SOEN, the progressive heavy rock group featuring world-renowned drummer Martin Lopez (formerly of AMON AMARTH and OPETH), will release its fifth album, "Imperial", on January 29, 2021 via Silver Lining Music. The official music video for the latest single, "Monarch", can be seen below.
"'Monarch' is an epic, dynamic song about the traditional attributes of mankind. The belief that showing compassion and kindness is a sign of weakness," explains Lopez. "The lack of direction and guidance in society is turning younger generations into violent and destructive creatures," adds vocalist Joel Ekelöf, "because they are living in an age where bullies are kings and the rest are prey."
On the making of the video, Lopez comments: "Making videos is a difficult task because it means that you need to hand over the control of your music to someone on the outside. You want to make a video that not only represents the lyrical content but that also captures the atmosphere and emotion of the song and for that you need to find a producer that has the capability of understanding and transforming all these words and notes into images and I think we found the right person in Daniele Berretta… It was a pleasure to work with him and we're very happy with how the video turned out."
"Imperial" continues SOEN's unique journey through the psyche of our species and the conundrum of our times. Founding members Ekelöf and Lopez, along with Lars Enok Åhlund (keyboards and guitar), Oleksii "Zlatoyar" Kobel (bass) and Cody Ford (lead guitar) have never shied away from challenging perceptions of life and humanity and have conjured eight crisp and supremely constructed songs spanning themes of frustration, reflection and hope. "Imperial" is the most fierce and dynamic release of SOEN's journey, one which continues to be deeply therapeutic for both the group's dedicated followers and the band themselves.
Lopez states: "In my life, I try to be as real as possible, but I think that the music, and nature, of SOEN are the only place that I really, really feel I can be myself. When you're home, doing music, writing lyrics, that is where you really get to express yourself without any judgement and with total freedom."
Produced by Iñaki Marconi and the band, "Imperial" was mixed and mastered by Kane Churko, who has worked with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and Bob Dylan, giving songs such as "Illusion", "Modesty" and the epic closer "Fortune" a dimension and richness which will reach yet more ears and minds. The power and poetry of SOEN's dynamics are honed more now than ever, something which is perversely a product of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It has obviously been a crazy, terrible thing for everyone, and for us as a band it has been really frustrating not being able to play shows," says Martin, "but also it has given us a clear window of opportunity to realize this album completely. We were able to spend 12 hours a day for many months bringing 'Imperial' to the place we truly wanted, mainly working on the groove and flow of the album."
Lead single "Antagonist" storms through the gates with a massive heavy riff of intent, followed by an epic blend of strength, beauty and defiance of all the world's darkest power mongers, captured in the lyrics "Dependency dampens the wild / Inequity weighs down the motion of progress / Life isn't just to survive."
"We will always be a band that has the old will to fight for freedom and all the important things in life, the people, the underdog," says Lopez. "You have to take on the big question marks such as what the fuck are we doing with our lives and where's the empathy. Why do we keep on testing and crushing ourselves as a species?"
"Imperial" track listing:
"Imperial" is an album which will engage the listener immediately and sustain long after this crazy time has passed, its rich details destined to make it a classic metal album of this era.
"As we continue, we find inspiration in the sad fact that the world is getting more and more polarized, that it's more complex and it's not consensus or people getting along" says Ekelöf. "We continue to try and understand why and how that will affect us all."