9/10

Ok, hello. This is unexpected… This is the type of music that normally just flies by me. A little bit interesting at first but nothing that lasts or that I usually have the energy to take on. But Soen has something that pulls me in. I want to listen more. I will fully admit that I had no idea that they even existed to start with. But as a fan of exploring new things and taking on things with an open mind, why the hell not? And I am sure glad I did.

To start with Joel Ekelöf has got a very gripping voice. Perfectly balanced between purity of tone, anguish and raw emotion in the delivery. It grabs you and seeks its way through your bone marrow, explores your soul and touches you with every tone.
The songs themselves have a kind of frustrated angst and sadness about them. There is not much tempo to talk about in any of the songs, we almost go towards an American like doom (think Khemmis, sort of), but you have a completely different melody to the songs.

What I thought I would have problems with are the more progressive elements of the music. To me progressive can feel to engaging demanding. Music is for the mind and soul to relax, a kind of meditation and escape. I do not feel that this is an issue here. Sure the elements are there, but all in all the songs stand up well on their own. Melodies as previously said, the whaling guitar, and they have succeeded with delivering the feeling that they are invested in their own creative process and the delivery thereof.
In a way you can say that this album starts out fast and just takes the tempo down and up and then down again.

Structure here is good, because the feeling even in the sort of faster start with “Lumerian & Deceiver” still has all the elements of pain, anguish and regret running through them. We take it down a notch for a few songs and then down again, finishing of the album with the real doom and gloom track ironically called “Fortune”. Nothing in that song feels fortunate. But if you like me are a sucker for depressive music this is pure gold.

One song I could play on repeat for a long time is “Illusion”. Man, I love it. Music is a lot of how you feel when you listen to it. “Illusion” brings out a lot of feelings. So, for me as a listener I get very rewarded with this song and can just sit back, close my eyes and just let the music help me release emotions.
The album is engaging all the way through, great quality of the individual songs, and the most important thing is that it is delivered by a group of musicians that seems to put their hearts and souls into making sure the project what they want to deliver with their music. Thank you.

Band: Soen
Title: Imperial
Label: Warner Music
Date of release: 2021-01-29
Rate: 9/10
Stand out track: Illusion
Country of Origin: Sweden
Playing time: 42 minutes