Customer Review

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Storm Corrosion, 7 May 2012
This review is from: Storm Corrosion (Audio CD)
So, you want to read a review because you have no idea what this album sounds like, right? It's not easy to give you any help...

Lesson 1: This is NOT Opeth, and this is NOT Porcupine Tree.

It's an album mostly devoid of percussion and metal guitars. It is more on the easy and lightweight side, but with a dark secret. The melodies in themselves are simple, the instruments and vocals soft and airy (Drag Ropes a bit of an exception). But of course nothing is ever as simple as that with these mucisians. There are unexpected sounds and twists betwixt these beautiful melodies. Parts that make you go: what the ...?

The first track, Drag Ropes (9.50), had an official release on youtube, so my suggestion is that you go there and try it out. It's an eerie and beautiful, orchestral and epic piece with a great animated video. Now when I listen to the song, I always see those images in my head.

The best way I can describe the second track, Storm Corrosion (10.10), is to suggest you think of Simon & Garfunkel. This is true for the first 5-6 minutes at least. What happens then is a rising... sound... that is creepy and powerful, but that I can't really call "music" in its strictest sense. It's a difficult transition for the listener to make, but as the album progresses you understand more about the idea behind this contrast. The song finishes with a return to the original melody.

The third track, Hag (6.30), is perhaps my favourite. It rises slowly from a dark silence with soft guitar tones and piano key-strikes, accompanied by Wilson's one-word song lines. It picks up a high-pitched electric organ sound and some more guitar melodies. 4,5 minutes in there's a 45 second long guitar and drum combo that feels straight out of Opeth's Heritage album, and that is the most metal you'll hear on this record. Then the track goes back to finishing off in the same style as it opened.

Track four, Happy (4.50), again makes me think a lot of Simon & Garfunkel. But the eerie contrasts are back. And the track structure is a bit backwards. It starts with what feels like the ending, and then in the middle comes what feels like a natural start to a song. Otherwise, a soft acoustic guitar is plucking along at its strings, sometimes accompanied by an electric guitar. Interwoven with this melody are what I can best describe as distorted electric machine sounds from an evil dimension!

Lock Howl, track number five (6.10), is a relatively fast-paced instrumental diddle. I guess it makes sense to make change the beat before the closing track, which is perhaps the softest on the record. I guess this piece feels somewhat that it could belong on Heritage as well, but not entirely. The acoustic guitar melody runs along with an electric guitar tempo in the background. About halfway in, the song pauses and picks up a new beat with clapping sounds and a queer psychadelic organ sound, then almost gets quiet with some soft wind instrument. Then it starts up from the beginning again with some additional sounds.

Ljudet Innan (10.20), a Swedish title that translates to "The Sound Before", closes the album. It starts with Mikael singing softly and low, a lament from the deep. After, an electric organ rises very slowly and gets an echoing guitar string occassionally joining in. Halfway in, an electric lead guitar adds a light melody and Wilson comes in with some of his soft vocals. Not much more happens.

The album journey from start to finish is soft and strange at the same time. Here are some of the more beautiful melodies you will have heard, arranged with some of the more difficult sounds to listen to. But these contrasts are not so much "in your face", and they don't happen often, to my delight. I wouldn't want too much weirdness messing up the beauty that is in here.
At first listen it will be hard to understand, but this album grows steadily stronger with every listen. Of course, it's nothing you would turn on when it's time to party, or if you want to feel the energy pulsing in your veins. But perhaps towards the end of the night when everyone's quieting down on the couch in the dark, or when you're alone on a grey day...
It's a great album, but of course there's room for improvement.
4/5
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 May 2012 16:20:50 BDT
Mr. D. Balfe says:
Good review of a good album, My only criticism on the album would be that It appears there is not enough Mikael Vox maybe Im not listening enough though..
And always room for improvement.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2012 19:33:01 BDT
I had the same reaction about Mikael's vocals. I am not sure it is needed on this album, but perhaps if we get a second album it will change.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 May 2012 04:50:52 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 May 2012 04:58:43 BDT
Great review of a beautiful album, though I would give it five stars. Who would be Simon and who would be Garfunkel? Can't wait till my vinyl shows up.

