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Soen - Lotus CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.92 | 212 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars I had listened to Soen long ago, and I, sadly, thought it was too much of a Tool copy to be interesting to me. I love Tool, but one band doing that is enough for me. I read somewhere that Martin Lopez was tired and angry of the comparison and of the fact that people didn't listen to the music by itself. I am totally guilty of this, but I am also always looking for original stuff, be it in terms of sound, composition, mixing of styles, etc. I am a tireless devourer of surprises.

But I have another side. Sometimes you find a record that although not profoundly innovative, is so good and well done that it turns to be the pinnacle of a certain style. For me, this is one of those. And what a record! (I must say that strictly speaking, a record that belongs in this category is always innovative, it just isn't in an avant-garde way)

I came by Lotus as a Spotify personalized recommendation and gave it a spin. You never know: some of my recent favorite records have been discovered this way.

I. Was. Floored.

As I said before, this is not anything new in terms of any of the categories I mentioned before. But it is so well made it just gets immediately to the top of my records encyclopedia. So much so, that even though I read prog archives reviews fairly regularly in search for new records, I had never written a prog archives review before - but given the divided ones I've seen so far about Lotus, I felt I had to contribute more light to this quiet masterpiece. It's the kind of record that can get by you without you knowing about it and that would be a pity.

I'd describe Lotus as the best mix of grunge, classic keyboards, pop and metal I've ever heard. It is all perfectly synthesized together. The production is dark but clear - a difficult image to illustrate. It is really well done and mixed, it all seems one chunk but with great clarity. Like a painting by Rothko, where although every color is similar, they are all distinct from each other and with so many great textures!

Onto the different elements:

The thing that most hooked me at first was the killer vocal melodies. This is one of my weak spots: it must be my picky nature, but I find great vocalists who sing memorable melodies are far and apart. If I ever stumble upon one, pfff, it's like hitting a direct pocket of pure pleasure. And I love my melodies emotional and catchy. In this sense I get a similar feeling, for example, to when I first heard Anathema's Untouchable Part 1 and 2. The music is different, darker, but the vocal melodies are as emotional and soaring. It is proper Pop-Metal, a precious thing indeed for us lovers of both styles.

As an apart: the only other recent example of a voice that has recently moved me (and, mind you, it is a very different style) is Spencer Sotelo's vocals in Reptile off of Periphery's "Hail Stan". I used to dislike Periphery for Sotelo, but now I am a convert. That record is FAF!

Back to Lotus:

The drumming is awesome too: tasteful but creative. This is my favourite kind of drumming, restrained and swingy. You can see it is his personal project. The Danny Carey influences are there, but mostly he does a minimalistic approach that contributes as well as Ringo Starr did to The Beatles.

The bass is foundational in every song and it really sounds great, coming from tool but different. I LOVE the sound! Can I have more please? And the low frequencies in general are just boomingly good. Very good presence of the bass. (Although it must be said that in lesser sound systems it does sound too boomy).

The guitars manage to be more textural than flashy which is such a difficult thing in metal. I guess the temptation is always to try and be the centerpiece. But in general, this tires me. In this case it is a complement to the whole, with great felt solos to boot. Another record I love a lot and has these kind of mix for guitars is Emarosa by Emarosa. And it's a great reference if you want to check that out too.

Last but not least there is the keyboards, which really seem to make the best bed on which the rest of the instruments rest. The atmosphere's are incredible and subtle. Really, I cannot give it higher praise than it reminding me of Pink Floyd. It's like what Opeth does in the later records, only, for me, in a better musical context (Up until now I haven't been able to love Opeth. Until now at least). They keys really feel complimentary in a retro prog kind of way.

In terms of the lyrics, I find them good inspirational and heartfelt. As everything else in the record: rock-solid and actually quite trascendental.

So, if you can't tell by all of the above I find the record superlative: It's a home-run!

Listen to it on good speakers at high volume. You deserve it!

Always a pleasure to find records like this, proper pieces of art and not scattered songs that can't make a whole. The experience is total and totally recommendable. If you like Riverside (Eye of the Soundscape has a different sound, but the same kind of classic song really well constructed), Pink Floyd, Anathema, grunge and even maybe Tool you have to give it a try. But really, Soen has become a thing of it's own. I guess they do deserve to be called innovative.

Song to sample the album: Covenant.

Namya | 5/5 |


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