Spotify Listen Link: Storm Corrosion – Storm Corrosion
Not sure where to start here actually. I picked out this one because it was the first album that was on the Amazon New Releases list for May 8th, so why not?
The band is billed from the UK and Sweden, in the genres of progressive rock, psychedelic folk, and experimental rock. That's a lot of long words to describe on band's music. They're on the Roadrunner label though, and that's a good thing, more often than not. The band came about from members of metal band Opeth and progressive band Porcupine Tree, and this particular album was to serve as more of an experimental venture for them all. If you look up some of the info on it, this really seems like one of many projects for either of the guys who are involved. They have other bands and solo careers going on all at the same time.
Also, as an additional note, a friend of mine just turned me on to this site called Drinkify, where you can type in a band's name and get the drink they recommend to have while listening to them. Here's the drink for Storm Corrosion: http://drinkify.org/storm%20corrosion. And no, I'm not drinking 6oz of scotch while listening.
First song up is "Drag Ropes." I just noticed the song lengths on all but one of these tracks is six minutes plus. This first one is 9:52 alone. And it's got a really slow start. The music actually sounds like the soundtrack for a drama or horror movie. It's ominous and creepy... which does not make me look forward to the remaining eight minutes of the song. There's a flute used amongst it, and I never thought I'd get goosebumps from a flute playing. This takes that heavy metal aspect of the band's background to the extreme end where things are way too slow to draw any other emotion but freight. The other instruments come in (strings, piano, possibly some straight-up metal sheets) and play their bit, then fade into the tonal background as well. There are vocals involved, but I couldn't totally tell you what they're saying. Pretty sure it's something about dragging us to hell though. There's minor beautiful relief around the seven minute mark, with a gorgeous guitar at work and some major chords (finally) playing. This lets it take a turn to adventure and hope, rather than doom and fear.
I could just barely hear "Hag" as it got started up. It's got this odd little bell tone as it goes in, then a guitar that picks up in a really nice way.. at first. Until the tones in the backing take you back down that dark firey path that I can only imagine is the visual representation of the song. Maybe I'm on a Dante's Inferno kick right now, who knows. If there was a movie of it though, this would have to be part of the soundtrack. Or the entire soundtrack. We'll see how the remainder of the album goes. It does get loud, which I have to say, I wasn't expecting given how ominous the music has all been so far.
"Happy" seems like an ironic title not only for this song, but for any song that is included here. It's not until this underlying bass sort of hits a few trailing notes halfway in that there's some semblance of a beat to it. The song does take an interesting turn here, almost sounding like a Bon Iver track (and we know what a big fan of his I am - sorry, I'm in Jersey for a few days and the sarcasm just slips sometimes). For the shortest track on the album, there is something very pretty hidden in this one. It's got enough to be song, but just holds back enough to be an interesting middle-ground for the rest of the tracks.
I'm starting to write this paragraph on the next track, "Lock Howl" at around three minutes in, and so far really love it. There's a Keith Urban-esq guitar (no, not totally country) for this beginning section that's just gorgeous. DAMN IT - it stops for just a moment then launches into this techo frieght sound. Gr. It was so nice before that. I mean, okay, the second half isn't necessarily bad, but it's not that great either. It's just not what the beginning was, making me just a little disappointed that the tracks weren't split. Wait... wait... okay, my guitar is coming back. It's making a turn-around, hallelujah. Maybe this one's okay after all.
"Ljudet Innan" (no idea how to go about pronouncing that first part) is a ten minute track that sounds like something right off of one of those sleep machines - possibly on the ocean setting. There's even some guitar strains in there that sound like seagulls. It dips out of that feeling and more into a desert scene. See, I'm telling you, these guys just need to write a movie soundtrack. All of their music would be so much more fitting with some sort of visual overlay. The music just becomes something ominous to play in the background. If I weren't typing, I'd probably be asleep right now.
The final two tracks given on the Spotify version of the album are demo versions of ones we've already heard. They are bonus tracks on other versions, according to the wikipedia entry on the album. The first of these two is "Drag Ropes - demo." Wait - there are lyrics to this song? Because the first version really did not make that clear. I mean, they were there, but here they are upfront and understandable. The harmonies come through as well crafted instead of ghostly voices in the background of the more prominent music - this is a nice change! The demo still gives the creep factor, but there's elements of effort and creation abound. I still don't love it, but do have a completely new appreciation for Storm Corrosion.
The final track is "Hag - demo." I can't say the same for this demo as the last. The voice is a little clearer, but it seems to fit in much better with the overall album sound than the first demo did. At the same time though, these two demos provided more of a music album feel than the other six did combined. There was clarity to these that made for a far better listening experience. If I had my way, I would have listened to all these 'demo' versions of songs instead of any of the final versions.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Lock Howl"
I'm writing this conclusion as there are still three minutes left in the final track. Really, I'm just waiting for this to be over. It was a tough album, albeit artistic as hell. It did remind me, after a brief hiatus, why I love getting to listen to all kinds of different music - there is an experience to be had, and that was most definitely the case here. Would I want it again? Probably not unless I get the Inferno visual accompaniment or am heading to sleep for the night, but once really was something to be a part of.