Storm Corrosion review by Storm Corrosion

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  • Released: May 8, 2012
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (37 votes)
Storm Corrosion: Storm Corrosion
1

Sound — 9
The final chapter in the proposed trilogy of albums by musical masterminds Mikael Akerfeldt & Steven Wilson, rounded out by Opeth's "Heritage" & "Grace For Drowning" respectively, "Storm Corrosion" delivers and then some. Apparently conceived one night at Wilson's England home over glasses of wine, "Storm Corrosion" is both a startling listen & a revelation. Like both "Heritage" & "Grace For Drowning" did for both artist's respective fan bases, it is sure to divide many, for it's unique blend of progressive, folk & even avant-garde influences aren't for everyone. However, through it's grand vision & almost cinematic scope ("Storm Corrosion" wouldn't sound out of place on the soundtrack to a similarly eclectic film), it is sure to capture the imaginations of those willing to embrace and embark upon it's wholly uncompromising journey of musical & artistic exploration. According to interviews conducted with both Akerfeldt & Wilson, "Storm Corrosion" was a complete 50/50 effort in terms of songwriting, although upon first listen it is easier to discern the influence of Steven Wilson on the albums sound & arrangement than it is Mikael Akerfeldt's. This however is not to say that Mikael's unique style and influence cannot be felt, as he contributes strongly to the albums overall sound with his fantastic acoustic & lead playing. Aside from the pair of Wilson & Akerfeldt, Porcupine Tree & current King Crimson drummer/percussionist Gavin Harrison provides all the drum work and percussion to be found on the album. However seldom (his percussion is only featuring prominently on a couple of the album's 6 tracks), his expertise is used to great effect, none more so than on 3rd track "Hag". Another thing to notice whilst listening to "Storm Corrosion", notably in the album's opening track "Drag Ropes", is the depth & majesty of the orchestration, at various points giving the music a tense, brooding atmosphere, in others one of stark beauty. Though it relies more heavily on acoustic guitars, piano, moody atmospherics & strings than it does on the crash of drums & electric guitars, a metal aesthetic permeates itself throughout the album, occasionally manifesting itself in the form of trippy guitar lines ("Drag Ropes") & atmospheric textures ("Hag") almost frightening in their intensity, reminding listeners that both artists were once at the cutting edge of progressive metal in their respective bands. Nevertheless, these moments are kept to a minimum throughout the album, only briefly offsetting the gentle beauty that is much of "Storm Corrosion".

Lyrics — 7
Perhaps surprisingly, Opeth mainman & vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt only sings lead on two of "Storm Corrosion"'s six tracks (one of which a stunning showcase of his stunning falsetto, a technique he first used to great effect on "Heritage"), elsewhere providing background harmonies to complement Steven Wilson's grandiose intertwining vocal arrangements (perhaps best showcased at around the halfway mark of opener "Drag Ropes", as well as featuring a Steven Wilson melody so infectious it won't leave your head for days). Wilson, himself a well accomplished vocalist, performs lead on the album's 4 other tracks (as well as providing harmonies for the two others), and sings in great voice & confidence throughout. Ultimately, it is the contrast between the pair's unique voices & phrasing that gives Storm Corrosion it's identity as a true "supergroup", however unfitting the term is in respect to the sound of the album as a whole. Lyrically, Storm Corrosion deals with deep & dark subject matter, much like on both artists recent work. Typical of both songwriters, all lyrics are of a high standard & are sure to spark plenty of discussion as to their explicit meaning.

Overall Impression — 9
Expectations within the metal & progressive communities ran high for the release of "Storm Corrosion", and as it turns out, it is either a love or hate album as many were predicting. Fans of musical exploration & the recent work of both artists are sure to find much to love, but fans that found Opeth's "Heritage" a challenge will likely find "Storm Corrosion" not to their taste. Wherever you stand, it is hard to deny that with "Storm Corrosion" Mikael Akerfeldt & Steven Wilson have created something truly unique & wholly their own, an uncompromising accomplishment even by their standards.

