Here as promised.
As with any Supergroup or side project involving big names there is the added pressure to succeed or at least, you’d hope, sound good. Metallica and Lou Reed failed at even this, most pedestrian of accomplishments. Chickenfoot, Black Country Communion and Adrenaline Mob are all concurrent bands among many that have stared down the barrel of Supergroup hype. Storm Corrosion fits into this bracket nicely as it contains two giant names and has, it seems, been on tips of many tongues now for three or four years, and briefly on Mike Portnoy’s until he was once again left out in the cold.
Life in this environment cannot be easy, add ego trips/conflicts to an already brimming melting pot and many just simply boil over. For most the battle for creative control is too much and the musical endeavour once so full of promise becomes a fish with two tails. However, Down, Asia and Them Crooked Vultures have all come out smiling and I believe Storm Corrosion will also.
Storm Corrosion is a resounding success; of course, Mikael Akerfeldt and Steven Wilson are not strangers having worked together on the Opeth albums Blackwater Park, Deliverance and Damnation. They are two very creative and expressive musical minds and here they work well together to meet in the middle and not clash, but create something that sounds right. This is not an Opeth album, neither is it Porcupine Tree. In fact it is not a Metal album at all. It’s dark and ambient to the core without detracting from some solid song writing. The first track ‘Drag Ropes’ is an excellent example of this and there is a brilliant bit three quarters of the way through which mixes Wilson’s atmospheric synths with a very Dire Straits esque solo from Akerfeldt. His tone and style of playing here sound like something right out of My Arms Your Hearse era Opeth.
Another particular highlight on the disc is ‘Lock Howl’, the penultimate track, which starts with an elongated singular note. Very Blackwater Park! In this tune there is a slow build up to a thick and heavy atmosphere led by a big organ part and there’s even room for some maracas.
The album culminates with my favourite track the angelic, choral and mystic ‘Ljudet Innan’ which contains a rad solo and some spine-tingling vocals from Wilson.
To try to pigeonhole this album would be a mistake. It is a progressive experiment, but not in the style either musician has attempted before. It is not a Metal album; it makes good chillout for metalheads. It’s well worth a listen, especially if you’re in the slightest bit interested, because it’s good, really good. And if it won’t fit into a genre I’ll do what everybody else does, and make one up.
Storm Corrosion is ‘experimental spliff in the bath on a Sunday afternoon, fuck Sunday blues, every weekend is a Bank Holiday and everything’s going to be alright, to the-core’ (ESBSAFSBEWBHEGBAC).