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Soen - Lotus Award winner

Soen
Lotus
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 04 February 2019, 5:14 AM

Stockholm, Sweden Progressive Metal band SOEN was initially formed by Martin Lopez and Kim Platbarzdis in 2004. Due to a number of reasons SOEN was put on ice, to be resumed with the arrival of Joel Ekelöf in early 2010. Later on in 2010, Steve DiGiorgio was recruited on bass and the band's line-up was finally complete. “Lotus” is the band’s fourth album and contains nine tracks.

“Opponent” leads off the album with a hearty roar. The vocals are harmonized, and the mood is somber. Stenberg’s bass takes up a lot of the space and it can be heard dancing in and around the main riff. The cadence is rather stiff for most of the track, though Ekelöf does tamper a bit with some expansion here and there. “Lascivious” opens with mellow vocals and a thick bass line. The main riff is heavy and aggressive, toying with some variated meters. The chorus is full with vocals that soar. The sound mellows at around the half way mark with some melancholy keys. “Martyrs” has a faster pace and a more oppressive sound that loosens when you least expect it. The keys at the half way mark are beautiful, and it slowly builds from there through the end…a charming composition for sure.

“Lotus” is the title track. Opening with smooth vocals and keys, it’s like a slow wake from a dream, Still hazy, you rub your eyes as things begin to become clear. It’s both somber and alluring at the same time. That guitar solo rips through the clouds like a ray of sunshine, with plenty of bluesy balls. “Covenant” opens with funky guitar chords and again that thick slab of bass. The main riff that ensues is weighted and they move dexterously throughout the remaining meters. The vocals reach high in the chorus, awakening your emotions. “Penance” opens with old-school keys and melancholy vocals. The chorus is absolutely beautiful…rich and expressive. It brings both a peace and a longing that is hard to describe. Then, it turns dark towards the end, lashing out at those longings.

“River” opens with solemn memories. The vocals reach out and grab you by the throat, pulling you into their world. The lead guitar notes mirror the feeling…gutted, wretched and desperate. If this song doesn’t make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, check your pulse, because you might be dead. “Rival” is heavy out of the gates, with a chunky riff, and vocals that are touching. It stays dark throughout, trying to maintain a losing battle with despondence. “Lunacy” closes the album; an eight-minute opus. It has a perfect combination of heaviness and airiness, something that the album does well as a whole. The sound drops nearly completely off after the half way mark, as if the band left. But it comes back slowly and then fades away, a mark of the solemnness of the album as a whole.

Overall, this is a profound album, awakening feelings that you never thought you had. It has a near perfect balance between heavy and melancholy, strikingly familiar yet so far away. The vocals and bass might be the best part…the vocals are so very expressive, and the bass takes center stage, something you don’t hear a lot but something that I appreciate. It leaves you to ponder your existence in this world, with an answer that you might not like.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Opponent
2. Lascivious
3. Martyrs
4. Lotus
5. Covenant
6. Penance
7. River
8. Rival
9. Lunacy
Lineup:
Stefan Stenberg – Bass
Cody Ford – Guitar
Lars Åhlund – Keys, Guitar
Joel Ekelöf – Vocals
Martin Lopez – Drums, Percussion
Record Label: Silver Lining Music
     


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