In case you missed this one, these Swedes ended their visit in Vancouver with a little ‘Violence’

Close to a year ago we were given notice that Soen would be making a Vancouver a tour stop this spring.  At the time, I didn’t know much about this band that had to make announcement this far in advance but that gave me some time to listen to some of their catalog and see what they are all about.   They are playing tonight’s gig at the Rickshaw Theatre (thanks to MRG Entertainment) in Vancouver, and I am curious to see how hard these boys from Sweden can rock.

Joel Ekelöf

Prior to Soen hitting the stage, they did have one supporting act prior with Trope, which is just a scaled down 2 person band with an acoustic guitar player and alternative vocalist by the name of Diana Studenberg.   I would have mention that they are fantastic in their own right, however, I am not sure if they were a great fit as warmup act prior to Soen who are heavy hard rock, leaning towards metal.

Soen on the other hand are a full progressive hard edged band consisting of Oleksii ‘Zlatoyar’ Kobel (bass), Canadian born player Cody Lee Ford (guitar), Lars Åhlund (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), former Opeth drummer Martín López , and Joel Ekelöf on lead vocal.   They have been around since 2010 and have 6 albums to date (plus 1 live album) with the latest being Memorial produced in 2023.

Cody Lee Ford

They start this show off the Memorial album with one of my favorites with “Sincere”, and holy smokes does this song slap hard live.   The ¾ full Rickshaw was rocking pretty hard thereafter, as they keep up the momentum with “Martyrs” off 2019’s Lotus album.

Song 3 is from 2012’s Cognitive album called “Savia”, which is a song that which could easily fit on a early Tool album.   Back in that timeframe of that album for Soen, they had Steve Di Giorgio on bass who is here next week with Death to All.

Oleksii ‘Zlatoyar’ Kobel

If you want heavy like that, they can certainly bring it with the next one with “Memorial”.    Frankly, can someone tell me why this show didn’t sell out the Rickshaw a year ago?  We have had some  very notably female vocalists appear in Vancouver this year, but this is easily the best male singer I have seen in 2024.   He is phenomenal and great stage presence too as we saw in “Lascivious” at song 5.

OK, now for the song I am waiting for with “Unbreakable” off Memorial.  Lars does abit of some FX guitar filled melody on his own, then BANG, the lights are blazing and  rest of the band starts the song, LOVE this drama!   It didn’t disappoint me, the song sounded like the recorded version.   Watching Cody rip off that solo like a guitarist from the 80’s was pretty damn cool.  Thereafter, they move to another rocker with “Deceiver”.

Martín López

They slow things down dramatically with the more mellow “Ideate”, the last song tonight from the Cognitive album. They trimmed this one back abit by a minute which is probably good as this song can get pretty sleepy at the start.

No fear though, with the air raid sirens, Martin starts off “Monarch” from Imperial  with some machine gun like hits on the wake us up.  After that, “Illusion” they slow it down just a notch and Cody does some ripping guitar solos near the end. “Modesty” and his mesmerizing lyrics with ‘defeat this monster’.

Lars Åhlund

Lars opening up with that haunting deep purple like organ sound on the keyboard with “Lotus” on the last song of this 12 song set (15 with Encore).   We witness Cody with some nice guitar work here again, his tone is to die for if you are a guitarist.

Its encore time, and they come back with some Slipknot!  Well, don’t get to rowdy, this is one of their slow ones with “Snuff”, but I will report back that Joel’s voice is probably better than Cory’s is and there is little wonder that it turned out magnificently, maybe a notch better.   Thereafter they do “Antagonist” as Joel makes his way through the audience, and believe me the guy is a tall dude so he is easy to watch for, and sings the first part of the song with the fans.  Pretty daring these days, but this Vancouver audience is actually pretty tame tonight, so I think he is good.  Last song of the encore was one that is arguably their best with “Violence” which is the 4th song they played from the latest Memorial album.  They actually played 5 from the 2021 album Imperial tonight but it was a well paced setlist in my opinion.   Considering this is their first ever show in Vancouver, we got a great range of what this band is capable of.   I am thinking this is going to be possibly their last visit to the Rickshaw because if the band continues to create solid music like this as they will be in much larger venues.  Joel’s voice is impeccable, and the rest of the band is just too talented not to be a bigger band.   Hopefully for them, they will garner a lot of attention on this North American tour as I feel we got a real treat seeing them at the Rickshaw this time around.   I am looking forward to what these guys come out with next and see if my predictions come true. What a riveting performance! It was one of the best shows thus far for 2024.


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