Soen
Cognitive


3.3
great

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
February 19th, 2012 | 159 replies | 22,059 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A highly derivative, yet impeccably executed progressive rock debut.

Sometimes it's enough to take a quick glimpse at the album cover to trace the style of the band. This is exactly the case with the new Swedish progressive rock outfit, Soen. Formed by Opeth's former drummer Martin Lopez along with guitarist Kim Platbarzdis back in 2005, Soen have released their debut disc only this year after recruiting singer Joel Eklof and bassist Steve DiGiorgio of Testament and Death fame. The artwork of Cognitive aptly recalls Tool's magnum opus, Lateralus, as both records share the same rhythmic sensibilities and harmony-oriented approach to vocals. In fact, Soen's debut disc sounds like a mellower, more accessible version of the aforementioned classic both abandoning some of Tool's potentially risky experimentation and putting a stronger emphasis on a sorrowful, contemplative tone which has its origin in art rock.

Even though Cognitive is a highly derivative effort, Soen manage to make their music relevant or even eminently desirable for those who await the next Tool album with interest. Unlike copious clones, Soen are actually remarkably skilled musicians who have an uncanny knack for crafting arresting songs from familiar ingredients. Such tracks as “Delenda” and “Canvas” abound with adventurous progressions and flashy, yet hardly self-indulgent musicianship. The instruments are in full cooperation with one another, which results in an admirably technical, focused sound. Lopez's drumming is nothing short of amazing displaying both great precision and creativity in the use of tribal patterns. Bassist Steve DiGiorgio helps to maintain the hypnotic vibe with his exceptionally tuneful playing, while Kim Platbarzdis' guitar work ranges from airy, art-rock inspired passages to heavy-on-groove metallic sections in such songs as “Purpose” and “Slithering” that boast truly memorable leading riffs.

An immensely powerful musicianship is juxtaposed with entirely clean, dreamy vocals of Joel Eklof. His inclination to craft startling harmonies comes as commendable, yet his voice never reaches the intensity level of Maynard James Keenan. Another serious drawback of Eklof's performance is that his singing is not diverse enough to convey the plethora of musical moods being evoked. For instance, heavily syncopated sections of “Oscillation” could certainly use harsher, more dynamic vocal delivery. Aside from that, there isn't really much to complain given that Soen mostly steer clear of traditional song structures to make room for unexpected tempo shifts as well as multi-layered progressions.

Overall, Cognitive finds Soen head and shoulders above their peers in terms of musicianship and song craft. Nonetheless, the album is devoid of any originality delivering a slightly watered-down take on the formula that made Tool so formidable. Soen's presentation is sufficiently powerful to label them as the best group that has ever tried to recapture the magic and aura of Tool. However, if they want to become fully credible, the subsequent releases of theirs will need to explore the individual voice of the band to a much greater extent.



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user ratings (125)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
SgtShock (3.5)
While not terribly original, Soen shows they have the chops to more than make up for it....


Comments:Add a Comment 
MO
February 19th 2012



17367 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sweet this dropped?

oh and fix this "Steve DiGiordio"

Digging: Soundtrack - Turok 2: Seeds of Evil OST

greg84
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2012



7162 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

It's my 50th review. The video for Savia:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VEFORk1wYA

Digging: Floor - Oblation

pizzamachine
February 19th 2012



12568 Comments


Great review (happy 50th), this sounds pretty cool.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
February 19th 2012



18228 Comments


I've been pretty excited for this, gonna listen now.

Good reivew, pos'd.

Digging: Benoit Pioulard - Hymnal Remixes

xfearbefore
February 19th 2012



1196 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Holy shit that album cover is actually my desktop background. Clearly this is a sign that I should check this album out.

Creepy.

Digging: Placebo - Sleeping With Ghosts

Inveigh
February 19th 2012



24192 Comments


good review, congrats on 50 dude.

Digging: Symptom - Caverns Of Katabasis

Aristotle
February 19th 2012



106 Comments


this is pretty legit. I like

Aristotle
February 19th 2012



106 Comments


GRANTED THAT SINGER IS A MAYNARD WANNA BE

Inveigh
February 19th 2012



24192 Comments


I just watched that video...

I wish I could have seen what it was like to film it, just asking the members of the band to stand around mostly motionless, looking all super serious and shit

MO
February 19th 2012



17367 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So awesome to see Lopez back behind the kit. His playing here is miles above when he was with Opeth...crazy.

Dimor
February 19th 2012



1738 Comments


Hey, Thats my frickin Sputnik profile pic as album cover! im gonna go with xfear's argument here, its a sign that should listen to this.

DeadBeat
February 19th 2012



529 Comments


I have to hear this

ohfoxxxycole
February 19th 2012



4350 Comments


this looks cool

dcha
February 19th 2012



989 Comments


Does OP know what derivative means?

paxman
February 19th 2012



4083 Comments


Excellent review. You should be staffed

WashboardSuds
February 19th 2012



4888 Comments


I've seen that album cover before somewhere

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins

Tyrannic
February 19th 2012



3224 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

officially beyond interested in this great review

jefflebowski
February 19th 2012



6842 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

isn't that album art in the liner notes to lateralus or something?

dcha
February 19th 2012



989 Comments


http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff170/caryramey/tool.jpg

jefflebowski
February 19th 2012



6842 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

so they just nicked some tool album art for their cover? classy



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