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Storm Corrosion biography
Mikael ÅKERFELDT of OPETH and Steven WILSON of PORCUPINE TREE have collaborated before, but STORM CORROSION is the product of their combined creativity. The music of the debut is ambient avant-folk with elements of jazz and symphonic music, and therefore rather different than the styles the duo have explored with their respective bands. WILSON concentrated on keyboards and arrangements, leaving ÅKERFELDT to handle most of the guitar work. What sparse drumming appears on the album is there courtesy of Gavin HARRISON. STORM CORROSION is signed to Roadrunner Records.

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3.79 | 453 ratings
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 Storm Corrosion by STORM CORROSION album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 453 ratings

Storm Corrosion
Storm Corrosion Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars What do you expect when two super-heroes of progressive rock get together? You can expect something completely different than what you first expected. At that is what you get with the band STORM CORROSION, headed by the combined talents of Mikael ÅKERFELDT from OPETH providing guitar work and Steve WILSON of PORCUPINE TREE, BLACKFIELD, NO-MAN, BASS COMMUNION, and many others, not to mention his amazing solo work, in charge of keyboards and arrangements. Both musicians with their combined work cover quite a variety of styles from Extreme Metal to Electronica and everything in between. However, in both of their careers, they have never ventured into this style of avant-folk which has jazz and symphonic leanings like this project does. Again, with both of their musical resumes, you can expect excellent musicianship and production, and that is what you get.

Upon hearing about this project involving this pairing, many fans were ecstatic. The two musicians have worked together before, but this is the first time they worked so up front on a full collaborative album. STORM CORROSION's debut, self-titled album is the only one released under this projects name to date (2019) and it was released in 2012, so whether there is another on the horizon is still to be seen. However, many fans were not expecting this sound, and since a big majority of those fans come from the metal communities, they were mostly turned off by it. That wasn't the purpose of this collaboration as the musicans were looking for a new outlet for a different style of music.

Those that didn't expect this style of music were disoriented by the more experimental sound, but fans of Wilson know that he often takes you down paths you never expect, and this is the reason why many of his projects don't always see the spillover from other projects, or the people that do usually get disappointed by the different avenues he takes, moving from ambient to dance music with ease. However, this wasn't all just figured out by Wilson because the aritsts have said this was a 50/50 effort, and neither one of them had any real idea how this would all sound when it was finished. Wilson has said that if you make music only to please other people, then you become an entertainer, not an aritst.

This album is mostly all performed by both Steven WILSON and Mikael ÅKERFELDT, except for drums (which are mostly quite sparse) from fellow PORCUPINE TREE percussionist Gavin Harrison, woodwinds from Ben CASTLE, and strings from the LONDON SESSION ORCHESTRA. The album is made up of 6 tracks and has a run time of over 47 minutes.

"Drag Ropes" (9:52) starts off the album with what you can expect. Mikael keeps his vocals clean and the music is fairly sparse, not what you would expect from the beginning. The harmonies and vocal loops are excellent and so is the musicianship, the excellent guitar work by Mikael really holds it all together while Wilson's use of electronics and keyboards add that mysterious edge to the entire track. All of this together with the minimal percussion and lovely strings turn this into a voyage of beauty and texture all aided by piano flourishes and guitar work. It all melds together wonderfully, their sometimes contrasting melodic vocal lines meshing together to create that underlying feeling of unease through it all. Both musicians share the thought that music doesn't have to be loud to be dark and evil, and this music proves that.

"Storm Corrosion" (10:12) begins even sparser than ever with echoing woodwinds which eventually get joined by acoustic guitar. Wilson's vocals are front and center this time, his soft singing bringing more texture to this otherwise ambient beginning. The music is pensive, even when the strings add in their layers, then a soft electric guitar comes in providing even more beauty to this lovely piece. Light percussion adds a bit of tension to the track, which intensifies a bit at the middle of the track, adding soft keys and a dark undertone from Wilson's electronics, and distorted dissonant guitar which remains soft, but very dark from Akerfeldt. Layers slowly build, reminding the listener of Bass Communion for a while, until the contrasting acoustic guitar comes in and the layers glitch out just before vocals begin again and we return to the main melody with strings and woodwinds joining in again, but all the while, remaining mostly minimal.

