41 years ago, at the dawn of the age of all things progressive and weird in underground music, there was a band out of Kent called Comus who recorded & released a strange little record, titled First Utterance, to a lackluster market despite enthusiasm from people such as a then-coming-into-prominence David Bowie. It was an arcane, mad, even frightening album at times: the roars and blistering raw lyricism of Roger Wooten, in contrast to the strange, off-kilter acoustics and ethereal woodwinds, made for the kind of legendary release that only comes around in a genre once in a blue moon, and all you need to do is punch in the album at a site like RateYourMusic to see just how many people appreciate it's disturbing brand of acid folk in the realms of all things rootsy and stripped down.
Around the same time as First Utterance hit shelves (few as they were), singer/songwriter Scott Walker had begun to gain something of a cult audience thanks to his increasingly haunting take on baroque folk & pop with albums such as Scott 3 and Scott 4. The man has continued his decent into musical madness over the last few decades, has legions of fans across the world, and was even the subject of a documentary back in 2006!
Why is it, then, that when two individuals as prominent as Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) and Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth) come together to make a wonderful, wonderful album that stands just as tall as the classic stuff I just mentioned, they get slapped around with negative reviews across the blog and review sphere by the very same type who are just as quick to praise the ghostly tuneage of the distant past?
In an age where music has become so pathetically disposable in the mind of your average listener and attention spans have waned to the point of oblivion en-masse, this record serves as 2012's ideal musical litmus test for the initiated and uninitiated alike: the people who get it will be in for a treat beyond treats, and the rest will simply shake their heads in bemused, even disappointed confusion.
From my perspective, Storm Corrosion is a modern day encapsulation of that part of the 70's that a lot of people don't appreciate like they should, the kind of esoteric, pitch-black self indulgence that either alienates your sensibilities...or sets them on fire in a way few LPs can. These six cuts, orchestrated and led by Akerfeldt's ever immersive guitar work, emanate a black forest from your speakers that lets in only a sliver of sunshine at the best of times: you won't see much unless you give yourself time to let your eyes adjust.
As the old idiom goes, there is nothing new under the sun: all that has been done has already been done. There will always be evil-sounding baroque folk that seems aimless to someone more accustomed to listening to Blink-182 or whatever Pitchfork is currently on board about. But when people lack knowledge and cannot contextualize or step back, you can bet that gems like this will get swept under the rug and given a poorly-labeled reputation that scares away new audiences who might very well love the music at first stream.
Unplug from the media machine and let this sucker spin without preconceptions, because Storm Corrosion defies the temporary and boils like a dream come true. Your mileage may vary, but this is a sonic experience that was built to last.
Buy It Here!