When Swedish Progressive Metal goliath and frontman of cult biggie Opeth, Mikael Akerfeldt forms alliance with Prog Rock prodigy Steven Wilson, quarterback of the indie group Porcupine Tree, also producer of Opeth’s critically acclaimed record, Blackwater Park, the result is a dark, ambient and ravenous experiment of creative collaboration. Storm Corrosion is the brainchild of two brilliant musicians diving into the rift of their esoteric tastes.
More than a year in the making, Storm Corrosion would hold high expectations from both Opeth and Porcupine Tree fans alike. Never intended to be a Prog Metal supergroup albeit carrying influences from both bands’ works, the record is best described as an experiment in progressive rock with flowing ambience tinged with an eerie folk sound. Its expansive sound gives the entire record a definitive enchanting nevertheless mellow and disturbing aftertaste.
Opening softly with Drag Ropes; a song whose aura and distilled melancholy make for a strange introduction. Lyrically, both musicians share a common depth and distress. Like a hymn prior to an execution, it delves on dark notes and ends in calm, quiet and ever present despair.
The title track, Storm Corrosion, opens with enchanting synths and acoustics seamlessly relating to Wilson’s swoons and then falling into an equally impressive piece of lead guitar. The whole piece has an enigmatic, refined sound but an unmistakable purity.
Carrying their signature of long ballads, each song clocks at an average of nine minutes and some less conventional. Some fans may be disappointed at this new approach towards their music, but the collaboration altogether is a maniacal concoction of genius in itself.
Hag is an interesting addition to the recorded. A very dementia-esque piece starting off slowly and midflight, ascending into a distorted barrage of a bridge, complete with dark guitars and solid drum work. Then falling back into its original tempo: silence.
Happy is an ironic title for the fourth track on the record. Steven barely humming his solemn words backed by ambience, and then some more. “Wind blow through, my lover. Tend your grave, forever.”
Lock Howl is an instrumental volatility yet plays out like a carefully orchestrated sequence of destruction. The sounds are consummating and epic in a draught, disturbing way.
Closing the record with Ljudet Innan, directly translating into: The Sound Before. It is the epitome of ambience on the whole record, carving a new dimension of sound play, if you will. It’s enigmatic and moody. It’s only something Akerfedlt and Wilson could procreate.
The record may not dispel skeptics, may not coerce the modern world into the acceptance of progressive rock and the price that comes along with being musically adept. All in all, the album is a fine work of art that combines simple brilliance and complex craftsmanship.
Not for the masses, but when were they ever?