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22 comments sorted by best / new / date

    EpiExplorer
    Very beautiful album, and the music video for Drag Ropes is brilliantly done.
    Raven_Flight
    Wilson, himself a well accomplished vocalist, performs lead on the albums 4 other tracks
    Don't forget "Lock Howl" is instrumental But yeah, I found weird that Mikael is not as present as Wilson on leads. I liked the album, nothing outstanding but a interesting listen with good replay value at least for me. Also really good review, a lot better than this site usually provides.
    MetalMullet
    I understand your "either love or hate" theory regarding the album within the respective artists fanbase, but I have to admit that personally I'm somewhere inbetween. I'm definitely not hating it, but not really my cup of tea either. Either way, you can't deny the perfection and the beauty of the album.
    JMZ08
    Agreed. Quite possibly something ahead of its time, but still fantastic.
    Noverion
    I absolutely love Drag Ropes and Storm Corrosion, and Hag and Happy are interesting, but I the last two songs somewhat dragged on. There is something hauntingly beautiful about a lot of the album, but a lot of it feels excessive. I can't help but admire what these guys have tried to do but I was unfortunately left disappointed in the end. I'll keep listening to it, but i'm not sure if Lock Howl and *insert crazy name here* will ever truly gel with me. I'd give it a 6 or 7/10
    edgeyyz
    It's really grown on me, a great album all the way through for me.
    Mahoru
    Brilliant album! I've been listening to it almost non-stop since I got it last Friday! The only thing I'm missing is more vocals from Mikael, but otherwise it's perfect.
    iommi600
    Hm... I'll check this out right now. The modern progressive rock scene is having a blast.
    ARMAGEDDON_IT
    Raven_Flight wrote: Wilson, himself a well accomplished vocalist, performs lead on the albums 4 other tracks Don't forget "Lock Howl" is instrumental But yeah, I found weird that Mikael is not as present as Wilson on leads. I liked the album, nothing outstanding but a interesting listen with good replay value at least for me. Also really good review, a lot better than this site usually provides.
    Thanks for the kind words! Yeah I should've corrected that haha, don't know how I let that one slip actually.
    Fendergod666
    How did lyrics get a 7? Did you not read into them enough?. I give the album a 10 easily.
    Deliriumbassist
    ARMAGEDDON_IT wrote: I really can't wait to get the deluxe edition of this, 5.1 mix should be stunning!
    It is.
    Kelvin Footlamb
    This album is just fantastic, but takes a few plays to get into.I notice that elsewhere this album is compared to Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden. Even Stephen Wilson and Michael Akerfeldt mention it. For those yet to discover Spirit of Eden, don't be put off by Talk Talk's earlier pop stuff, the change they made in their sound must be the most radical one in musical history, and if you like Storm Corrosion then try Spirit of Eden.
    Mahoru
    ibanart300 wrote: Great review, but I wouldn't really class this as "Progressive Rock" or "Phsychedelic Rock". I feel this is different again, it feels almost Operatic in nature and influenced by jazz. The music is very well written and feels like each track is telling a story.
    Of course, this isn't exactly prog rock. It does have many prog elements indeed, but there's also a lot of folk and mostly ambient stuff thrown in there. I have to say that the more I listen to it, the more I realize how big the Comus' influence is for Mikael. It's always been clear, but here it's more in the front than ever, and that's great!
    madman4q2
    I find this album to be closer related to Grace for Drowning than Heritage. It sounded to me like Jordan Rudess had at least some influence on G.f.D.in his part on the album. Does anyone know if he had anything to do with Storm Corrosion
    ibanart300
    Great review, but I wouldn't really class this as "Progressive Rock" or "Phsychedelic Rock". I feel this is different again, it feels almost Operatic in nature and influenced by jazz. The music is very well written and feels like each track is telling a story.
    ManInTheBox14
    I really wish Mikael sang more leads on here, with just more complements from Wilson (that section from "Drag Ropes" is fantastic). Although some of the middle tracks kinda bored me, I loved the darkness of "Drag Ropes" and the almost world music vibe on "Ljudet Innan." I'd probably give this a 7.5 or 8 out of 10.
    SISO
    Listening to it right now. I liked Heritage and I'm digging this one so far too.