Kingston Upon Thames, United Kingdom / Stockholm, Sweden
|Genres||Progressive rock, psychedelic folk, experimental rock|
|Associated acts||Opeth, Porcupine Tree|
Storm Corrosion was a musical collaboration between Mikael Åkerfeldt of Swedish progressive metal band Opeth and Steven Wilson, an English solo artist and frontman of the progressive rock band Porcupine Tree. Åkerfeldt and Wilson began a longstanding musical partnership in 2001 when Wilson produced Opeth's fifth studio album Blackwater Park. The two began writing together for a new project in 2010, releasing their self-titled first studio album on May 8, 2012 through Roadrunner Records.
A critical success, Storm Corrosion marks a paradigm shift for Åkerfeldt and Wilson. Not wanting the project to be a progressive metal supergroup, the two used it as an opportunity to explore their more esoteric tastes in music, including Comus and Scott Walker. Currently, there are no plans for a tour in support of the self-titled album or a follow-up.
Mikael Åkerfeldt became aware of Steven Wilson in the mid-1990s after Åkerfeldt's best friend Jonas Renkse played him the Porcupine Tree album The Sky Moves Sideways. Åkerfeldt instantly fell in love with the band, calling the experience "an awakening". He came to idolize Wilson, but was hesitant to contact him. Years later, Åkerfeldt received a surprise e-mail from Wilson who had been given a copy of the Opeth album Still Life by a French journalist. Wilson, a fan of extreme metal, played the album during a soundcheck and was blown away, calling it "amazing". The two ended up meeting for dinner in London where Åkerfeldt asked Wilson to produce the next Opeth album. It was also during this dinner that the two first spoke of a possible collaboration.
After their meeting in London, Åkerfeldt and Wilson began a longstanding musical partnership. Wilson went on to produce three Opeth albums – Blackwater Park, Deliverance, and Damnation – and mixed one Opeth album, Heritage. In 2005, Åkerfeldt contributed some guitar and vocals to Deadwing, Porcupine Tree's eighth album. Porcupine Tree and Opeth also co-headlined a North American tour together in the summer of 2003. Although the collaboration was announced as early as 2006, it was only in March 2010 that the two began writing music together, done on an on and off basis. Originally, ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy was to be involved, but was excluded because Åkerfeldt and Wilson felt the music would have little room for drums. In early 2011, Storm Corrosion was announced as the project's title.
Storm Corrosion (2010 – 2012)
After more than a year of writing, Storm Corrosion's first album was completed in September 2011. In February 2012, it was announced that the collaboration had signed with Roadrunner Records and that their album would be self-titled and released on April 24. This release date was eventually pushed back to May 8. The guitar work on the album was handled by Åkerfeldt while Wilson concentrated on the keyboards and song arrangement. Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree played drums, although only 15 to 20 percent of the album needed them. Reflecting back on their experience working together, Åkerfeldt and Wilson were largely positive, noting that they never had any artistic struggles over creative control and that each other's contributions were "exactly 50/50". Wilson has declared the album the completion of a trilogy, alongside Opeth's Heritage and Wilson's solo album Grace for Drowning, all of which were released over a year-long period from 2011 to 2012.
The first song used in promotion of Storm Corrosion was "Drag Ropes", released via YouTube on April 24. Upon its release, the album was critically well received, and was nominated for the Album of the Year Award by Prog, presented by Classic Rock Magazine, and Best Surround Sound Album at the 2012 Grammy Awards. Currently, Åkerfeldt and Wilson have no plans to tour in support of the album. While the two have expressed interest in working together again, they have not committed to writing another album for Storm Corrosion in particular.
Despite their reputations as frontmen in the heavy metal and progressive rock genres, Mikael Åkerfeldt and Steven Wilson did not want Storm Corrosion to be a progressive metal supergroup. In an early interview regarding the project, Wilson went so far as to say that the music sounded unlike anything he or Åkerfeldt had done to that point, including Damnation, which a lot of fans assumed would be the case. Instead, the two used the project as an opportunity to explore their more esoteric tastes in music, such as Comus, Popol Vuh, Univers Zero, Steve Reich, David Crosby, Talk Talk, and Scott Walker.
Storm Corrosion's sound can best be described as ambient, epic, enchanting, and orchestral. In the press release for the self-titled first album, Åkerfeldt described the music as "a bit frightening, exhausting, profound and rather intense". In an interview with Face Culture, Wilson described the album as "mellow, strange, and disturbing". Critics have described the album's sound as having "an eerie gloom about the music that harks back to the drug-fuelled experimental avant-gardism of the 70s", "unhinged" and "experimental", and with a "flowing and expansive folk-touched sound".
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