CD Reviews

Soen - 'Tellurian' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 15, 2015    
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A contender for album of the year.

Swedish Progressive Metallers Soen returns with their sophomore album 'Tellurian'. Described in some quarters as a "super-group", the band consists of drummer Martin Lopez (ex Opeth, Amon Amarth), vocalist Joel Ekelof (Willowtree), guitarist Joakim Platbarzdis and bassist Stefan Stenberg who has replaced Steve DiGiorgio.

The album begins with a short instrumental with Latin influences and then thunderous drums and crashing guitars herald the arrival of first single 'Tabula Rasa' which contains lots of complicated riffs and hypnotic vocals from Ekelof, especially during the second half of the song which is more mellow. 'Kuraman' is a cracking track sounding like Dream Theater in parts (shock horror) and again featuring powerful drumming from Lopez. 'The Words' is the closest thing to a ballad on the album and Ekelof's haunting vocals are complimented by Stenberg's Jazzy bass and the song also has some wonderful orchestration.

'Pluton' also has a monstrous intro with drums, guitar and bass producing a really Progressive and powerful sound with a lighter shade during the middle – great song! 'Koniskas' opens with another pronounced bass line from Stenberg and Lopez showers us with more South American fills and amazing time signatures.

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Platbarzdis must get a mention for his exceptional playing throughout, the only complaint I have is that there are no guitar solos, however, that is a minor quibble and does not at all detract from the very high quality of this exceptional piece of work. He also produced 'Tellurian' and with the help of David Bottrill's mixing (Tool, Smashing Pumpkins, Muse, King Crimson) we have a great sounding album with each instrument being allowed to breathe.

'Ennui' contains more great bass work from Stenberg and some awesome riffs from Platbarzdis and Lopez again proves why he is one of the most respected drummers in this genre.

'Void' and 'The Other's Fall' complete the fifty-four minute (where did that go... yes it is that good) album. Both tracks are very Progressive and display how the band's song-writing has developed. They are longer than the rest of the songs, both clocking in between eight and nine minutes and with this extra time the band have the luxury to go in different directions.
A special mention must go to the stunning artwork of Mexican painter Jose Luis Lopez Galvan.

Soen's debut 'Cognitive' was compared to Tool in many quarters and that album had more of an Alternative feel to it. 'Tellurian' is a totally different beast and I feel privileged being able to review it and I'm not sure my scribblings can do it justice. I really can't wait to see where their next album takes us. For me, this is a contender for album of the year*!

Az Chaudhry

(* ... 2014)

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