"Hag" (6:28) continues with the minimal and pensive sound, this time a bit less melodic at first until the hesitant vocals come in, but sounding even more ambient than the previous track. Then layers of synth and guitar come in building slightly in intensity. This track is even darker sounding than the last one, with an obvious minor mode. The pagen folk sound is what remains to the fore on this track, the melody changes a bit, yet it all stays soft and ambient while Wilson sings with only piano, but later, guitar and synth layers build again while a slight jazz edge comes into play. After 4 minutes, the music suddenly become heavy and dark while guitar and piano pump out heavy chords and percussion goes suddenly wild. After a minute, this all calms again and deep piano and woodwinds play together. The ambient and dark melody returns when the vocals come back returning us to the pensive feel of the beginning.

"Happy" (4:53) begins with simple soft guitar and unsettling harmony in the pensive vocals. At two minute, the ambient level is heightened as effects show through, then more soft guitar and far away harmonized singing. The track is soft, dark and delicate, feeling like any distraction will just tear it all apart, even when the soft electric guitar comes in. Some of Wilson's experimental electronic work bring it softly to an end. "Lock Howl" (6:09) starts with a soft drone, then a low pulsing bass is played upon by a soft guitar passage that builds with the addition of soft percussion. Intensity builds with the strings and synths adding layers. Sharp metallic tones play in the background, then the music suddenly goes quiet, and then suddenly erupts in a very dark synth-laden texture with fast percussive sounds, then at minutes, it all quiets down to dissonant synth drones. The churning lower sound returns and keys and guitar play the melody, percussion comes in again bringing it all back to life. This is a nice instrumental with more dark undertones and also lush textures throughout.

The last track is "Ljudet Innan" (10:20). Keys and vocals echo softly as Mikael sings in a higher, almost chanting register that we haven't heard from him much, soft and vulnerable. This ends in almost silence until layers of synths build slowly in volume. This is a taste of beautiful, melodic ambience that endures for a few minutes. Guitar chords chime and echo in the forefront after a while and spacey effects swirl around it all. A soft march-like beat comes from soft drumming while a repeating chord plays, then some nice solo guitar work from Mikael improvises over the ambient layers. At 6 minutes, more vocals come in, now Wilson sounding almost like Jon Anderson as the same minimal music continues in the back ground. More guitar work follows closing off this lovely and ambient piece and ending the album.

So, this wasn't really what most people were expecting, a very quiet and thoughtful album with only a few louder passages, otherwise, it is a very immersive experience that people were not expecting. I think the album is quite beautiful, and I love the avant folk, ambient feeling of it, that retains a feeling of unease underneath most of the tracks, yet just draws you in with its simplistic, yet sometimes complex layers of beauty, dissonance, and quietness. Both artists have done better, but yet this is still an excellent album, totally unexpected, yet beautifully dark and expressive. Definitely, this is an example of two amazing artists who weren't afraid to express themselves in ways that many of their fans weren't expecting, and if people could put behind any expectations or prejudices about their music, I think more people would be appreciative of it.

 Storm Corrosion by STORM CORROSION album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 453 ratings

Storm Corrosion
Storm Corrosion Eclectic Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For fans of modern prog, a feature-length collaboration between Mikael Åkerfeldt and Steven Wilson seems like a dream come true. Each has been a mainstay of the metal/art/prog rock scene for more than a decade. Between them there are literally dozens of exemplary music to enjoy. As a fan, it's not so much a question as to whether or not it will be appealing, but rather: what the heck will the album sound like? Åkerfeldt and Wilson are very eclectic, especially in there more recent offerings, though each musician's reputation for creating dark pieces is probably a safe bet on the tone that Storm Corrosion will take.

And dark it is; and hauntingly beautiful, and cryptic, and subtle, restrained, and provocative. Storm Corrosion will turn off many listeners because of its torpid, structure less nature and fragile tones that seem to make no pretense towards hooks or memorability. Instead, Åkerfeldt and Wilson let the careful listener revel in emotional soundscapes that drift by melodically, usually acoustically, and always with more than a hint of menace.

The opening is a haunting blend of keyboards and vocal textures, telling the tale of a hangman bidding farewell to his victim. It's a challenging opener with a lot going on; it's also one of the few tracks that resemble a "normal" song, in the sense that it seems more present than the songs that follow. Here we're given many acoustic and electric guitar textures and counter rhythms, yes somewhat Crimson-esque, though distinctly more relaxed and sinister. The vocal interplay between Åkerfeldt and Wilson is also reminiscent of Gentle Giant, though again, much more evil than you may expect.

