Imperial by Soen
Fans of the progressive metal genre have been blessed lately. Established acts like Katatonia, Opeth, Dark Tranquility and mastermind Tool have all favored quality over quantity over the years. Along the way, a new wave of bands has come forward and tried to find their place within the genre. This is the case for the Norwegian band Soen. Since the release of their first album in 2012, Soen have improved upon each new release. Having found their signature sound with 2017’s Lykaia, they return with Imperial, their fifth album.
Soen’s greatest weapon lies in the quality of lead singer Joel Ekelöf’s vocals. Here again, they shine from start to finish. Another strong asset is lead guitarist Cody Ford (the Canadian axeman first appeared on 2019 Lotus). With a sound that is very close at times to David Gilmour, he has the ability to transition from smooth and melodic to powerful and heavy without breaking a sweat. Former Opeth drummer Martin Lopez deserves a shout out for his fantastic work behind the drums. His skills make each song come alive.
Having been too often compared with Tool and A Perfect Circle earlier in their career, Soen sound tighter and more focused than ever on each of the nine tracks. Monarch, one of the many standout tracks on offer, is a slower number that still packs a punch. On Antagonist, it is Lopez that steals the show with his skills behind the drum kit. Another solid track is Lumerian. Ekelof’s vocals show again a lot of emotion and the presence of the keyboard adds a lot atmosphere to another solid track.
Imperial finds Soen at the top of their game. There is not a weak song and with an album of this quality, the band will hopefully get all the attention they deserve.