Soen play an expansive, almost spacey brand of “progressive” and boundary-pushing metal that somehow remains both very human and quite heavy, making it exciting. The band — including high profile members like former Opeth drummer Martin Lopez — feel like they tie together a diverse array of sonic threads with a special attention to detail that lets their music really prove expansive and exciting on their 2019 album Lotus, which releases February 1 via Silver Lining Music. The various styles they present come crashing down in a heavy metal triumph that feels designed to take the listener and elevate them to new heights.
The band tread a fine line between a multitude of different alternatives to get to their musically elevated point. On the one hand, they choose to remain focused with their at times somewhat experimental metal, feeling like their goals rest more with creating a particular experience than proving they can play this note or that note. Still, a sense pervades Lotus that the musicians themselves are having a good time presenting their craft, which only helps the listener along in their own journey with the music. There’s a very open-ended and even community building aspect of Soen’s sound.
They take sonically massive themes — like metallic soundscapes, tidal waves of riffs, and an even more strenuous sound left after those crash in — and let them serve an apparent broader artistic aim. There’s almost a sense that Soen didn’t have to stretch themselves to craft their uniquely progressive Lotus and these tracks are simply what flowed from them naturally, although countless hours no doubt went into this record. The tracks themselves just have a natural and relentless flow that keeps the band — and the listener — above water and looking squarely ahead.
The music almost feels psychedelic at times, but not at the expense of clear musicianship. There’s simply a pervading, cerebral and ultimately almost surreal sense to the record, like it provides an out of body experience. While the musicians might have found a natural wellspring of the musical ability required to craft Lotus — they obviously poured themselves into cultivating that spring, zeroing in on turning progressive metal into even more of an affecting experience than before.
Check out a single below.