Soen : Lykaia
In the world of progressive metal, there’s something refreshing about an album that de-emphasises flashy instrumentation and jarring time signature changes. Each musician in Soen is a master of their respective instrument, but this isn’t shoved in the listener’s face through overzealous solos or technical wankery. Instead, Lykaia works to build a particular atmosphere and draw the listener into a world within the interplay of its instrumentation. In parts, this is successful. Those moments in Lykaia with harmonised vocals can’t be described as anything other than beautiful, and each track feels like it fits very well within the album.
Unfortunately, these positives are not enough for Lykaia to be described as a good album. Jinn is a standout track, but this stems largely from the unexpected melodic structure and instrumentation – the outro, in particular, is outright oriental. As for the rest of Lykaia, ‘unexpected’ is not an applicable description. The musicians are talented, the chord progressions are satisfying, and the vocals are lovely, but as an album it is entirely forgettable. Lykaia is akin to the elevator music of progressive metal – perfectly enjoyable, perfectly pleasant, and not at all noteworthy.
By Sam Gaffney