Rating:
8.3
Soen - Cognitive
15 February 2012


01. Fraktal
02. Fraccions
03. Delenda
04. Last Light
05. Oscillation
06. Canvas
07. Ideate
08. Purpose
09. Slithering
10. Savia


What do you do with a Tool? For sake of metaphor let's be more specific; what does one do with, say, a wrench? Well you fasten things with it, make sure all those nuts and bolts are surely fixed in position. And what's the purpose of this? Obviously to make whatever these nuts and bolts are a part of work at an optimal and functional state. The debut collaborative effort of supergroup Soen is something which does just that.

The influence goes without saying, especially considering that David Bottril, who produced Tool's highest studio accomplishments, is behind the mixing. Yet what it amounts to is something ultimately well structured and impressive overall. This is an album full of tracks which show clear homage but also give even the mighty Tool a run for their money.

The song writing is both the strength and weakness here. Not only is it utterly derivative of Tool, it is far less diverse than their inspirations; it takes a few elements of said band's sound focusing and harnessing these to compose the music. Yet they are taking up the wrench with poise; they know exactly how to fasten all the nuts and bolts into place and the result is a well functioning machine which certainly fulfills its purpose. The talent of the musicians in question is, also, something I need not go into great detail about, though I will point out that even the famed DiGiorgio and Lopez exceed expectations on the bass and drums/percussion respectively. The vocals of Joel Ekelof, whilst bearing an obvious similarity to Keenan, certainly have their own character, one far more soothing and which feels at home in all the Toolisms going on throughout this album.

There is subtlety to how this album goes about engaging your attention. Immediately it will likely have you thinking "But I've heard all this before" and will continue to do so for the length of the album. In terms of variance this album doesn't have a great deal to offer either; despite this, however, there is something about the quality of the tracks that just demand another listen, drawing you in. Maintaining your attention through a not only derivative effort, but also one which has a very similar feel throughout the entirety of the album is something seemingly impossible. Somehow each track, while sounding very much the same as the last, still forms a very obvious individuality; that is each song runs in a similar manner but does so in a very memorable way.

This is an unusual album to say the least; it seems like something which would immediately repel even the most avid of Tool fans. Yet there is a very accessible quality lurking within which, once brought to surface, may have you wanting more than you initially desired from the album.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 5
Production: 9


Band profile: Soen
Album: Cognitive


 



Written on 01.06.2012 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
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BoxCar Willy - 01.06.2012 at 14:43  
Such a fantastic album cover.

Nice review.
JD - 01.06.2012 at 16:19  
I enjoyed this album more than Tool's tbh.
a MasT - 01.06.2012 at 19:02  
With members of such varied and impressive musical backgrounds I was hoping for a fresh mix of solid maybe even """heavy""" new material. But no. Instead someone here liked the band Tool enough to say "no I like their stuff enough to totally rip it off" and decided to throw originality out the window. Thats awfully unfortunate says this observer.
strade - 01.06.2012 at 19:12  
Written by BoxCar Willy on 01.06.2012 at 14:43

Such a fantastic album cover.

Nice review.


Yeah, the cover is The Spirit Molecule. My dad actually used this artwork before on one of his EPs. I was really surprised to see it.
silenius - 01.06.2012 at 20:07  
This album is better then sex for me, just fucking love it to bits
Unhealer - 01.06.2012 at 20:23  
Excellent review and I agree with every word you wrote. I just had to give it a lower score, the unoriginality took it's tool on me. I mean, toll.

The key here is clearly the performance, godly rhythm section.
mz - 01.06.2012 at 23:39  
You said tool, I should check this out.also cover alone reminds me tool
R'Vannith - 02.06.2012 at 12:01  
Written by a MasT on 01.06.2012 at 19:02

With members of such varied and impressive musical backgrounds I was hoping for a fresh mix of solid maybe even """heavy""" new material. But no. Instead someone here liked the band Tool enough to say "no I like their stuff enough to totally rip it off" and decided to throw originality out the window. Thats awfully unfortunate says this observer.


