I mention expectations a lot in these reviews and that’s because I’m aware that whenever I listen to something new, I have a set of expectations in mind going in, in regards to how that particular piece of music is supposed to sound, based on what genre it belongs to, the artist’s or artists’ previous work and (sigh…) what other people say about it. Usually, I try not to get my hopes up too much, since when those hopes aren’t met, disappointment happens and there are few sentiments more unpleasant than disappointment.
I had one expectation from Soen’s Lykaia, and that was to vaguely remind me of Tool in order to ease the pain that is waiting for the new Tool album. That was all it needed to for me to find some enjoyment in it. The fact that they sound like Tool is one of the main reasons I even know of Soen’s existence.
What makes Lykaia so good, though, is that the band surpasses being just another Tool clone on this album and channels their influences into a sound of their own. Opeth is also a rather large one among their influences, which makes a lot of sense when you find out that Soen was founded by ex-Opeth drummer Martin Lopez, whose drumming is one of the biggest elements that still make Blackwater Park Opeth’s best album so far. What I also want to point out by mentioning these other bands is that, while Lykaia is a fantastic album in terms of both technicality and songwriting, it all has a familiar flair.
The anthem-like album opener, „Sectarian”, is my favorite song on the album and songs like „God’s Acre”, „Orison”, „Stray” and „Lucidity” follow suit. The song „Jinn” has a memorable moment between the 2:30 and the 3:00 minute marks. I would also like to point out that the vocals here are amazing, and can elevate otherwise unremarkable tracks like „Lucidity” to greatness status.
All in all, I recommend giving this album a try, especially if you’re into progressive music of any kind. It shows that good execution can overcome an apparent lack of originality, resulting in a record that I would consider among the best of 2017.