Standard Edition (CD Only)
Limited Edition Blu-ray with /CD
Limited Edition Double-LP set of the self-titled album with exclusive artwork
Voice, guitars, piano, synths and sampling
Drums and percussions
London Session Orchestra
I mostly agree with MichelF`s review. I will only add that if you consider buying the CD/Blu-ray version (and can get your hand on it for a decent price) of this album you won't regret putting out a few more $.
Instrumental versions of five of the six tracks can be found on the Blu-ray and two demos (the demos available also on Itunes) and in some ways, the instrumentals are even more interesting than the songs with vocals.
Storm Corrosion eponymous album offered me something truly amazing, an unexpected, surprisingly smooth, enigmatic and beautiful work of musical art. The compositions on this album surpasses all my expectations and more by being totally different from almost anything Mikael Akerfeldt and Steven Wilson had done recently or before, either in their respective bands, Opeth and Porcupine Tree, or in collaboration on songs. One could think that Steven Wilson returned to his more floydian approach as was evident on the 1989 "Begonia Seduction Scene" on Love, Death And Mussolini and also On the Sunday of Life. The music creates a strange and ethereal atmosphere that made me think of Fripp and Eno or more generally of KC in the Lark's Tongue in Aspic period, I have in mind the quieter passages of course. Well, life is full of surprises and this is one of them, and a good one at that. The progressive music presented here is experimental, ambient and bordering on something I am at a loss of word to define. It is hard for me to pinpoint a strict genre, but it may reflect the uniqueness of this effort. It is certainly in the progressive rock universe early 70's style; it changes constantly yet unexpectedly. It is not driven by powerful and bombastic sounds, but rather by subtlety and nuances in tone and timbre. It requires many listen to tame it, as each listen made me appreciate another layer of this unsettling musical realm. Mikael Åkerfeldt and Steven Wilson are superb musicians and singers, but other fine musicians contribute to this project: Gavin Harrison percussions and subtle drumming (since percussions are sparse on this opus to say the least, the backbone is not to be found in drumming);Ben Castle woodwinds and the London Session Orchestra strings featured on "Drag Ropes" "Storm Corrosion" and "Lock Howl". The superb jacket cover was painted by Hans Arnold in 1969, another sign for me of the inspirational grounding.
As an introduction "Drag Ropes" is like opening a portal to a parallel or a new universe. The strings weave a tapestry of sound unsettling and strange, but at the same time eerily familiar. The canon of voices is also very effective to sustain the feeling of unease. This is weird brew indeed, but exquisite and haunting at the same time. It is for me the best track of this album."Storm Corrosion" is a quiet and beautiful ballad. The storm is, but a distant memory corroded, a remnant lurking at the edge of consciousness. We seem to fly over bits and pieces of shattered lives. And the storm is never too far if not present in full might. Only his corrosive side protrudes. An experimental sounding tune. The guitar, the keys and the singing in the last part are like emerging on some other side of things. On "Hag" the piano at first has a touch of Satie sadness, but the synths and the guitar lead us elsewhere. It is even quieter than the preceding songs at first and then it becomes the heaviest tune on the CD. Very KC to me, the drumming is superb when heard. Another beautiful and inspiring song. "Happy" continues on that eerie road. It has a feel of a SF movie score with the echoing sounds. Well, I try to picture why this is titled happy, seems more gloomy than happy to me. "Lock Howl" is instrumental and maybe more akin to what Wilson and Akerfeldt had done before. It contains many twists and subtlety. I like it very much. "Ljudet Innan" offer us, the like of which we could heard on some other parts of this CD, a Canterbury sound composition (Like Hatfield and the North), with Eno spicing. Another great and excellent surprise.
This is certainly for me the most original CD of progressive rock I have heard this year. If you are interested in going to new places, hearing different and unsettling music, maybe catch the spirit of creativity of early prog, this is for you. It may not be in the realm of metal sounds of late Porcupine Three and Opeth (well the last Opeth is not in this universe either, the fantastic Heritage of course which is more early prog and hard rock), but this is surely incredible stuff. I've not heard something approaching this opus for a very long time. There is something marvelous in subdued power. So it is for me the best creative CD this year and I recommend it strongly. Let the voyage begins.