The title track is a gorgeous. Soft guitar strumming, flute tones, and Wilson's evocative singing. This was the first moment in the album that the lyrics really grabbed me. Check this out: "In his silence the storm corrodes. Passed on the second hand slips outwards. Born in the curve the song drips endless." Beautiful and strange and poetic. The song takes a serious shift halfway through, transforming into a hellish experimentation of dissonant chords. Normal listeners will probably turn off the album at this point... it just made me want to listen more.

"Hag" is a somber and threatening song carried by mellotron and bottom-heavy riffing. It sounds close to Opeth's recent releases (which is a very good thing), "Happy" follows up in much the same manner. We're given an upbeat and tension-filled instrumental with "Lock Howl," which builds nicely and makes a fitting climax to the album.

The closer, "Ljudet Innan" is a slow-paced, tender song that lets the listener drift off to subtle tones and chords that throbs to a meditative conclusion.

Overall, I enjoyed Storm Corrosion quite a bit. It took several listens to get there, and only with headphones and a quite space could I really hear what Åkerfeldt and Wilson are striving for here. It's not a knock-out, but it is a beautiful and perilous experiment that gives these two musicians a chance to show us something new to enjoy, though it is very much informed by they're individual tendency towards dark and emotional music.

Highly recommended for fans of theirs, but also for listeners interested in something soft and subtle and highly artistic, though also with an edge of nightmare. In the end, it's neither the song nor the playing that I walked away enjoying the most, but rather the experience.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 4 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

 Storm Corrosion by STORM CORROSION album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 453 ratings

Storm Corrosion
Storm Corrosion Eclectic Prog

Review by LakeGlade12

4 stars 4.3 Stars. The beauty of a distant storm

Storm Corrosion is the debut release where Seven Wilson and Mikael Åkerfeldt contribute equally in one recording. Released over 10 years after the highly acclaimed Blackwater Park (the first time SW contributed to a Opeth album), its surprising how long it would take them to produce a joint effort. However instead of producing some sort of PT/Opeth Prog metal monster they deliberately chose to surprise everyone with a very atmospheric album.

There was a lot of hype around this album (mainly from their record company) with them claiming they had created some sort of new genre of music. I definitely wouldn't go that far, but I would say that the first 4 songs are quite original and fairly difficult to pin down in terms of direct influences. Fortunately the name of the band/album does very well in describing the music. Most of the songs are dark and rich with tension and threat, like that of a distant thunderstorm that could cause some serious damage. But the storm mostly misses you and so all of this suspense never materialises into anything. Corrosion is also an excellent adjective as this music is not for those who want a quick frill. If you give this album the time it deserves it will leave a lasting impression on you.

The album starts with "Drag Ropes" which is definitely one of the highlights of the album. There is a excellent music video of this online which is well worth checking out. If this song isn't your cup of tea, then neither is the rest of the album. The song starts slowly with lots of tense atmosphere and depressing lyrics from Mikael. The lyrics give way to a slow instrumental that focuses on fine details that adds to the overall atmosphere. The mood is suddenly broken with a repetitive vocal harmony from SW and MA and an increase in energy. But the threat dies do and the song moves into a very delicate and moving instrumental (one of my favourite parts of the album). The song finishes in a similar way to how it started to in order to bring about proper closure.

The first 5 min of "Storm Corrosion" are very similar to that of "Deform to Form a Star" from SW's "Grace for Drowning", except it is even more delicate and atmospheric. This is probably the most accessible and easy to enjoy part of the album and anyone who is used to SW's ballad side will know what to expect. The second part however is full to the point of bursting with of eerie sound effects. Its what you would expect in a horror film just before the monster appears and things get gory. However like with Drag Ropes the tension vanishes and the song becomes relatively peaceful again.

"Hag" is another tense song, but unlike the previous two there aren't many beautiful elements added in. This is not to say that this song lacks the fine detail of the other songs, its just that everything in the song is aimed to build dread (e.g. creepy laughter in the background). This is also the only song where the suspense actually turns into something that could be classified as metal. In the middle of the song there are some sharp electric guitars and some frenzied drumming from Gavin Harrison. But this is short lived and the song finishes with more sinister lyrics and atmosphere.

"Happy" is the most depressing song on the album (what would you except from SW and MA!) and it is probably the weakest. It suffers from the strength of the last 3 songs and doesn't make a impression (even after many listens). Its not as atmospheric as Drag Ropes, not as tense as Hag and nowhere near as beautiful as Storm Corrosion. Its a mixture of the last three songs in style but doesn't have a unique selling point.

