It’s no secret that the long awaited collaboration between these two very influential progressive rock figures with high probability would not only challenge its listeners but also take them to heights that other bands hesitates to thread. Concluding the odd trilogy that included Opeth’s Heritage
and Steven Wilson’s
solo effort Grace For Drowning
, Storm Corrosion
comfortably settles on fairly unexplored musical grounds that in all honesty might have been better off just avoiding altogether. Observing this trinity with a lack of so-called “slightly deeper understanding” as quoted by Åkerfeldt
in an interview before the release of Heritage
would in his perhaps not so humble opinion result in “just not getting” the three pieces of art and therefore hindering honest opinions and individual interpretation by creating a barrier around his latest effort to thwart such declarations. I’m not entirely sure what defines deeper understanding in music but what I’m hearing when I’m listening to this album is an exploration that seemingly focused too much on bold experimentation than on actual songwriting.
Perhaps most closely resembling Scott Walker’s The Drift
, Storm Corrosion’s foundation centers subtle and simplistic arrangements with haunting, brooding passages in harmony with sparse use of individual instruments and an overall mellow approach. The almost total absence of drums and percussion adds to a lack of substance to which the album accompanied by a case of missing drive and direction harshly suffer and sometimes leaves me dumbfounded and curious to what the experiment is actually trying to achieve. Quite captivating vocal lines in songs like Drag Ropes
and the title track composes the backbone and highlight of the album and though not half bad are instantly exhausted by the underwhelming foundation upon which they rest, which always seem to find a way to prevent them from blooming. Putting high emphasis on ambience and subtle passages throughout almost an entire hours worth of music with very little guidance at all in terms of overall direction is bound to suffer the consequences when listeners dismiss the album, calling it boring and uneventful (and quite rightly so.)
Though no marvel in terms of diversity in relation to one another, the individual passages are quite nicely assembled but they all raise the question of where the passages in its respective song are heading and the entirety of the album begs for emphasis on elements not restricted to ambience, vocals and subtlety arranged orchestration. A brisk current of fresh air is surfaced on Lock Howl
; the only track with a real sense of drive and direction that features some of the best melodies and most successfully captures the brooding and unsettling atmosphere for which project was seemingly aiming. Its playful nature in synergy with quite hypnotic attributes most noticeably displayed in the middle of the song makes for an interesting listen and breaks a pattern that by the time of its start has been craved to be broken for well over half an hour. And with the exception of Lock Howl
it wouldn’t really make any difference if all songs were assembled into one single track. I would even consider going as far as saying you could judge and predict where the album was going just by listening to the 30 second review of Drag Ropes
and though calling it a failed experiment would definitely go unjustified I can’t seem to make out where this album is going, let alone why it was written in the first place and if its point excluded exciting approaches on songwriting and variety. Whatever this required “deeper understanding” in music is supposed to mean it’s an attribute I can’t say I feel very sorry for being in lack of. Storm Corrosion
would probably work well as a movie score but is as a standalone music album nothing short of honestly quite boring and uneventful.