Review Summary: Mikael Akerfeldt and Steven Wilson's Labor OF Love can be perhaps best described to be "self indulgent" or "quaint" and no doubt a certain section of fans will be mortified after going through the album, but this doesn't take away the sheer brilliance of
Storm Corrosion is a much awaited musical project spearheaded by the Opeth Mastermind, Mikael Akerfeldt and British Progressive Rock Mogul Steven Wilson. They had previously worked together in various Opeth albums (Blackwater Park, Damnation-to name a few) and Akerfeldt had done the vocal harmonies in the Porcupine Tree classic,Deadwings. Therefore, when these two amazing musicians announced their first ever solo project Storm Corrosion, it did generate a lot of buzz (especially the one where Mike Portnoy was supposed to join the project as the drummer), and the general view was that Storm Corrosion was going to be a Progressive Super-Group.
However, putting all rumors to rest, Storm Corrosion (the project) is anything but a Super-Group and their debut album is a tapestry of emotions weaved into a disc.
Let me provide a song-by-song review.
"Drag Ropes" is the album opener, featuring the ominous vocals of Akerfeldt and an evil vocal harmony between Wilson and Akerfeldt. It provides the tone of the album...
"Now my dear friend,
Now for your sins...
You're to suffer..
Here it begins."
Eerie, twisted, haunting and disturbing. Just like it's video which premiered a few days before the official launch of the album. A great track, but not the best.
Next comes, perhaps the most beautiful track of the album-"Storm Corrosion". It features the quiet, soothing vocals of Wilson and a lush guitar strumming by Akerfeldt, the guitars are impeccable, so are the Mellotrons and the synth. A wonderful track, classic stuff.
"Hag" is a very odd song. It makes you feel as if you are in a dream. With a delightful drum solo which makes you feel as if you are in a train, half awake and the train rumbles into a platform...but is it your destination? You wonder...Akerfeldt's deep baritone placed at the background of Wilson's velvet crooning works well. Exceedingly well, rather.
"Happy" will be my pick for the best track of the album. A relatively short track, it tugs at your heartstrings with it's delightfully melancholic chorus. A song that makes me freeze, unable to move and unable to think. Yes, it is that good!
"Lock Howl" is an instrumental and perhaps the most "heaviest" track of the album. It has a very unique middle eastern influence which reminds me of the final riff of the Opeth song "Closure" form their Damnation album. A suitable background track for a Gangster Movie.
"Ljudet Innan" is where Akerfeldt truly breaks new ground as a singer. His long spiraling falsettos are unbelievable. He has achieved an admirable degree of perfection in his singing. This song is basically ambient with a lovely guitar piece at the end, along with a verse sung by Wilson.
The only thing that I feel, is missing in this album is more of Akerfeldt's voice. He is a revelation. I really wish Wilson had utilized his voice a bit more.
Storm Corrosion is one of those classic albums which never fail to amaze you, with it's high degree of technical complexity and emotional appeal. It is an album that you listen to in a grey, rainy day, and quiver with grateful ecstasy.