Up until this point the album was quite original, but "Lock Howl" can be described as a standard King Crimson styled instrumental without the bite. It would fit very nicely into Opeth's Heritage. Its not a bad song, but there is nothing special about it.

"Ljudet Innan" is the only song here that is completely lacking in tension, its just 10 min of Talk Talk inspired peace and tranquillity. The song starts with a falsetto from MA (didn't know he could do that!) and gentle atmosphere. This gives way to several minutes of pulsing ambience which could be used for meditation. A slow and repetitive piano tune appears with SW's vocals showing up and disappearing several times. A relaxing yet engaging instrumental closes the album with distant crying vocals from Wilson. The song may not be original but it is still of a high quality and another highlight.

The 3 longer songs don't disappoint and are 5 star material IMO. Hag is also strong, but tracks 4 and 5 are nothing special. So I'm happy to give this 4 strong stars. This type of music is not for everyone (many a PT and Opeth fan won't like this) and it certainty is not accessible. But if you can get into the dark world SW and MA have created then you shouldn't be disappointed. So watch that Drag Ropes video and decide if this is for you!

 Storm Corrosion by STORM CORROSION album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 453 ratings

Storm Corrosion
Storm Corrosion Eclectic Prog

Review by Timdano

4 stars A fascinating, beautiful, incredibly complex and simultaneously subtle album from two of modern day prog's Founding Fathers. I've had this one spinning for over a year now and still discover nuance and genius gems hidden in the multiple layers of style - you'll hear it all here - ambient, folk, avante-garde. And at the same time, the album also defies description and genre. The first half is more minimalist; the second half jazzier.

I do sense quite a bit of inspiration from one of my favorite albums of all time - Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden; though that doesn't mean in any sense that Wilson and Akerfelt have pulled off anything of imitation. My favorites here are the beautiful album title-inspired "Storm Corrosion" and the closing haunting mini-epic (where we are introduced to Akerfelt's falsetto), "Ljudet Innan".

An open mind and insatiable appetite for aural discovery are absolute required admission for entrance into this unique listening experience - if this album doesn't elicit a myriad of emotional response from you, the listener, then prog is just not for you.

Four solid stars.

 Storm Corrosion by STORM CORROSION album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 453 ratings

Storm Corrosion
Storm Corrosion Eclectic Prog

Review by Memo_anathemo

3 stars To tell you the truth, I expected much more of this album. Especially when I heard the first track "Drag Ropes", which is by far the best track of the album. After that, all the songs remain practically the same, with quiet playing, drumming nuances, some soft voices by Wilson, guitar figures, some kind-of-Ummagumma noises, etc. Knowing Wilson and Akerfeldt past, I was waiting for an album different to Porcupine Tree and Opeth, something far but ... I think they went too far and did not want to exploit all their potential! If they work together in another album, I hope they make a complete album similar to Drag Ropes.
 Storm Corrosion by STORM CORROSION album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 453 ratings

Storm Corrosion
Storm Corrosion Eclectic Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Storm Corrosion" is the self-titled debut full-length studio album by UK/Swedish progressive rock act Storm Corrosion. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in May 2012. Storm Corrosion is project featuring Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree...among others) and Mikael Åkerfelt of Opeth. Two household names on today´s progressive rock and metal scene. They´ve long spoken of creating something together and apparently they found time in their incredibly busy scedules to get together to write and record this album. Well it´s been under way for a while, as the two musicians actually already starting writing material for the album in 2010.

It´s hard to know what to expect when two such prolific musicians and incredibly creative people put their heads together, but after listening to "Storm Corrosion", I think the pieces come together in a way, that leaves no doubt who are behind the project. There´s nothing remotely resembling metal on the album, but Mikael Åkerfelt´s presence and touch are still felt. The music is however closer in style to some of Steven Wilson´s more atmospheric and ambient projects, but with a folky acoustic guitar often popping up. There are few sections with percussion and even fewer with "real" drums (played by Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree). Mellotron and the above mentioned acoustic guitar are the prominent instruments on the album (and other analogue sounding keyboards). And of course vocals, which are predominantly delivered by Steven Wilson.

The sound production is warm, organic and detailed. As professional as you would expect when we´re dealing with these two guys.

