Album Review: Storm Corrosion – Storm Corrosion
Every long-haired geek rocker’s dream has come true –and have joined forces! Well, kind of. ‘ ’ is a one-off album project consisting of six tracks created by Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson and Opeth frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt. They have stated that the chances of touring the project are minimal and the chances of a second album are equally low.
Good thing they’ve made the most of it over these six tracks then. If you’re a fan of either of band, you know that six songs doesn’t necessarily a short album – and you’d be right. At just under 50 minutes long, ‘Storm Corrosion’ is a spiritual sequel to both Opeth’s ‘’ and Wilson’s ‘ .’ This means that the aggression seen at times from both members’ bands is missing, opting to give this release a much more atmospheric and prog-rock feel.
Given that both men are guitarists in their day-job bands, one of the more noteable things about this album is its lack of percussion. It is there, somewhere, subtle little tambourine shakes, light cymbal taps, but there is nothing on the scale of either Porcupine Tree or Opeth. The rhythm rests upon the synths created by Wilson on his keyboard arrangements, which are delicately surrounded by Åkerfeldt’s clean guitar tones.
While there are large spaces of musical meandering and experimentation, both men have their voices heard throughout the album. On opener ‘Drag Ropes’ Wilson repeats “And the truth can now be told on manifold” as Åkerfeldt again surrounds the repeated line with harmonies and ominous vocal tones. The two clearly work best when working together, as the musical passage that follows this is full of strings and piano keys which seems to be the brainchild of Wilson alone.
The title track sees Åkerfeldt’s guitar-work shine as his acoustic arrangement is complimented by a Floyd-esque solo which heralds in Wilson’s haunting vocals. Again, the lack of percussion is a benefit to the overall feel of the album – it is a wide open space, creating soundscapes made up by two guys taking control of the instruments they feel most comfortable with.
There is still an essence of the Opeth unpredictability here and there. As the title track progresses (it’s a long one), Wilson’s strings build to an increasingly white noise-like crescendo as the acoustics supplied by Åkerfeldt return, only to overlap and become disjointed until one cancels out the other. Each songs has these little unique passages that standout and stay with you as the album continues on its journey.
The album wanders where it feels it has to go, guided by its two masters. It is both epic and intimate, ambient and noisy, and the influence from both men is written all over ‘Storm Corrosion.’ Fans of Opeth who are missing their brutality of late won’t find any solace here, but everyone else will find an album that is oddly accessible for its structure and very rewarding.
Rating – 8