Written by: PP on 02/04/2012 17:41:12

There are few bands in the world who no-one either dares to copy, or cannot copy to a reasonable degree while still releasing a good product. One of these is Tool. Despite being one of the most critically acclaimed experimental bands of our time, their progressively winded music - which some consider to be almost a genre in itself - has seldom landed on my review desk stamped with a different band name. It does happen on occasion, though and one of those occasions is "Cognitive", the debut album by Soen.

Soen is an international supergroup featuring, among others, drummer Martin Lopez (ex-Opeth, Amon Amarth) and bassist Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus, Testament, Death, Iced Earth), who seemingly aren't afraid to plagiarise the Tool arsenal to an almost preposterous extent. Pretty much the entirety of "Cognitive" reads and sounds like "Lateralus"-era Tool, whether it's the thick bass lines, the progressive and inventive guitar riffs, the textured drumming, or especially the vocals by the hitherto unknown Joel Ekelöf, who takes more than few pages from Maynard James Keenan's songbook. So close is the similarity in places that one has to wonder whether a lawsuit isn't waiting just around the corner.

The good news, however, is that Soen can actually pull it off. "Cognitive" is easily the best Tool album I've heard that wasn't released by Tool. Songs like "Canvas", "Fraccions", and "Oscillation" remind us why Tool is so highly revered, even if they don't tell us much about Soen's identity as a band. Carefully constructed, slightly pretentious (in the arrogant sense) and intellectually challenging progressive rock that still manages to stay catchy and accessible comes at a premium these days, and given how Tool practically never releases albums (two per decade, what the hell), "Cognitive" is a welcome addition to the club.


Download: Fraccions, Canvas, Oscillation
For the fans of: Tool, A Perfect Circle, Bokor, Riverside, Drone
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.03.2012
Spinefarm Records

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