Artist: Storm Corrosion Album: Storm Corrosion Genre(s): Ambient, Folk, Rock Subgenres(s): Dark Ambient, Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Folk Released: 2012 Length: 48 minutes Language(s): English Label(s): Roadrunner
01. Drag Ropes
02. Storm Corrosion
05. Lock Howl
06. Ljudet Innan
Storm Corrosion is the long awaited collaborative project between progressive rock/metal stars Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree, solo) and Michael Akerfeldt (Opeth). Given the background of these 2 prolific musicians you would think that you would have some inkling as to what Storm Corrosion would turn out like but the results are much more unexpected than you’d think. As with a lot of Steven Wilson’s output in the last few years, the music is brooding and dark sounding without strictly sounding like anything either musician has put forward before.
There are only 6 songs on Storm Corrosion and together they manage to make up a little bit more than the average length of an album. Drag Ropes, Storm Corrosion and Ljudet Innan all clock in at around 10 minutes each and like most of the album, they work around the same tired format; soft guitar lines that keep the rhythm, dark keyboard atmospheres, sparse and infrequent percussion and unstrained singing from both halves of Storm Corrosion.
Half way through Hag you’ll be treated to a short burst of distorted guitar noise and frenzied drum rolls with plenty of sharp clashes on the cymbals thrown in in an effort to keep your attention and break up the monotony. Lock Howl is the only song with steady use of percussion and while remaining well within the duos ominous criteria, it manages to wake the listener from their slumber before abruptly stopping once they realise that they are in danger of playing something that might be memorable.
Unlimited artistic freedom isn’t a bad thing in and of itself but when 2 of the current progressive rock/metal scene figureheads get together and produce an album with maybe 20 minutes of material worth hearing you know that something hasn’t hit the marker.
Artist: The Gathering Album: Home Genre(s): Rock, Ambient Subgenres(s): Trip Rock Released: 2006 Length: 60 minutes Language(s): English, Spanish Label(s): Noise Records, Sanctuary Records (excluding North America), The End Records (North America)
01. Shortest Day
02. In Between
04. Waking Hour
06. A Noise Severe
09. Your Troubles Are Over
11. The Quiet One
13. Forgotten (Reprise)
Home shows yet another face of Dutch band The Gathering as their sound moves in a new but familiar direction where they have changed enough to keep long-time fans interested but not enough to alienate them either. The Gathering relied primarily on the use of textural keyboard playing and low key guitar lines to create a series of introverted songs that are kept grounded by simplistic percussion that works together to create some particularly subdued music.
With the exception of the Spanish spoken word verses on Solace, all of the songs are sung in English by Anneke Van Giersbergen whose dulcet voice is a more than suitable accompaniment for their reserved sound. Sadly, Home is the last album to feature her before she left The Gathering to pursue her solo career.
The songs are often bridged together by subtle interludes that begin at the end of 1 song and run through the start of the next to keep Home flowing while managing to be distinct enough from either song and stops them from blurring together. Unfortunately the flow of Home is shaken up as it draws near to its conclusion. The title track ends with 2 minutes of silence and Forgotten (Reprise) follows on with an unnecessarily dragged out finale that lasts for over half of its 8 minute duration due to an incredibly slow fade out.
The long silence and fade out could only have been included so as to push the album needlessly passed the 60 minute marker. The Gathering doesn’t do themselves any favours by doing this but it definitely isn’t something that should ruin the experience either.
Home isn’t the kind of album that will leap out and captivate most listeners immediately. Instead it will turn into a rewarding experience as it grows on you over the course of a few listens while being the perfect soundtrack for rainy days and quiet nights.