Soen – Lotus

    Featuring, at various times past and present, former members of Opeth, Testament, Death, Willowtree, and Sadus, Swedish Progressive Metallers Soen are one of that rare breed of ‘supergroup’ that actually makes good music and isn’t just a disappointing ego trip. Soen have spent their career balancing Tool atmospherics and Opeth’s staccato shredding and clean moments to create a style all of their own that is full of light and shade and a back catalogue filled with quality. With their fourth album, Lotus (Silver Lining) the band have crafted their most enjoyable record yet.

    Fans of 2017’s Lykaia (UDR) will find plenty to like here. The overt Tool references of their earliest works have been toned down, and the likes of ‘Martyrs’ and ‘Covenant’ lean more heavily to Ghost Reveries and Watershed-era Opeth in tone and style, with similarly enjoyable results.

    Straight from the off with opener ‘Opponent’ Soen deliver everything that makes this album good; angular riffs, atmospherics, Joel Ekelöf sublime soaring vocals, and quiet melodies, all finely crafted and rolled into one.

    Lotus is at its most effective when everything turns on a dime and switches from the soft melody to punching you with a hard-hitting riff. It’s a trick they do repeatedly but it’s done so well and is effective every time, especially the likes of ‘Lunacy’ and ‘Penance’. There’s not a weak track, and nary a hair out of place. Every note feels like it’s been honed to perfection and balances the jumps from heavy crunching riffs and warm melodies with ease.

    Ekelöf’s vocals are often the focus here, and he does a great job of showing off his talents. ‘Lascivious’ has some, frankly, gorgeously soft melodies that make way for a heavy headbanger of a riff before breaking into in a slow mellow break, while the title track sounds inspired by Deep Purple’s ‘Soldier of Fortune’.

    Heavy yet melodic, filled with light and shade, Lotus retains the core tenants that made their previous albums good and then builds upon them to great effect. An album that combines beauty and warmth with a slew of satisfying riffs.

    9 / 10



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