I wanted to give this album 3.5 stars, but Amazon's ratings are'nt that flexible yet.
There are some wonderful passages on this album and it is a worthy purchase for any SW or Akerfeldt fan, but is it really the surprising opus that the pre-release hype would have us believe? Yes, the album is ambient with dark passages, but let's face it, both men have a long track record in using music to purge the darker recesses of their personalities. I would have been surprised if the music on here had been joyous and upbeat, as it is, it sounds like a little meander from SW's solo output and Opeth's direction on Heritage. So no surprises for me at all. As for ambience, I've heard plenty from SW via No-Man and Bass Communion, so it's not a new path for him.
I won't do another track by track breakdown as others have done an excellent job of that on here already, but my stand out tracks are 'Storm Corrosion'. 'Lock Howl' and 'Ljudet Innan'. As you'd expect the production is great and the playing to the highest standards, but it doesn't give me the pleasure that SW's two solo albums have done. It's hard to say, but I wonder if it's a collaboration too far for SW. I know he's a workaholic, but I wonder if these busy musicians really had enough time to produce the startling album we were promised. For me, it doesn't quite make it, but it's a good listen and not a record that I'll abandon after a few listens.
SW remains for me the most important musician in British music over the last 15 years, but this is a bit too self-indulgent and I wonder whether he needs to spend a couple of years now in the PT framework with the tremendous input and soundscapes that Messrs Barbieri, Harrison and Edwin can provide.