Upon first hearing Cognitive, the debut release from Soen, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this album could perhaps be some trophy the metal gods themselves feared and worshipped high up on their glorious mountain until one day it fell from the heavens into the undeserving hands of man. However, listen closer and you’ll see this is simply the outcome of collaboration from some of the most metal beings to have ever existed… Martin Lopez (ex-Opeth, Amon Amarth), Steve DiGiorgio (Testament) and Joel Ekelof (Willowtree).
Being of the progressive vein, the album draws some parallels to ‘prog’ giants Tool though manages to proceed and grow down paths that are quite unique to this sound. Opening track Fraktal is creepy as fuck, with vocals played in reverse. The track is dark, foreboding and amazing – a perfect progression into follow-up track Fraccions; an instant change in dynamics, Fraccions is hard and by no means pretty. The whole album carries a motif of bass-driven sound, which is very prominent in this track, and although the guitar and drums seem to be doing their own things, they all come together in a highly technical and simply cool groove.
Delenda opens up in somewhat of a messy fashion, though mellows out to deliver my personal favourite off the album. Delenda is like a 5-track EP in one song, stopping and starting, speeding up just to slow down it seems. Last Light takes a more experimental turn with very prevalent bongo drums in the intro. This track does, however, border very close to ‘too similar to Tool’ before it opens up into a slow, heartfelt ballard, adding more to the ‘mind fuck’ factor contained in this album.
Oscillation once again brings us instruments that appear to be totally self-sufficient of one another. Until Pow! Right in the kisser, everything comes together for a chorus that is by no means technical, but super powerful. The tracks all seem to finish before you get a chance to mentally process them, but hey, that’s where the reply value comes from. Purpose is one of these tracks – over before it started but it’s four minutes of some of the most profound, technical and incredible music.
The album finishes with Savia. Well played Soen, harnessing all your musical influences to create an album that finishes in a manner that is totally different to how it began. Anyone can create an album by throwing power chords, double kick and finger-picking bass into random order, but it takes true talent from the metal god themselves to have the insight, skill and patience to place these said elements in an order that at first appears random, but is really an intricate tapestry of lightness, darkness, heart pumping, calmness and energy that will make you sit the fuck down and listen to every word.