The songwriting however is a bit patchy. Sometimes the different sections that are put together to form the tracks work well, but sometimes it does seem a bit forced. Like the two guys have been writing ideas on their own, and only put them together when they met up to record the album. I suspect I´m right at least some of the way. If you take into account under which circumstances the album was probably created, it´s still a really great and nicely atmospheric progressive rock album, definitely worth a listen now an again. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is fully deserved.

 Storm Corrosion by STORM CORROSION album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 453 ratings

Storm Corrosion
Storm Corrosion Eclectic Prog

Review by stewe

5 stars It is quite strange, that innovative music as this, from such household names prog, is not even at the top 100 of year 2012. Transcendent, oscillating from minimalist to bizarre, from occultist and ominous to ambient and serene... Steve Wilson and Mikael Akerfeldt have prepared mix of their extraordinary talents in a very unique way. Expect unexpected from both actors here, which is quite hard to imagine after they both done so far.

Albums starts with Dark Ropes which is full of grotesque depictions intertwined with bitter-sweet instrumental moments of anticipation which makes your heart pulsating in your throat. Wilson's voice sounds there like an evil witch, while Akerfeldt's is like judge bringing sinister conclusion. Utterly beautiful pastoral beginning of the title track is sensitively and slowly destructed, transformed to the scary dissonant tale, giving us light again with Akerfeldt's typical classical guitar licks. Wilson's psychopathic voice and romantic atmosphere recalling Hours of Wealth from Ghost Reveries end the track. Steady pulse of gloom and foggy perspectives with Wilson's isolated voice and piano of Hag turn into short mess which resembles Opeth's Heritage. Happy, where Wilson leads again, forming anxiety to which the light in the end in the tunnel is injected. Colors of hope implode into the space of grey swamps and taking us out of the maze. Wilson's Insurgentes's coldness meet Opeth's acoustic beauty.

Rush in the dark forest for survival - that is the vision which recalls me amazing instrumental ride Lock Howl. Nervous rhythm created by guitar strings leads the track among rich and wonderful melodic textures. Otherworldly closing piece Ljudet Innan starts with Akerfeldt's colossal high-pitched vocals unheard before. Darkness falls, sky parts away, stars shine, and you are engulfed into space, to the brightness of infinite scale of the Milky way. Guitars sounding like seagulls accompany you on the way. Pure tranquillity, serenity. Theme fluently progresses to a part recalling hangover and burn-out with Wilson handing over the lead voice. Final solo - majestic, but humble in the same time, lifts again heavenly atmosphere. It is one of the most touching moments of Akerfeldt on guitar ever. Nostalgic, sorrowful, but hopeful.

This album foments colourful imagery, so many various feelings. It's a true artistic achievement. Fresher and more emotionally disturbing than both previous efforts of Akerfeldt and Wilson (i.e. Heritage and Grace for Drowning). The top album of the year 2012 for me, outstripping great works such as Echolyn's latest eponymous album, Trevor Rabin's Jacaranda (which isn't even on PA) or Astra's Black Chord.

 Storm Corrosion by STORM CORROSION album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 453 ratings

Storm Corrosion
Storm Corrosion Eclectic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Storm Corrosion' - Storm Corrosion (7/10)

I can't think of too many albums that have inspired such anticipation in me. I mean, Wintersun's "Time" had been pretty big on the excitement, but even then, it felt like a remote dream before it actually met a release date this past October. When the collaboration between Steven Wilson, Mikael Akerfeldt and Mike Portnoy was introduced years back, it was like a dream come true. Even when Portnoy ducked out, it was still an immensely exciting prospect to hear two of my musical heroes come together in an equal partnership. Now that it's out, it's been getting a pretty mixed reception, and there's no wondering why. Even for fans of Porcupine Tree and Opeth, Storm Corrosion's challenging take on prog is more parts ambient than rock. Although this project's self-titled debut ranks among the most unique things I've heard in 2012, not all of Wilson/Akerfeldt's musical experiments are successful. In any case, it's exciting to hear two of progressive rock's most iconic modern figures combining their distinctive sounds. The result doesn't match up to the sum of its parts as we may have hoped, but "Storm Corrosion" showcases both musicians treading into territory they're not entirely comfortable with, and that makes it an essential listen for fans of either.

