nothing less from Steven Wilson, to me it sounds like it is just fulfilling a creative wish. There’s a definite story being told that I just can’t make out and there’s nothing about the album that makes me want to try to discover it. Yes, it’s a grand piece of work, yes there are moments of true brilliance, but it’s not allowing me in and to be honest, I’m happy enough on the outside.

Track Listing

1. Drag Ropes 9:52
2. Storm Corrosion 10:12
3. Hag 6:28
4. Happy 4:53
5. Lock Howl 6:09
6. Ljudet Innan 10:20