Rock It: Hard rockers go softer with collaboration

Posted on November 13, 2013


Hard rockers go softer with collaboration

Storm Corrosion photo by Naki Kouyioumtzis

Storm Corrosion photo by Naki Kouyioumtzis


By: Rachael Mattice

Enchanting, orchestral, mellow and dark: “Storm Corrosion” is a departure for two composers who forged their names in heavy rock and progressive metal music.

Produced through a collaboration between English musician Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree and Mikael Åkerfeldt from Swedish progressive metal band Opeth, “Storm Corrosion” is an experimental and beautiful six-song set that delves into musical realms the two musicians had yet to discover.

Fans had grown to love both bands’ compositions for their metal background. But Wilson and Åkerfeldt started to bend the familiar even on previous albums, the much more ambient and artistic “Heritage,” released by Opeth in 2011, and Porcupine Tree’s “Grace for Drowning” released in 2011.

“Storm Corrosion,” released in May, forms a trilogy with the those earlier albums with themes incorporating a “discord of beauty and ugliness side by side without being too pretentious,” Åkerfeldt said. The album, he said, brings in a heaviness without using a metal vocabulary.

The Tim Burton-esque opener “Drag Ropes” fits the strange, avant garde atmosphere the duo described. Instrumental sounds such as piano, acoustic guitars, percussion, flute and strings created via keyboards give the song an acid folk base to complement a dueling-yet-harmonic vocal.

“Happy” is just as witchy, but beautiful, featuring a lot more soft, echoing vocals than some of the other tracks. “Lock Howl” starts with a foreboding static guitar-drum rhythm that ascends into an eerie percussion clap. It’s pure instrumental, and though the lack of soulful crooning is sometimes boring, here it adds weightlessness.

Even though “Storm Corrosion” is otherworldly, not all fans will support musical freedom for Wilson and Åkerfeldt. I saw Opeth’s concert for “Heritage,” and although it was great music, it was too dull in a live setting for a general admission, ready-to-be-entertained audience.

This album is just as demanding and thought-driving; one really has to listen and allow it to soak in, otherwise it’s reading or mall music.

It is unclear if the duo will tour for this album , and like other great musical get-togethers, this is the only record planned for “Storm Corrosion.” It is one of a kind.

To learn more about “Storm Corrosion,” visit or escape into their record and buy it on Amazon.

Mattice is a producer for the Journal and Courier. She can be reached on Twitter @RachaelM_JC. 

Posted in: "Rock It" Column