Despite the obvious credentials of everyone involved, Soen’s first album, Cognitive, came and went without making much of an impact on the still-flourishing prog realm, arguably due to the fact that the band’s sound owed so much to Tool and other lauded denizens of the current scene that there barely seemed any point to the whole earnest enterprise.
Tellurian is a marked improvement on its predecessor, not least in terms of melodies that wield a bewitching power and grace. Amid the nimble, dreamy drift of songs like Kuraman and Pluton, Soen almost begin to sound like a distinct entity that has taken the necessary steps away from its core influences and strolled into fresher territory. Unfortunately, several moments on here nod so violently and unmistakably towards Tool (again) and Opeth – an inevitability, perhaps, given the presence of Martin Lopez on drums – that it’s hard not to disappear once more down the ‘What exactly does progressive mean?’ rabbit-hole. An often beautiful and inventive record, then, but annoyingly marred by the clang of familiarity.