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, “Illusion”, which follows the tale of a father and daughter in their quest for survival in a dystopian universe, can be seen below. The song is described in a press release as “an addictive ballad brimming with bewitching guitar riffs, powerhouse-soaring chorus and a poignant message for all of us to reflect on.”
Says Lopez: “‘Illusion’ is a song about the shared responsibility amongst us if we wish to improve the world, change has to be made by us, you and me… the people. It’s about the frustration of feeling powerless but also the hope in realizing that things can be changed for the better, if we stop criticizing each other and making enemies of ourselves by blindly following the ideas of politicians and their media.”
Vocalist Joel Ekelöf adds: “We can’t just sit around and wait for those in power to help. They are preoccupied with battling each other in matters of greed and power.”
Video producer Daniele Zed Berretta says: “The ‘Illusion’ video is about dreamers. There are people who are ready to lose everything to follow their dreams, no matter the cost. Others are afraid of making dreams come true, so they stop right before fulfilling them, just to keep dreaming.”
“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.”