Posted on 11 May 2012 03:57:27 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 May 2012 10:02:15 BDT
R. Pievaitis says:
hi all yes i agree totally with this great review-if any of you have come across the last 2 amazing scott walker albums(yes indeed he of the walker brothers fame from the mid 60,s !)then i would place the drift ,his last album as a reference point in terms of the mood and song structures and weirdness !also a touch of the early moody blues and crosby stills and nash with the sparse harmony vocals at the certain points through out the album.
so what we have here is "acid folk"take bands like "trees" or "comus" or "fresh maggots" or "spring".the early 70,s folk rock bands that really took folk to the outer limits.we those of you who own all the solo SW singles he did t/o the 00,s then may i refer you to the b side of the 3rd cover version single,called "the unquiet grave".well if you track that one down or if you are lucky enough to own those superb cover version series then please play that b side tomorrow and hey presto that's the reference for you.
re the vinyl-mine arrived on the 8th as part of my collectors bundle direct from road runner(if you ain,t got the vinyl yet-forget it they all sold out on pre orders about 3 months ago-only 2000 were made-so expect the ebayers to show up soon at ridiculous prices as per the RSD copy of CPA on vinyl-it cost £14 on burning shed the day after RSD anyway-i got mine there -but some idiot from the usa was trying to get $199 as a buy it now price 1 day after RSD-the greedy b......d-i reported this nonsense to burning shed as something as got to put in place so that the true fans can get the copies they need at the correct retail price and stop these vermin types buying multiple copies and selling them on days later for 14 x their face value)
sorry rant over-but the double gatefold vinyl is gorgeous- a textured outer sleeve almost 1 song per side so the sound quality is top notch - the vinyl was overseen by SW s fave charles betrrams at tonefloat-so it should be good then hey !
well it is good.you also get a massive poster _not for me as i,m way past the poster days at 49 but still a nice freebie and one to make it collectible-plus to follow soon is a further 12 x 12 " poster signed by both partners in crime-this is a nice touch -to the pre orders only i,m afraid.
so an excellent record - a modern masterpiece in these days of overly commercial music -even some metal music is formulaic,but this is just beautiful-i imagine a soundtrack for an imaginary film-something like the controversial lars von tryst film "the anti christ"-now if you have seen that film without being sick during the self mutilation scene which is actually totally non required in the context of the whole film-but this music would have been an ideal soundtrack-i cannot listen to "drag ropes"
without hearing the fox saying "chaos reigns" !!!!
maybe someone will make a film around this music-some modern version of the witch-finder general or blood on Satan's claw perhaps-am i mad folks but that's what this conjures up in my mind !
EDIT;11/5/12
re the breakdown section during hag i have read that gavin harrison played his "mini jazz kit" for that section-you can tell it is a totally different tone for that which we have got used to on a GH performance-nice touch there gavin.that section ,if you listen real intently is a heavy section yet no electric guitars are used-apart from maybe the bass guitar,it is clever use of instruments as SW said he would utilise after remixing the KC albums and seeing how little overdubbing was done back then in the early 70,s.he wanted to achieve the same power but not in a "heavy metal" way.
you have the bass gavins jazz kit and some low end piano and a bit of synth.thats all-very similar to some of the breakdowns used by SW in his centre piece of GFD- raider 11.i believe that this album takes both portions of GfD and heritage and effectively mixes them up to form the final piece of the trilogy -i belive this was the intention anyway-boy did they achieve it !
on the subject of percussion,i have to agree with SW in his recent "PROG "mag interview that drums woiuld have totally spoilt the creepy atmosphere and made it more commercial sounding-the cymbal work during drag ropes and the hi hat in storm corrosion is just right-less is more hey ?
finally(at last i hear you say !),the final track is swedish for "ancient music".this was again confirmed in that Prog interview,when SW asked MA what the swedish would be for ancient music-his words not mine.but the only slight negative i have about this debut and possibly the only ever release from these 2 as a proper band(again in the Prog interview SW confirmed that there are no palns for a follow up or tour etc etc-if the mood takes them and they have some spare time in their respective careers then maybe but no specific plans at all folks so don,t hold your breath ),is the minimal use of mA,s natural tenor voice-he seems to have recently come into his own with his clear voice sounding like a young greg lake.whether it was a case of MA,s songs didn,t make the final cut i,m not sure but SW does seem to take the lead on nearly all the songs apart from drag ropes and even there his la,s,la,s come through on the "chorus"-odd.
sorry to ramble !and i apologise for my lack of capitalisation-i have PD and it as reduced my typing to one finger-so i apologise now.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 May 2012 17:32:35 BDT
Richard: feel free to ramble, it's a discussion segment after all, and I was interested in some of the things you mentioned.

I finally received the special blu-ray/vinyl bundle as well, happy with my pre-order!

I completely agree that the album does well without much percussion, and likewise I enjoy the break from this rhythm-less existence in Lock Howl.

The Swedish title though, you cannot translate "ancient music" to "ljudet innan", it's as I said: it means "the sound before", literally. If you take that to mean "the sounds of long ago", you get something similar to the original meaning. Swedish is my native tongue, so you can trust me on this one.

Cheers.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 May 2012 23:10:26 BDT
R. Pievaitis says:
hello there johan i do apologise for that but i was only repeating what was stated in the "prog" magazine-if you do not subscribe to that newish mag then i heartily recommend it !but obviously MA was slightly wrong in his interpretation of what SW asked him.SW asked him to translate "ancient music "into swedish.what would you have suggested as a more appropriate in stead -i would be interested to learn more swedish please.
so glad you have finally got your bundle and can now sit back and enjoy the fun !all the very best from one fan to another.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2012 14:28:15 BDT
No need to apologise at all. I think MÅ just got creative with the translation. Perhaps we would say "uråldrig musik", but it doesn't sound very well. "Ljudet innan" is quite poetic, really.
Thanks for the magazine tip. I may look into it!

Posted on 13 May 2012 14:45:42 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 May 2012 14:47:07 BDT
G. Young says:
Great review, an absolute powerhouse in fact. It has made me decide to go ahead and buy the album, this is a really nice piece of writing, interesting and original.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 May 2012 05:29:53 BDT
Thnks, G! I hope you'll be happy with your purchase.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 May 2012 16:27:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 19 May 2012 16:32:53 BDT
G. Young says:
Very happy! I've been playing the album all week, the title track is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard, I love it. It's a great album. An interesting album; sublime, haunting and quietly introspective.
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