From the beginning, Storm Corrosion makes good on their promise that this album will be unlike what either artist had done before. For one, there is almost no presence of a metal or even rock sound. To an extent, "Storm Corrosion" is a progressive rock album that extracts and discards much of the rock rhythms and distortion you might hear even on the classic prog records. Like Van der Graaf Generator, Storm Corrosion largely eschews use of the electric guitar, instead favouring use of keyboards. An atmospheric strings section and subtle acoustic guitar work also play significant roles in Storm Corrosion's sound. Also notable is the conscious scarcity of percussion throughout the album. Although Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison is listed here, there's none of his signature precision and technical flair. Instead, what definitive rhythms that are offered here are extremely minimalistic. Harrison gets a few seconds to spread his wings and assault the kit towards the end of "Hag", but for the most part, Storm Corrosion makes music that upholds texture and timbre above all else.

For those familiar with both Wilson and Akerfeldt's work, it shouldn't take much detective work to figure out who wrote particular ideas. Each musician has a very particular and oft- imitated style, and both sounds are showcased in equal proportion on "Storm Corrosion". Although the string arrangements, melodies and overarching song structures bear the signature of Wilson, Akerfeldt's immediately distinctive acoustic fingerpicking is fresh from the Opeth brewing barrel. Storm Corrosion passes me as a cross between jazz fusion and the dissonance of 20th century neoclassical music. The production and sonic scope of the record is par for Wilson. Like just about everything else he's touched over the past ten years, 'Storm Corrosion' enjoys a vast soundscape that favours higher-end stereos. Although most of the album sticks within a fairly ambient range, the atmosphere is haunting and the arrangement is surprisingly deep. Particularly on the opener 'Drag Ropes' and epic title track, a great part of the joy comes from the textures Wilson and Akerfeldt choose to present the compositions. Unfortunately, although the title track of 'Storm Corrosion' is as beautifully written as anything in Porcupine Tree's catalogue, most of these tracks feel as if they could have used some adhesive. Perhaps it's intrinsic to the style they chose, but some focus and added dynamic could have made the Storm Corrosion project more interesting. As it is, the album's bound to leave a holistic impression, but there are few ideas here that really stand out.

Although I had hoped for a more natural mix of their two styles, Storm Corrosion's style is fresh and even unique. This isn't the ultimate progressive masterpiece that I reckon fans (including myself) were looking forward to, but there's no disappointment here. "Storm Corrosion" is a memorable, haunting ambient journey, taking both Wilson and Akerfeldt down a darker path than either has been before. It's great to accompany these two visionaries as they explore fresh territory with their music, but the mellow, film score-esque style should alienate a fair portion of each musician's fanbase. Storm Corrosion presents more depth and challenge to the sound that the band's ambient frame would suggest, and if you're able to look past the disappointment of its context as an artistic combination of two of progressive music's greatest forces, "Storm Corrosion" makes for a pleasant, albeit heady listen.

 Storm Corrosion by STORM CORROSION album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 453 ratings

Storm Corrosion
Storm Corrosion Eclectic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Expect the unexpected...

Storm Corrosion is the culmination of prog legends Mikael Akerfeldt on guitars and vocals, and of course Steven Wilson on keyboards and vocals. They are joined by Porcupine Tree's Gavin Harrison on drums, and most notably Ben Castle on woodwinds. The flute in particular really makes the album feel like a kind of avant folk journey. Most of the album is surprisingly ambient and serene, beautiful and dreamy. I expected at least some metal but Akerfeldt holds back and injects his blend of acoustics and soft vocals. A song like 'Storm Corrosion' perhaps would not belong on an Opeth, or Porcupine Tree, but here it is mesmirising and soaked in Mellotron as is most of the album. The album has a kind of pastoral psych feel and is acoustic to the max with acid folk nuances. It will take some time to get into for all these reasons, but I really thought it would have more to recommend it than just an organic minimalist acid folk approach. It is a totally unexpected gentle soundscape throughout and did not resonate with me.

There are some rather odd tracks here such as 'Drag Ropes' that even has some Gentle Giant harmonies a cappela style thrown in. The tracks are rather lengthy and complex, with 3 clocking around 10 minutes. The atmospheres are rather bleak at times such as on the 6 minute mark of the title track that is discordant. The ominous music is as dark as Wilson's latest solo "Grace For Drowning" or any number of Opeth albums. There is a sadness or melancholica to the album, though I am not sure of what the songs actually mean, nor does Akerfeldt apparently. I can guess they involve coping with loss or death, ghostly apparitions, or feeling empty due to tragic circumstances. None of it is uplifting but focusses on depression and the extreme end of disturbing emotions.

