Soen – Tellurian

Prog Sphere's review of Soen's new album "Tellurian," out in November 2014.

Soen is a supergroup founded by original Opeth and Amon Amarth drummer, Martin Lopez. Together with legendary bassist Steve di Giorgio (Sadus, Death, Testament) and not yet legendary vocalist Joel Ekelöf (Willowtree) and guitarist Joakim Platbarzdis, they released a first album in 2012. For the recording of the band’s second album, Tellurian, Steve was replaced by “the unknown” Stefan Stenberg. Against the odds, the music doesn’t venture in extreme metal realm, it is rather a clever blend of shoegaze/alternative rock and post-progressive rock.

Though a band fronted by a drummer, this is certainly not an album to showcase his skills. Instead, we’re in for some elegant and thoughtful compositions, where the effervescent and creative drums, akin to the alternative rock/metal scene (Tool, Jane’s Addiction) blend with the reflective ambiances of shoegaze acts, through solemn introspective vocals and evanescent or obsessive guitars. The lion gets nonetheless at times out of its cage like on the punchy Ennui, which is everything but boring (the title means “boredom” in french). Tribal rhythms will also give an ethnic colour to the music (the versatile Tabula Rasa and The Other’s Fall among other songs). Between intimacy and passion, vocals never overshadow the crafty interplay of the backing section and help shaping the elegant canvas above-mentionned. They are at their most moving on the beautiful ballad The Words with its majestic yet melancholic mellotron.

Overall, combining the dynamics of Tool with the vocal harmonies of Riverside, Soen‘s lush arrangements and versatility make for a very rewarding listen. My only regret is that I am not acquainted yet with their first effort.

Tracklist:

01. Komenco

02. Tabula Rasa

03. Kuraman

04. The Words

05. Pluton

06. Koniskas

07. Ennui

08. Void

09. The Other’s Fall

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