album review of Storm Corrosion (self titled album)

I said yesterday that i was going to expand the blog a little more, so here is my first album analysis. Despite calling it a review in the title, I don’t really believe it to be the right word. I don’t plan on giving a score out of 100 or anything like that, but more just to talk a little about what the music is like.
Of course talking about such an album as Storm Corrossion isn’t easy in the slightest, as there really is nothing to compare it to. I’ll start by giving a little bit of background. Storm Corrossion is a collaboration project between progressive rock geniuses Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, No-Man, Bass Communion, Solo projects and more…) and Mikael ├Ñkerfeldt (of progressive metal group Opeth).
These two musicians’ main projects are known for their creativity and not following the mould, clearly shown in their most recent projects (Steven Wilson-Grace For Drowning, Opeth-Heritage). Wilson’s album was voted the best progressive rock album of 2011, some incredible new works from bands such as Dream Theater, and ├Ñkerfeldt’s ‘Heritage’ truely sounds nothing like Opeth has done before being, in general, a much less heavy album than most of their discography. Both of these albums have so many suprising moments that I still find new things in them, even with them being my two most listened to albums of last year. This creativity and change of direction for both artists really shines through in Storm Corrosion.
Yet don’t think this means that Storm Corrosion sounds like a mix of Grace for Drowning and Heritage. It really doesn’t. As is said at the beginning of this post, I cannot think of any other group or song to compare it to. Whilst I tried desperately to think of how to describe the general sound, i came up with a two word answer: Melancholic mystery. It is certainly not a happy album-ironically the track title ‘happy’ is probably the saddest piece of music i’ve ever heard. That said, moments of itare strangely uplifting even if it does have a habit of dropping lower than low afterwards. Perhaps those uplifting moments are need to really accentuate the melancholy of the majority of the piece.
Occasionally there is a glimpse of inspiration from the artists’ previous work. Nearing the end of the title track ‘storm corrosion’, there is a guitar part that sounds very similar to an opeth track…which one exactly I can’t recall, but its almost identical to it. It may be a straight sample, but as it sounds slightly different i’m not sure at all. Wilson having been known to sample from previous works before, does however make this a possibility.
If there is one thing Storm Corrosion isn’t, it is about as far away from easy listening as you can get short of schönberg’s more experimental music. The album does ease you in gently though, starting with a relatively calm but just as dark and perhaps contraversial ‘Drag Ropes’ but by the time the listener reaches the third track, ‘Hag’, all things experimental have kicked in and the occasional note of the two musician’s heavy rock and metal backgrounds come through. But it all calms down again for the fairly chilled out sixth and final track ‘Ljudet Innan’ (swedish for ‘the sound before’ i believe. ├Ñkerfeldt is Swedish…like alot of amazing musicians).
I believe Storm Corrossion has the possibility of being the best album of the year and without a doubt one of the most creative. Although it is very dark and melancholic in sound, parts can be quite uplifting. My favourite song from the album is track 2-Storm Corrosion, for its stunning beauty and chilled out nature-I don’t think i’ve even heard smooth jazz as smooth as this track. Steven Wilson and Micheal ├Ñkerfeldt do seem to continue to do the impossible and further improve their music even after every album seeming to be as good as it gets.