Oops, we almost forgot to review one of the most remarkable releases so far of 2021! The fifth record of Swedish rockers Soen (although guitarist Cody Ford is of Canadian descent) is one that you can’t afford to miss. Like any other band banned from the stage because of a worldwide pandemic the musicians of Soen decided to put every available minute into ‘Imperial’, sometimes spending up to twelve hours per day working on the record. That is why it is a slight disappointment that the playing time of the album is just about 40 minutes in total but let me tell you that not one second of this album is wasted time. Every moment on this album counts for something. With the 2019 album ‘Lotus’ it took me several spins to get into that one but ‘Imperial’ immediately grabbed my full attention, as soon as the riff of opener ,,Lumerian’’ reached my ears. The band is very often compared with Tool and A Perfect Circle. Maybe that is true although I never heard the comparison as clearly as other people obviously did. On ‘Imperial’ Soen has managed to deepen their sound, become more determined and sound much tighter than ever before on their four previous records. Some of the riffs and songs that the lads have come up with are out of this world like the mighty track ,,Monarch’’ that starts off with some sort of alarm but quickly turns into a furious and determined played song with beautiful melodic interludes and singer Joel Ekelof just bringing the right atmosphere in his vocals to lift the song to greater heights. A very versatile yet very intense song. It is just one example but in fact all songs have their own characteristics, their own identity and their own beauty. Discover it and you will find that before you know it you have been captured and mesmerized and you automatically hit the repeat button as soon as the epic closer ,,Fortune’’ (where Ekelof’s singing has a more ‘desperate’ character at stages) has come to an end.
Easy conclusion: ‘Imperial’ is the best album of these boys so far! Beautiful album cover and a beautiful record, what more can a person ask for?