The feature in Issue 25, April 2012, Prog Magazine clarifies a few things. The album is described as "a sprawling, amorphous journey through fragile but foreboding soundscapes that takes in everything from elegiac acoustic folk and shimmering shadow shrouded psychedelia through to bursts of disorientating noise and scything swathes of diaphanous orchestral horror". Well after that outburst of poetic alliteration, the article settles down and we hear from the mouths of the protagonists themselves. Wilson says, "there's a lot of inspiration from ghost stories, and by that I mean quite classical, old ideas, like witchfinder generals and hauntings, and that's all in the music too." He goes on to state they were influenced by their muses Scott Walker, notably the grotesque "The Drift", Radiohead and Comus so little wonder this is disturbing and bleak. Akerfeldt states, "you really have to sit down and listen to it properly on your own" otherwise it "is going to pass like elevator muzak."

The music is designed to evoke an emotional response that a listener will personally elicit from their experience. 'Hag' is extemely quiet for most of it and sounds sad and ethereal in places. This is as quiet as I have heard from these two prog masters. The mellotron on this is very organic, swathes of ambience and a lonely piano accompany Wilson's high register soft delivery. This is one of the gentlest songs but still has ominous overtones due to the odd melody. I like the weird buzzing wasp synths at the end and distorted guitar with tortured manic percussion that really punches a hole in the silence. Harrison stated that, "I was thinking about a kind of Christian Vander vibe." It is a dark sound and grinds with some ghostly effects before it settles down with flute like the calm after a storm. The sound of canned laughter is derisive but effective too like voices in the head.

'Happy' follows, and I was hoping for some kind of rhythm to lock into after all the melancholy previously. It begins acoustically with Wilson's gentle longing vocals. It sounds anything but happy until we get to the more upbeat section at 2 and a half minutes in. The vocals are consistently soft, not a shred of growling here, and it tends to build into musical shapes that evoke melancholy feelings and ghostly weirdness abounds. This is extremely low key, with minimalism and gentle feather touches on instruments. The somnolent music feels like a half awake state, druggish and profoundly bleak.

'Lock Howl' continues the otherworldly atmosphere, and I love the acoustic rhythms on this in 6/3, definitely welcome after the last track. This has a cinematic feel and almost is like a soundtrack to some ghost story, purely beautiful but with dark overtones. The instrumental moves along lucidly with Mellotron and ominous bass, and the end feels like a classical music piece.

'Ljudet Innan', which is Swedish for 'ancient music', closes the album with a 10:20 mini epic, beginning with quiet atmospheres, and nice reverberating keyboard chimes. The very high register vocals are surprising, and it builds to shadowy dead silence. Gradually a sound emanates with spacey cosmic nuances and grows in volume, reminding me of the clandestine mysteries of "2001: A Space Odyssey". This is dreamscape ambience and is akin to Tangerine Dream in places. It breaks eventually into a gentle rhythm and gorgeous keyboard reverbs. Akerfeldt finally begins a delightful guitar solo but this almost sent me to sleep, it is so dreamy.

With these two colossal prog giants colliding I was expecting a masterful cataclysm of prog genius. I didn't get it. Instead we have a very ethereal gentle dark, at times downright depressing and disturbing, journey into a world that only Akerfeldt and Wilson could inhabit. This is almost lulling me to sleep, not that it is a bad album, but I was surprised at how melancholy it was and minimalist. I think this will surprise many listeners too, perhaps even disappoint. Don't expect a shred of metal, and don't expect the genius of Porcupine Tree, as it is not here. Instead this is a very personal journey, the band are not interested in their past glories at all, they are not interested in reproducing any of their previous work, or pleasing their huge fanbase; this is entirely a different beast. Not a dreadful mess but no masterpiece despite what you might have heard; I was slightly disappointed as nothing here jumps out to recommend, rather it is just a soft atmospheric bleak story that concerns, I later learnt, someone who lost his wife to a pagan religion so he burns down a church, of which I have little interest as I don't want to focus on such things. I will stick to Opeth and Porcupine Tree in future.

 Storm Corrosion by STORM CORROSION album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 453 ratings

Storm Corrosion
Storm Corrosion Eclectic Prog

Review by Quirky Turkey

4 stars And now for something completely different...

