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Storm Corrosion: Storm Corrosion

It's interesting that, during interviews about Storm Corrosion, Steven Wilson and Mikael Åkerfeldt believe that it is nearly impossible to be truly original. As most surely know, their main influences are from the 60s/70s/80s, but those were merely times of extreme composites. Progressive rock and folk took hints from classical and jazz which gave them their unconventional structures and audacity to always experiment with instrumentation, effects, etc. but by their definition it's not really new to do so. Storm Corrosion does similar things, but in a much more stripped down method compared to their respective projects, and provides a new experience with how they do it, and that's in fact where the actual innovation comes in.

New experience, not new style. Style is a slow evolution, much like...evolution, where the experience evolves in a comprehensive timespan, like the surprising brevity of the title track in which a bittersweet acoustic melody carries the flute and understated vocals until the orchestration in the back grows more and more discordant. The dissonance is not alarming for the album has established that dissonance is a constant and can no longer be abrasive but is merely textural, allowing this element to be merely uncomfortable, yet familiar amidst the lush sequences. "Drag Ropes" and "Hag" both do the same thing as well but in their own quirky ways; the former literally being a ten-minute tension builder (which could have used some growls as background atmosphere) and the latter being a generally quiet masquerade of a descending main melody, unstable mellotron, and the only sequence of distorted guitars.

These songs maintain the journey as the purpose. You don't even realize until "Hag" that there has been an absence of drums, which are muffled anyway. The experience draws you in, not the style, which is great for them because non-prog fans could still get into this. The shortest track, "Happy," is quite soothing, despite the morbid lyrics, and rather 70s-esque once the descending vocal melody enters. Instrumentally you can tell Steven and Mikael are performing flawlessly; the fingerpicking is precise and controlled but still poignant and the solos are unfettered by quick chord changes or typical movements by either player, which I'm sure they were happy to see.

However I'm predicting the final song to be one of the most successful in terms of appeal. "Ljudet Innan" is naked compared to the rest of the record; it features mainly a lone guitar seemingly improvising through really emotional, somewhat dissonant chords, a soulful string backdrop, and a one-note piano. The appeal, however, is the subconscious attachment to a simple, but explorative piece of music. The song's title is Swedish for "old sound" which is fitting for something that resorts to basics of sonic exploration, updated for our time. This quietude is a contemplative reaction to the ancient tinge of "Lock Howl," but the song's power comes from its modesty which arouses a sort of spiritual dance in the musical mind. It solidifies the record as a mere impression of a time aside from the stir where creation, a journey itself, is reminded to be the only important language.

It's interesting to note there's not much flow to speak of between songs and thus a lot of the tension or emotion simply "corrodes" instead of develops. This (non?)issue isn't ultimately detracting, however, and can only be food for thought on the next creation, yet attention to that can give this sound so much more depth. Yet, one of the best things about the record is how free it feels from not only structure but direction in the sense that it's as if the music just surfaced from their minds and it was recorded, and the lyrics having a peculiar diction adding to an olden atmosphere. That alone is reason enough for listening but it's subtleties are a promise of a unique experience compared to anything else one will hear this year. Beauty in the simple, twisted complexities; the prog aesthetic in a nutshell.

Track Listing
1. Drag Ropes
2. Storm Corrosion
3. Hag
4. Happy
5. Lock Howl
6. Ljudet Innan

Added: May 15th 2012
Reviewer: Danny Heater
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2633
Language: english

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