Enjoyment of this album depends on how open you are to another dose of Tool worship I guess. This all sounds good to me, and I'd agree with JD, I actually prefer this to what Tool have done, despite the lack of originality. But then I've never really enjoyed their music to a great extent, so perhaps those who are keen on their Tool might find it just another copy cat.
I agree though, seems an odd way for such notable musicians to go, considering what potential they have to pull off something less along the lines of what has already been done before.
tea[m]ster - 02.06.2012 at 19:32  
Well shit, RV, I missed out on this one. Fuck. I will check it out, your review piqued my interest!
R'Vannith - 02.06.2012 at 19:45  
Written by tea[m]ster on 02.06.2012 at 19:32

Well shit, RV, I missed out on this one. Fuck. I will check it out, your review piqued my interest!

It seems to have floated under the radar in general, only 26 votes for it so far which is a shame, so you are excused just this once . I imagine you'll find something to like in it.
BloodTears - 02.06.2012 at 20:42  
I like this album, I've been listening to it for a while now. It's definitely worthy despite some serious Tool worshiping and Akerfeld-influenced vocals here and there.
PocketMetal - 02.06.2012 at 23:00  
Tool is mentioned , I'm there to get this
Jeeers - 03.06.2012 at 20:13  
I have never been Tool fan and I don't know their music very well, but this is one damn good album I must say!
hadriel - 07.06.2012 at 05:20  
Hmmm. I'm torn on this album because I am having a hard time getting past just how toolish it sounds, but at the same time it's still an incredibly impressive album and one of my favorite sounding albums of the year. I can't imagine that this would be a very easy album to review for that reason, but I really like the approach. One of the better reviews I've read on this site.

To be honest I'm more interested in seeing where they go from here and if they branch off into their own more unique sound. The talent here is more than capable of doing so.
R'Vannith - 07.06.2012 at 06:35  
Written by hadriel on 07.06.2012 at 05:20

Hmmm. I'm torn on this album because I am having a hard time getting past just how toolish it sounds, but at the same time it's still an incredibly impressive album and one of my favorite sounding albums of the year. I can't imagine that this would be a very easy album to review for that reason, but I really like the approach. One of the better reviews I've read on this site.

To be honest I'm more interested in seeing where they go from here and if they branch off into their own more unique sound. The talent here is more than capable of doing so.


Thanks, and yeah I was in the same boat, it took a while to get my head around why I enjoyed it so much, especially considering my indifference to Tool. Its just so well pieced together and performed that the lack of originality means little to me personally, which is probably why this is one of the albums I've listened to most from this year. For me it also doesn't really get stale at any point, so its definitely one which, from my perspective, should last a while at least before you feel like putting it away.

I hadn't even thought of that, where can they go from this point? I mean how do you evolve from a sound that isn't all yours to begin with? It would definitely be something interesting to see.
Stabby - 08.06.2012 at 02:28  
A significant chunk of this album is undeniably Tool, but there are unique elements to it that you don't hear in Tool like the soft piano parts and the range of vocal styles. So once I got past the opening where I said "OMGWTF I'm listening to Tool" I really started to appreciate the band's talent. Good album, very well played, good songwriting and production.
R'Vannith - 08.06.2012 at 15:27  
Written by Stabby on 08.06.2012 at 02:28

A significant chunk of this album is undeniably Tool, but there are unique elements to it that you don't hear in Tool like the soft piano parts and the range of vocal styles. So once I got past the opening where I said "OMGWTF I'm listening to Tool" I really started to appreciate the band's talent. Good album, very well played, good songwriting and production.


That's probably where they can evolve from I suppose, take what they do have that is not derived from Tool and expand on it, perhaps make it more prominent in their sound than the Toolisms.
PocketMetal - 11.06.2012 at 11:38  
Finally got the time to listen to this , loved it . not original but it brought back Tool memories
that band changed my life , my personality , everything !
R'Vannith - 11.06.2012 at 13:47  
Written by PocketMetal on 11.06.2012 at 11:38

Finally got the time to listen to this , loved it . not original but it brought back Tool memories
that band changed my life , my personality , everything !


