The obvious thing even before entering the venue was that the place would be packed. The open doors of the concert hall were spilling out both music and fans alike onto the back terrace where lots of other concertgoers occupying most of the tables were enjoying themselves from afar with a cold beverage in front of them. The show was sold out and the fans came in droves to experience what Soen had to offer from both older materials but especially the new one they are promoting: “Imperial”.
The show was opened by our own White Walls but unfortunately I arrived a little too late to enjoy their entire set. I managed to catch only the last three songs, all from their 2020 album “Grandeur”. I don’t think any more words are necessary to tell you who White Walls are or why the fans filled Quantic Pub’s concert hall so early to see them. Although I do have to say that no matter how many times I might listen to them live I will always be impressed by the cinematic quality of their sound and the richly image-evoking lyrics coupled with the raw passion that Eugen infuses in his vocals. You could tell by the public’s reaction to the interactions that they are a well liked band that will always be appreciated and expected to deliver. And deliver they did even in that short window of time I managed to assist.
With “Marche Funebre” being the poignant conclusion to their set and in my opinion the perfect end to a great performance, we were ready to receive Soen’s gift of music.
An so, to the sound of war sirens and blasting drumbeats, we were introduced to “Imperial” by way of “Monarch”, one of the heavier songs on the album. A song that so effortlessly falls into a mellower rhytm at points only to pick up again, keeping you engaged and connected to what’s happening on stage.
Keeping the momentum going with the same energy the band jumped into “Rival” and “Deceiver” after that, both songs that feature heavier riffs but also sections that drop the intensity to a minimum. This is a common theme for the band, choosing to mix the highs and the lows in order to create a more gripping experience. I don’t think this would be possible without the great performance Joel Ekelöf puts forth every time he is on stage and this shined through on “Deceiver”.
Next up was “Lunacy”. I personally feel like this one is a closer. The entire progression of the song feels like a journey almost come to an end and Joel did a great job of conveying this emotion to the audience. It just felt a bit weird, especially when followed by a hard hitting “Martyrs”. I enjoyed it nonetheless and enjoyed the next song even more when I realized it was going to be “Savia”, one of my favorites from their older materials. We were entertained with two more songs from the new album and one from “Lotus” until we reached what i consider to be the shining moment of the show. I am talking about the song “Lucidity” which in fact felt more like a dream than anything else. The slow dripping syrupy sound and the much more hushed and tender vocals envelop you in their warmth and make you sway. It was a heartfelt performance that reduced the audience to silence. As I said to a friend during the show: „it felt like one big hug”.
This feeling was further enforced by the genuine interactions that the band had with the public, expressing their gratitude for the big number of supporters and the love they were shown, and in turn congratulating White Walls on their performance.
The show carried on with two more songs from the new material that worked as a counterpart to eachother, „Antagonist” being the heavier one and „Illusion” the quieter one, a ballad fit to close the show but only up until the much desired encore which was not one, not two but three songs. The band decided it was only proper to pick it up a bit so „Lascivious” kicked off the encore, followed by „Sectarian” and finally ending on „Lotus”.
At the end I actually felt cheated because the concert went by so fast. I guess what I am trying to say is that it was good. Very good. And as all good things in life it felt like it ended in a heartbeat.
Also, I feel like even though we might not know it, Soen is one of the bands you have to see live at least once and if I took something away from this show, is this: it takes a single listen of „Imperial” to say without a doubt that they managed to detach themselves from the long casting shadow of the TOOL comparison hanging above the band’s head for far too long. We can safely say that they sound like Soen and no one else.