Austria's MetalUnderground.at recently conducted an interview with SOEN — the Swedish progressive rock band featuring drummer Martin Lopez (ex-OPETH, AMON AMARTH), vocalist Joel Ekelöf (WILLOWTREE), guitarist Joakim Platbarzdis and bassist Stefan Stenberg. You can now watch the chat below.
SOEN's sophomore studio album, "Tellurian", will be released on November 4 via Spinefarm Records.
As "Tellurian" makes plain, SOEN is not concerned with the simple or the shallow; their musical journey takes an altogether more ambitious path, and the result is an expansive body of work, wrapped up in the stunning art of Mexican painter José Luis López Galván, that consistently challenges without being "clever-clever" or tough to enjoy.
The melodies are intricate, the playing muscular and the choruses soaring; overall, the feel is one of a band whose intent is very much in synch with the sort of core values — skilled musicianship, emotion over precision, importance of album artwork — that seem to be back in vogue.
Produced by Platbarzdis, mixed by the legendary Grammy Award-winning David Bottrill (TOOL, SMASHING PUMPKINS, MUSE, KING CRIMSON) and mastered at Bob Ludwig's Gateway setup in the U.S. by Adam Ayan, also a Grammy winner, "Tellurian" sees SOEN taking the approach of their "Cognitive" debut (2012, Spinefarm) and pushing the boundaries in terms of musical scope, the whole thing shot through with the confidence of a band who have found their voice.
Rhythmic, experimental and flowing, and with the "muso" side never taking precedence over a good song and a telling chorus, "Tellurian" ("relating to, or inhabiting the earth") will appeal to anyone with an ear for quality playing, and there's further reward to be had below the surface, with the lyrics taking a more direct route than on "Cognitive", and the construction of the material — including first single/video "Tabula Rasa" ("Clean Slate") — allowing room for the raw emotion to shine through.
"Tellurian" track listing:
02. Tabula Rasa
04. The Words
09. The Other's Fall
The "Tabula Rasa" video was directed by Kirke Ailio Rodwell, whose work displays a flair for style, attention to detail and one-of-a-kind perspective. He says: "In a way, the video summarizes life, with its moments of zest and sadness.
"It was such a great experience to work with SOEN, who trusted me and my team to capture the extremes of life. They are talented musicians and have visions that closely coincide with my own — which is rare and truly special for me."