ÅKERFELDT/WILSON Collaboration Features ‘Hardly Any Drums And No Distorted Guitars’

During a recent online question-and-answer session with fans, PORCUPINE TREE‘s Steven Wilson was asked to clarify his previous statement that the musical output of STORM CORROSION, his much-anticipated collaboration project with OPETH‘s Mikael Åkerfeldt will be “the opposite of metal.”

“It’s very hard to describe this music as it is so different from most things around right now (at least as far as I know),” Wilson explained. “I said it was the ‘opposite of metal’ because I think a lot of people might have assumed from the two people involved that this would be some kind of progressive/metal thing, but in fact it’s quite a minimal album with a lot of space and beauty, orchestral and organic, hardly any drums and no distorted guitars — ‘twisted beautiful’ is the best way I can describe it.”

STORM CORROSION last year completed work on its self-titled debut album for a tentative April release through Roadrunner Records. Apart from Mikael and Steven, the CD includes guest appearances by Gavin Harrison (PORCUPINE TREE) on drums/percussion, Ben Castle on woodwinds and Dave Stewart on string arrangements.

In an interview with Metal Injection conducted on November 11, 2011 at the Best Buy Theater in New York City, Wilson was asked how STORM CORROSION is different from his previous collaborations with Åkerfeldt. “Well, the only stuff I’ve collaborated with Mikael on in the past has been working on his records,” Wilson replied. “This is obviously a collaboration, so it’s a different approach. We sat in a room together and we wrote music together, rather than taking his music that he’d already written and working it into a record. We actually started from the very basics — composition and arranging.”

He continued, “If you’d asked me three months ago about the music, I would have said, ‘Expect the last thing you would expect.’ But actually, now that [OPETH‘s new record] ‘Heritage’ has come out and [Steven Wilson‘s solo album] ‘Grace Of Drowning’ has come out, I don’t think it’s going to be that much of a shock to people, because it’s almost like a third part of the trilogy, in a way. If anything, it’s even more orchestral, even more stripped down, even more dark, twisted and melancholic… but it certainly feels like it comes from the same place as ‘Heritage’ and ‘Grace For Drowning’, which indeed it does because it was written during the same period — it was written during a period that he was playing the tracks that he’d written for ‘Heritage’ and I was playing the tracks that I had written for ‘Grace Of Drowning’. So we were kind of, in a way, egging each other on, encouraging each other to do those particular records, but also at the same time coming up with this music that is now gonna be on STORM CORROSION. So it’s a very orchestral record, it’s very — as you’d expect — epic, the songs are quite long and they develop in quite unusual ways.”

He concluded, “I’m realistic that half the people are gonna hate it and half the people probably will fall in love with it. I’d be happy with that anyway.”

Although former DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy was initially supposed to be part of the STORM CORROSION project, he did not take part in the recording sessions for the CD. “To be honest, there’s just no room for drums on what we’ve done,” Åkerfeldt told Classic Rock magazine last year. “I called Mike up, and he was cool about it. He’s got so much going on anyway, and I’m sure we will work together in the future.”

All photos by Naki Kouyioumtzis