Opeth and Porcupine Tree have been two of the main contributors to Progressive Music for the last decade not named Dream Theater. One of them with tones of death metal here and there and the latter a more progressive psychedelic pop. Steven Wilson, frontman of Porcupine Tree has come to become one of the main players in the progressive movement lately as his work has more than talked for itself. Wilson’s latest solo album, Grace for Drowning, brought memories of the best King Crimson had to offer in their heyday, offering the best progressive product in a year that gave us albums from the biggest names in the genre. After some years of collaboration, its no surprise that Mikael Akerfeldt and Steven Wilson finally made a project together. It was greatly anticipated by fans of both bands, but most all all fans of the genre wanted to see what would happen if both talented musicians got together. After listening to the album extensively I have to say that I am again surprised.
Storm Corrosion, a name that has been selected for the project and album, is an album that just like Grace For Drowning, has depressive yet complex tones. Sounding unlike anything heard before by both bands, this album surprises us with an amazing range of sounds that goes from the ethereal to the rude and distorted sometime giving you the creeps. To some it may sound as the perfect mesh between Wilson and Opeth’s latest album’s, but after a closer listen you’ll understand that it has nothing to do with either. The opening track gives us string work that demands to be heard, as its so beautifully arranged that you can’t believe is made by hard rockers. The title track is a light song that employs some african percussion with beautifully crafted arpeggios that exhale musicality and harmonic excellence. There are even some pretty original production gimmicks at the end that can only be made by men with Wilson’s vision.
Atmospheric is a term often used to describe Wilson’s albums, and nothing could better describe what this album’s all about. Darkness continues to surround the sound with Hag, as tension increases and creepiness endures. Even as it seems like a connection between songs, Hag has its own vibe, and surely brings out the worst images in your head of whatever trip he wants us to embark. Bass finally has a more direct presence, often sounding like something out of the most psychedelic Pink Floyd albums. Some very distorted drumming by Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison gives it a very Grace For Drowning sound to it. Happy is a song that doesn’t sound anything as its name suggests. With Steven’s gliding voice we are sent to an arpeggio trip that brings more character to what we’ve been listening. Experimental is the name of the game up to this point in the album and I couldn’t be happier.
Lock Howl is a more rhythmic song and probably my favorite in the album. Passages that tend to go true the same progressive patterns only to implode in to new unexplored sounds. This is exactly what I expected from the two talented musicians. With the final song, Ljudet Innan, we get beautiful musical passages that are adorned by Mikael’s voice. Most of the album is instrumental, and I think this is one of its strengths and weaknesses. I expected more out of their voices, maybe some duet singing, but hey, this is the path they chose and it sounds amazing. This is my early frontrunner for Progressive Album of the year, with some competition from the dudes from that new band Flying Colors coming close behind. Storm Corrosion falls short of the Masterpiece title, but it does come close!