Together, Steven Wilson and Mikael Åkerfeldt have crafted something very special indeed, being the most organic sounding album any of the two have done. They've apparently shared the contribution with a 50-50 effort, with both partaking in the song writing and vocals, Wilson in charge of the production and keyboards, and Åkerfeldt playing most of the guitars. This album marks the third installment in the unofficial 70s influenced trilogy with Opeth's Heritage and Steven Wilson's Grace For Drowning.

Storm Corrosion is a mixture of quite a few styles and thus being a hard album to simply label with a genre. If I were to draw a few from the list I'd say it's folk, ambient, experimental, and eclectic prog, all swirled together in a dark yet beautiful, vintage 70s inspired album. There is a minimalist feel to the album and is best heard in a quiet environment so full concentration can be applied to hear every detail. There is percussion but it isn't used frequently. And as it's prog, it requires several listens to fully take in and appreciate.

Drag Ropes starts off the album and immediately presents a dark, quirky atmosphere that would fit in a world that someone like Tim Burton would conjure. The folky minimalism and darkness assumes that there's been a Comus influence, among others. The instrumentation is organic with strings and acoustic guitars giving the song some character. A notable quality of the song is that it differs from the rest of the album and stands out because a lot seems to happen, and it has a strong and strange personality. I would say this is the most 'eclectic' song on the album and the most 'different.' Definitely a strong start to the album and one of the best tracks.

The title track is a gentle, quieter, emotional, and more relaxed song where the acoustic guitar and Wilson's vocals come to the fore. The exception to it's soft beauty occurs when a nightmarish and unsettling wall of sound rises and ends with a series of abrupt stops. This represents the experimental side of the album and it's this kind of thing that makes it special and sparks attention from the listener. While there's beauty to this lengthy song, not too much happens and it appeals as just 'another track' off the album. Although great and necessary to the whole, it's minimalism is what causes the album to detract from being a prog rock masterpiece. The same goes with the next couple of tracks.

Hag is an interesting one. It has a disturbed quality to it, with it's daunting pulsing bass and the eerie mellotron. There is also the inclusion of an unsettling crowd of laughter here and there, and again it's these subtle details that make the album something different. Wilson's vocals are present yet again and fit the quiet and haunting atmosphere nicely. However the most interesting feature of the song is the inclusion of a sinister 'heavy' section with Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison on drums. But this album wants to be different, so the drums' bass and treble have been filtered out. This is a high moment for the album.

Happy is probably the weakest of the songs and offers little distinct qualities. Instrumentally, it's emphasis is acoustic guitars and Wilson's vocals. I initially wished that Åkerfeldt could have showcased more of his vocals at this point, but it's not that big of a deal. Sound effects are used to give it an eerie quality which is a plus. Overall it's nothing special but still a welcome addition to the album as a whole.

Lock Howl is the only instrumental on the album and focuses on a rhythmic build-up of layered instruments to create an intriguing piece of music. Strings and Wilson's weeping electric guitar compliment the acoustic, folky vibe. The dark and quirky sound is brought back with a short change in the middle of the song. A highlight and very awesome indeed. For some reason I couldn't help but feel that this track didn't really seem to 'go anywhere' and could have built upon further. But one comes to accept and move on from these initial personal gripes.

Ljudet Innan is in my opinion the best song on the album. After Åkerfeldt gets to do some more vocals (in falsetto!), the atmosphere is immensely beautiful and entrancing with what sounds like a mellotron and choir being built upon with guitar sounds. While the album as a whole is constructed with either attention-catching amazing moments, or the soft atmospheric moments, this song is a combination of both. I have never been so captivated by either of the artists. After delicate vocal parts and percussion follows, the album closes with a dark yet beautiful section that perfectly concludes the atmospheric trip that is Ljudet Innan.

Storm Corrosion's motto seems to be 'dark yet beautiful' as this is the omnipresent sound to be heard here. The organic quality of the album and minimalist style is a blessing from the two artists whose mission was to create 'something very different from usual'. There is a strong salute to 70s music with the use of the instruments from the time that made the music from that era so organic, such as electric piano and the mellotron. But this is not a full vintage album (as like Opeth's Heritage) and uses modern production to create this album as a breath of fresh air.

While not a 5 star masterpiece, this a very rewarding album. I pray that Mikael Åkerfeldt and Steven Wilson get together again.

I recommend this album not to the average Porcupine Tree or Opeth fan, but to open-minded listeners who aren't afraid to encounter something far from the norms of the artist's more commercial appeals.

Thanks to epignosis for the artist addition.

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