It's interesting how this album appeals to those who like Tool a lot and those who aren't so keen. That's an indication of a good album I think.
PocketMetal - 11.06.2012 at 18:15  
Written by R'Vannith on 11.06.2012 at 13:47


It's interesting how this album appeals to those who like Tool a lot and those who aren't so keen. That's an indication of a good album I think.


yeah it's a really good album . to me they didn't even try not to sound like Tool ... this sounded like an appreciation of Tool's ideas , it's not like they are claiming to be original . even the album cover says "Lateralus" all over it .
Mindheist - 30.06.2012 at 05:22  
I've always thought that there was no better drummer than Axenrot to take up from where Lopez left off. But in all seriousness, when it comes to elegant, genuinely clever drumming, the latter has no equal. Opeth are Opeth, but without Lopez they seem to have delved into a whole other dimension, magic-less and dried-up.

Honestly, my Soen experience is still unripe as I have so far listened to only five songs out of ten; so I guess I'll have to listen to some more before forging my own opinion. However, it doesn't take more than 4 minutes to realize that these guys have what it takes to crawl their way up to the Tool land. I really enjoyed listening to their Tool-ish sound, although Cognitive has a special flair stuck to it that separates it from everything that has been done in the alternative territory. They're not gods but they're talented enough to cause riots. I expect great things from this band already.

As for your review, I really enjoyed reading it. You know, I spend most of my MS time prowling the review section looking for something interesting to kill time with. And rarely do I ever feel the need to comment, but when I do it's because the review was a joy to read. Kudos
R'Vannith - 02.07.2012 at 19:43  
Written by Mindheist on 30.06.2012 at 05:22

I've always thought that there was no better drummer than Axenrot to take up from where Lopez left off. But in all seriousness, when it comes to elegant, genuinely clever drumming, the latter has no equal. Opeth are Opeth, but without Lopez they seem to have delved into a whole other dimension, magic-less and dried-up.

Honestly, my Soen experience is still unripe as I have so far listened to only five songs out of ten; so I guess I'll have to listen to some more before forging my own opinion. However, it doesn't take more than 4 minutes to realize that these guys have what it takes to crawl their way up to the Tool land. I really enjoyed listening to their Tool-ish sound, although Cognitive has a special flair stuck to it that separates it from everything that has been done in the alternative territory. They're not gods but they're talented enough to cause riots. I expect great things from this band already.

As for your review, I really enjoyed reading it. You know, I spend most of my MS time prowling the review section looking for something interesting to kill time with. And rarely do I ever feel the need to comment, but when I do it's because the review was a joy to read. Kudos


Hey thank you very much! I'm happy to have managed to make what I write interesting while getting my point across. I agree, they have just enough of their own character to continue and potentially make further music of a more distinctive sound, providing they can focus on that rather than on the more Tool influenced sound they have here.
MeloDeathViking - 04.09.2012 at 17:36  
Written by BloodTears on 02.06.2012 at 20:42

I like this album, I've been listening to it for a while now. It's definitely worthy despite some serious Tool worshiping and Akerfeld-influenced vocals here and there.


I'm glad I wasn't the only one to notice some vocal similarities with Akerfeld. I really like this album, but I do hope the next one has just a touch more originality.
BloodTears - 04.09.2012 at 20:00  
Quote:

I'm glad I wasn't the only one to notice some vocal similarities with Akerfeld. I really like this album, but I do hope the next one has just a touch more originality.


Cool! I get that people are annoyed by the lack of originality, especially fans of Tool. But this was just their debut album and I think they can grow from here and find a more unique sound.
MeloDeathViking - 10.09.2012 at 19:43  
Written by BloodTears on 04.09.2012 at 20:00

Quote:

I'm glad I wasn't the only one to notice some vocal similarities with Akerfeld. I really like this album, but I do hope the next one has just a touch more originality.


Cool! I get that people are annoyed by the lack of originality, especially fans of Tool. But this was just their debut album and I think they can grow from here and find a more unique sound.


