Review Summary: I can't go on. I will go on.
First loves are usually the hardest to overcome. Could it be the limited emotional span we have or a mere absurd attachment to a perceived golden age, when things seemed fresh and promising? There is a certain sense of romanticism looking back, nostalgic and bittersweet memories filling our mind. It is when we take a quick glimpse to our younger - most of all, naive - selves, we crave time had stopped, crystallizing a moment, holding our breaths near a lover or relative or friend we couldn't leave behind, but we just as well did.
Such is the case of Soen, a band with immense talent who would hold onto adored music formulas of the past and couldn't let go. Critics and fans alike found many similarities between them and other well established progressive metal bands. The cold, rhythmic style was deemed reminiscent of Tool, while the guitar tone and riffs objectively resembled Opeth. With their sophomore album, Tellurian
, Soen's sound diverged from its initial path, acquiring a more distinctive and unique edge. Still, however, the flowers of influences had roots going deep. With Lykaia
, Soen seem confident with a style that, while not half original, is undeniably their own. At last.
Comprised by mature compositions only, each one having merits on its own, Lykaia
most certainly classifies Soen in the spectrum of progressive metal where the target is atmosphere, rather than flashy instrumentation. In a few words, Lykaia
is a study on interplay. Bass with drums, aggression with tranquility, melody with ambience, blended together in a whirling dance, never losing balance, never losing focus. It is varied and colourful, flowing effortlessly, with a stellar production that helps all instruments prove their organic contribution. Joel Ekelöf's voice is a constant highlight, most notably on Lucidity
, the softest, most gentle song on Lykaia
. Martin Lopez does a great job on drums as usual and I'm particularly pleased with bassist Stefan Stenberg and his soulful and omnipresent playing.
First loves are usually the hardest to overcome. Soen know that and have opted to move on. Is there room for improvement? Of course, a not developing artist is a doomed one. Now, however, it is our turn as an audience to leave our
first loves behind and evaluate Soen soberly. We have been seeking for a face in the crowd that is no more and isn't supposed
to be there anyway. Before judging and rejecting Soen for what they were never meant to be, maybe we should admire them for who they really are.