When Soen started work on their latest album IMPERIAL, they couldn't have predicted that the divided and broken world they were writing about would be even more isolated and fractured by the time of the album's release.
But, if anything, it's made the album's themes seem more relevant than ever.
We caught up with the two founding members at home in Sweden: watch the video below for the story behind IMPERIAL.
"The record was written before the pandemic," says singer Joel Ekelöf. "It’s more that the subjects are being enforced by the pandemic, the troubles and the things around have become more clear."
Drummer Martin Lopez agrees: "Lyrically there are themes that would fit the pandemic, because we try to write about society and the issues that we go through. The pandemic released this anguish in everyone…"
You can hear that anguish in IMPERIAL. Intense, epic and powerful, it promises to be one of the metal albums of 2021. Eight cathartic songs that cement Soen's position as a band to watch: musically powerful and with plenty to say.
“We will always be a band that has the will to fight for freedom and all the important things in life, the people, the underdog,” says Lopez. “You have to take on the big question marks such as what the fuck are we doing with our lives and where’s the empathy? Why do we keep on testing and crushing ourselves as a species?”
“As we continue, we find inspiration in the sad fact that the world is getting more and more polarized, that it’s more complex and it’s not consensus or people getting along,” says Ekelöf. “We continue to try and understand why and how that will affect us all.
"I think it is even toxic to the metal community as well," he says. "The metal community used to be everyone together for metal. You disregarded politics and the background that the other person had, as long as you were on the same platform and on the same base it was okay. I really hope we can get back to that place, where you are watching a great band and you are the same – you have the same love for the same band and that’s a fantastic thing. I think that is a powerful thing. You tolerate each other and you tolerate each other's views and find something positive as a group or as individuals..."