Soen
Imperial


3.5
great

Review

by Fernando Alves STAFF
January 30th, 2021 | 88 replies


Release Date: 01/29/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Just like an old friend we keep inviting over.

Soen has been a faithful companion for the past few years. Their simple song-oriented formula, while never delivering anything artistically relevant, has always appealed to me. This is mainly due to the fact that the lads are able to write engaging songs without resorting to challenging techniques. This minimalist approach to music has been the band's main signature and has never undergone any significant mutation. I would just like to underline that Tool's ubiquitous presence on their debut album has faded, giving way to a more personalized formula that places Soen in a niche of their own. Despite the stylistic coherence between the various releases, only the founding members Joel Ekelöf (vocals) and Martin Lopez (drums) remain at the helm, thus being the backbone of the collective. However, regardless of lineup changes, Soen's sound never strayed too far from the predefined route, which indicates that the band's foundations are firmly established.

What drew my attention in the first singles, in addition to their expected familiarity, was the mastering and the snare sound, which weren't entirely to my liking. There's a roughness in both that doesn't seem to work well with the band's polished sound. First impressions are what they are, but you could say I didn't start off on the right foot. Which is not to say I didn't enjoy 'Antagonist' and 'Monarch', both interesting songs that are consistent with Soen's legacy. I just didn't get overly excited. Something that would change radically with the third single, 'Illusion', whose memorable chorus and guitar solo are among the best moments the band has ever recorded. Interesting how the technical aspects that had bothered me in the two previous tracks disappeared almost completely due to the song's intrinsic quality. Although it sounds cliché, quality always overcomes. The melancholic Gilmour-ish solo rises majestically through the delicate musical structure that moves in slow motion, gently flowing until it floods us completely. Soen's finesse thus reaches its peak, and the album its greatest highlight.

Despite swaying in safe territories, Imperial never plunges into mediocrity. The mournful endings of 'Monarch' and 'Modesty', both accompanied by violin, or the slow-paced 'Fortune', are inspired moments that will surely please the fanbase. 'Antagonist's' main riff also deserves to be mentioned, as it carries the vigorous energy deeply embedded in the band's personality. The underlying predictability in Soen's music is thus counterbalanced either by these inspiring nuances or by solid musical performances that aim to deliver only what the song asks for, and nothing else. And when a musician plays for the sake of music and not his ego, the song always ends up winning.

Imperial is just like that old friend we keep inviting over. We already know all the conversations, every joke, each smile and outburst, without ever uncovering secrets or exciting new things. But in spite of all this, we would never replace him with someone else, because in the end, this routine is sometimes the anchor we need in our life.



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user ratings (149)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2021


15866 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

As expected, the lads remain in their comfort zone, but the album does have good songs, especially 'Illusion'.

Imperial is available on all streaming platforms.



Digging: Cannibal Corpse - Violence Unimagined

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2021


13938 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Those singles they popped out before the release day were definitely the strongest off this, but the rest doesn’t exactly slouch

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2021


15866 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yep, the singles are my favorite tracks. Modesty and Fortune are also good jams.

SrpskiCekic
January 30th 2021


67 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Finally, a review.

This is a re-release of Lotus with a different mastering style and one or two new ideas. This definitely misses the mark as their most uninspired offering yet.

Titan
January 30th 2021


22061 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review bro! I enjoyed the 3 singles as well so I will definitely be spinning this

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2021


15866 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Titan bro ;)

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2021


13938 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

— And yes, a few djenty riffs are one of these new...—



These are just called riffs bro...

Jethro42
January 31st 2021


16322 Comments


I've only listened to Lykaia. I remember the drumming was done by Lopez from Opeth. I also remember not liking the thing as a whole. Not sure why. Too samey maybe. Gonna read your review, bro. And a prog review is for when? :P

Good job on the review!

LeddSledd
January 31st 2021


4679 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thought the guitar solos were pretty cool, but I'm sorry these guys can hardly write an engaging song

Digging: Brainiac - Bonsai Superstar

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 31st 2021


24175 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is on the menu today, gonna be spinning it out this afternoon, solid review Notrap!

Digging: Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The LSO - Promises

Divaman
January 31st 2021


9415 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'll probably give this a first listen later tonight.

Digging: Grouplove - This Is This

heck
January 31st 2021


5713 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this is so boring

Digging: ERRA - ERRA

DarkNoctus
January 31st 2021


11450 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

illusion is such a banger

Digging: Kauan - Ice Fleet

porcupinetheater
Contributing Reviewer
January 31st 2021


7520 Comments


Ima tell my friend that I rate 'em a 3.5 out of 5 next time I have 'em over for dinner

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
January 31st 2021


15866 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And don't forget to tell him he's great.



Thanks guys!

illusion is such a banger [2]



"And a prog review is for when?"

Cheers mate. Well, this is kinda proggy ;) I'm planning to review some prog in the coming months, namely classics without reviews yet.

DDDeftoneDDD
January 31st 2021


16923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Ei. I figured you d rev this m/

Will check

Digging: Kauan - Ice Fleet

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
January 31st 2021


15866 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers D

farmerobama
January 31st 2021


410 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Never been huge on these guys, but Lotus was alright, so gotta give this a spin. Good review!

Digging: Mythic Sunship - Wildfire

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 31st 2021


24175 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This starts strong, hell yes.

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
January 31st 2021


15866 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, it has good jams, I believe you'll love 'Illusion'.



Thanks farmerobana.



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