It has been a busy summer for Swedish prog metal masters Soen, having played at a host of festivals, and with the release of their sixth studio album Memorial, the future’s looking equally hectic. Attesting to a sense of urgency, opening salvo ‘Sincere’ comes out with all guns blazing and immediately lands a few hefty blows. However, this crew are a finely nuanced bunch and there’s a progressive mid-section that’s full of soaring guitars which lull us into a false sense of security before…pow! the rhythm section hits hard to shock us out of our reverie. This push and pull between the loud and quiet will echo throughout Memorial, and it demands the listener’s full engagement; this isn’t the type of album you play as background music, and will fruitfully reward any effort you expend. Much of Memorial’s power comes from vocalist Joel Ekelöf, his impressive range acts like another instrument, adding a rich texture and is able to follow the intricacies of the band, wherever they may lead. Progressive in its truest definition, Soen keep finding ways to move their sound forward, and Memorial marks this moment in time as they take a quantum leap towards the future.