Soen

support Celestial Son
author LF date 28/01/16 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

For Tool-fans who are starting to feel a certain impatience with said band, the line-up at Beta tonight is a welcome one. Both bands are heavily inspired by the special brand of prog metal that Tool have made famous but they also have their own take on it, and as such the Swedes in Soen and Danes in Celestial Son are both intriguing in their own ways. The sold-out show is one of the very last in Soen's current touring cycle on the back of their 2014 album "Tellurian", which means that they will soon hit the studio to begin the recording of their third full-length, as they also promise from the stage this evening. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here: first a look at the evening's supporting set.

Celestial Son

After changing their name from Drone and releasing their sophomore album "Saturn's Return" last year, Celestial Son are kicking off 2016 with shows around Denmark in support of it. The very first is this one in with Soen; a band they're no doubt inspired by themselves. They start out with some of the strongest songs from their most recent release, "Nothing in Excess" and "Open Wound", and the scattered audience slowly gather in front of the stage. The band's sound that mixes prog with grunge and industrial elements relies heavily on electronics and is perfectly balanced here, as every little sample or extra vocal support is fully integrated into the soundscape. With one member specifically in charge of samples as well as playing an electronic drum pad and occasionally also a keyboard, their live-show integration of this side of their sound leaves little to be desired. Despite a sold out show, the audience is not very lively at this point though and frontman Rasmus Sjøgren has a tough time activating people at all. The band's crowd interaction is in general very sparse and the set suffers a bit from several awkward breaks in between songs where everyone seems to be just waiting for a sample to get started to kick off the next song. As such, there's progress to be made concerning the flow of their show while the music itself sounds monumental and also makes a few people bang their heads during particularly appealing moments during the songs.

7

Soen

In my experience with Soen in Denmark, their fans are some of the more dedicated ones I have come across and while the band sets up on stage, a big crowd gathers already to get the best spots up front. As the band gets on stage and begins playing, it happens several times that an audience member cries out in joy after a specifically impressive or hard-hitting section of a song, and already the audience is much more engaged than previously. Their music is enveloping and their songs are absolutely enchanting tonight, delivering a sound that I would describe as a mix of Tool-inspired rhythms and riffs with a more dramatic sensibility in the softer parts of the music akin to Opeth's "Damnation" album. The soaring and wavering clean vocals from Joel Ekelöf especially give their music a special feel, and their numerous acapella sections featuring spine-chilling vocal harmonies from several members of the band are spot on throughout the show.

Soen has a very different weight as people on the stage compared to their support band, and even when they have some slight technical problems that result in a longer break in between two songs, the enthusiastic atmosphere in the room doesn't decline. Ekelöf is very good at being inviting and ensuring our attention throughout the show, announcing many songs by title and telling us among other things about their upcoming album plans, to great applause from an anticipating crowd. When they finish with what has been announced as their very last song, most people in the audience stand their ground and clap them back inside for an encore of the immensely beautiful ballad "The Words" followed by the heavier "Pluton", in the same order as on the record. They finish with a communal inclusion of the audience in getting as many as possible to sing along to a guitar melody for a moment which I imagine must have been pretty magical for everyone in the upper half of the room. Further back, the magic trickles down but can't be felt in quite the same way even though Soen altogether deliver one of the more impressive shows I have seen at Beta so far.

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