Like I said, I really like this album, and as you said there is room to grow. I equate this album with Fall of Icons by Ikuinen Kaamos. I really like that album, it just sounded exactly like Opeth, which made Opeth fanboys hate it. The way I see it, why should you hate it if it sounds just like a band you love? It's still good music, just lacking in originality.
Titanticus - 12.01.2013 at 00:20  
For me, as a Tool fan from the beginning but also a fan of these artists other bands, I look at it as a genre that is defined by a band rather than a specific band being "ripped off". Tool has owned a unique niche throughout their career, and because of it I think that they have a very heavy dose of band worship that few, if any, other metal bands enjoy. No one has really tried to reach the same fan base- Chevelle, if I remember correctly, were compared to them unfavorably because they did it in a Tool- lite kind of way and it was just plain bad. It's funny to me, remembering the early days of thrash (yes, I'm old) where people were chomping at the bit and trading tapes at shows like crazy. You want to talk about copycat-ing? It was great, and we all ate it up. Just because Tool has been so royally revered doesn't mean someone should be scared to death to offend anyone by making "their music". Also, I LIKE the idea that the musicians are stretching into something other than what we expect...why do you think Tool themselves hold the spot they do in people's minds? they combined, stretched, and did things other bands didn't. Should Lopez just join some other prog death band to make everyone sleep better? I would also like to mention that- at the very least- Tool fans should be shouting with joy that someone else can step in and provide music that Tool themselves are either too busy or reluctant to do themselves. A fantastic cd that stroked a nerve that I had forgotten about for a very long time.
R'Vannith - 12.01.2013 at 02:56  
Written by Titanticus on 12.01.2013 at 00:20

For me, as a Tool fan from the beginning but also a fan of these artists other bands, I look at it as a genre that is defined by a band rather than a specific band being "ripped off". Tool has owned a unique niche throughout their career, and because of it I think that they have a very heavy dose of band worship that few, if any, other metal bands enjoy. No one has really tried to reach the same fan base- Chevelle, if I remember correctly, were compared to them unfavorably because they did it in a Tool- lite kind of way and it was just plain bad. It's funny to me, remembering the early days of thrash (yes, I'm old) where people were chomping at the bit and trading tapes at shows like crazy. You want to talk about copycat-ing? It was great, and we all ate it up. Just because Tool has been so royally revered doesn't mean someone should be scared to death to offend anyone by making "their music". Also, I LIKE the idea that the musicians are stretching into something other than what we expect...why do you think Tool themselves hold the spot they do in people's minds? they combined, stretched, and did things other bands didn't. Should Lopez just join some other prog death band to make everyone sleep better? I would also like to mention that- at the very least- Tool fans should be shouting with joy that someone else can step in and provide music that Tool themselves are either too busy or reluctant to do themselves. A fantastic cd that stroked a nerve that I had forgotten about for a very long time.


Tool imitation might almost be considered a genre in itself, it's varied enough and involves many bands which sound very much like Tool but manage to do so in their own particular ways. I can see what you are saying there, you consider Tool to be quite influential and varied, so much so that those that copy their sound have plenty of room to make something of their own sound while remaining similar in sound to them.

Not much of a Tool fan myself so I'm not exactly sure what to expect of one when they have a listen to all these copy cat bands. I imagine some dislike it, some sort of "Tool is the only Tool" kind of idea. Whereas with yourself you seem to appreciate others giving their own take on the unique Tool sound which you evidently enjoy. I suppose it depends on whether they make something interesting out of all the Toolisms floating around, I'd say Soen definitely do that.
SirRutina - 07.06.2013 at 17:23  
" Tool fans should be shouting with joy that someone else can step in and provide music that Tool themselves are either too busy or reluctant to do themselves."

I totally agree, thats exactly how I felt after listening the couple of first songs. Some people prefer originality more than others, but I really like that they sound very much like one of the best albums I know, Lateralus. Now I can only wait that some band sounds like Muse´s Origin of Symmetry (because today´s Muse is shit imo) or Radiohead´s OK Computer.
Daggon - 25.07.2013 at 07:57  
I don't know how I let this album pass under my radar, it is quite good. I'm not a huge fan of Tool, maybe that's the reason of why this album sounds fresh and beautiful to my ears, in the end, I find it quite good, and oh boy, Steve DiGiorgio and Martin Lopez play in this band, what else could you ask for?
JayMo4 - 21.06.2014 at 16:41  
R'Vannith's review is one of the best I've read on this site, just absolutely spot-on the entire way through. Honestly, I can't think of anything to add since that review seems to have captured my opinion in its entirety.

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