If anything, Soen are dependable. It feels like every two years they drop a new album right at the beginning of the year. This being two years from their last release, it is not unexpected to see the drop their latest, Imperial.

Are we still mainly referring to these guys’ as Martin Lopez’s post-Opeth band? Or are we clinging to referring them to our favorite producer of Tool albums from a band that just happens to not be Tool? I don’t know, man. But it feels like we should move on from those backhanded labels and just take Soen on their own merits since we’re now on album number five.

The new album continues on with the band’s signature combination of prog metal with some punch and some seriously emotive proggy ballads. Ballads might not be the right word for their songs of a softer side, but I’m kind of at a loss on how else to describe them. Shit, I hate to do this, but the Tool comparisons are hard to avoid. Singer Joel Ekelof just channels a laid back Maynard and Lopez just drives the band forward with his tight double bass fills. All in all, a pretty good installment in the Soen catalog.

3.5 flip flops out of 5

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