Vera : The previous Soen album Lykaia was number one in my list of the year 2017. Thus I am on the tiptoe of expectations when listening to this fourth album Lotus. It is a pity that guitarist Marcus Jidell, he also produced Lykaia, has already gone, but fortunately that does not mean that the emotive, howling guitar sounds are gone too. We understand that Jidell is very busy with his other bands and consequently Lotus happens to be the first album with the Canadian born new guitarist Cody Ford.
Soen is the band that was formed by drummer Martin Lopez after his departure from Opeth, but also vocalist Joel Ekelof defines the sound of this outfit with his beautiful, unique voice. The Swedes make a refined, rather calm style of progressive metal, with a pinch of alternative rock. They do that with deep-draught lyrics, that is why they occasionally call it thinking man metal. The magnificent, quite long songs are produced by David Castillo (mix too) and Jens Bogren (mastering) in an excellent manner. Still a slightly comparison with Opeth and Tool can be noticed, although we can surely say that Soen has a signature sound of their own by now. I have the impression that Lotus appears to be a calmer album than Lykaia, even though nearly every song includes those typical heavy riffs with progressive Ã©lan. Smooth and heartfelt additions of organ and mellotron gives everything a soaring touch and the entire thing is led by the enigmatic chants of Ekelof. This makes the opening song Opponent and the ravishing Lascivious right away mighty songs to listen to. They have shot a weird decadent video for Martyrs. This song has drawling, yet powerful vocals and a thoughtful passage featuring classical piano. The sensitive title track has a superior eruption of momentum on guitars, it will surely give you goose-bumps. The mid-paced Covenant can even be labeled as swinging, while vocals are empyrean and sometimes a bit distorted. Melancholy in the bittersweet Penance and magnificent beauty with crying leads in the quiescent River. Finally they open all registers one more time in Lunacy with tight plucking guitars, rhythms with momentum and an atmospheric passage of captivating brilliance. In this song one might still notice any Tool influences. This is once again a brilliant album by Soen!