Soen - Lykaia
Fan-damn-tastic Swedish prog metal. Some of it makes me think "Tool meets middle-period Opeth, with all clean vocals". (The drummer is a former member of Opeth, so there's an actual connection there...)
Any fans of Opeth who were disappointed with the left turn they took into retro-prog worship after Watershed
, or frustrated by the extended drought of Tool releases, or, really, anyone who enjoys heavy prog rock or prog metal would be well advised to check this band out. Sure, they wear their influences overtly (and proudly, it would seem), and may seem derivative at times; but it's all very well done. Easily one of the best releases of 2017.
The CD was stupid expensive on Amazon, but Bandcamp had it as a lossless FLAC download for $9 so I went with that.
The first track from the album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11CvvggCPrI
Edit: Some thoughts on production values... the claim is that this album was "recorded using analog equipment". Compared to their previous release Tellurian
, I'd say it does have a warmer, more organic sound (whereas Tellurian
sounded crisper, but also a bit more clinical). Obviously this is a matter of personal preference; TBH I slightly prefer the sound on Tellurian
. I think both would have benefited from less dynamic range compression; the "loudness wars" continue unabated. Ironically, the compression actually seems a bit more apparent on Lykaia
; IMO the music would have more impact if they'd backed it off a notch or two.