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Danske Nætter (1/4) • SOEN and OCEAN HOARSE live in club Train, Århus (Nov 16th 2021)


Soen and Ocean Hoarse

This week I made my own little festival exclusively with Scandinavian artists. It began with Anna von Hausswolff announcing her "All Thoughts Fly" pipe organ tour. Århus or Berlin? Both a little far away just for this one show. But then I still had some vacation time left... So let's go to the land of less coviots are and see what else in happening in the city around that date!

I found Soen and checked out a couple of videos on YouTube. They seemed vaguely familiar, maybe I had listened to them at some point before. Without deeper investigation I just ordered both tickets together and booked a hotel room for the two nights. At least for the time being, since I didn't know yet that I would extend my stay further. But that's for part 3 and 4.

Now let's just go straight into the Train, a very attractive and professional live music venue just a couple of minutes from my place! Other than the CovPass check at the door there were no further restrictions, but since the vaccination rate in Denmark is much higher than in Germany and people generally were behaving reasonable, I felt as save as one can be in these times.

Ocean Hoarse

I'm pretty sure that I'm a little out of touch with the most obvious modern references for what the Finnish quartet Ocean Hoarse is doing, but for the most part I would say that it's based on traditional Queensrÿche prog metal, with especially the vocals often sounding like a rougher Tate, but they also very freely mix a death metal riff, a metal core scream there and anything else they can get their hands on into their sound and are very determined to have fun with it.
With poser stairs in front of their guitar speakers and an illuminated and smoking platform in the front of the stage (fans of The Hirsch Effekt might find this familiar) they surely have a thing for theatrical rockstardom. This is also displayed in bass and guitar hero solos. But if you're doing it good enough, you can do it.
And even though the music isn't something I'd need to have on an album, this show was very good.

Since one of the originally announced three bands of the package had to cancel the gig, it was now time for the headliner from Norway to promete their ahem... "new" album - as it so often happens, you know why...


I've heard that some people compare Soen's style of prog metal to Tool, but that's actually a bit far-fetched. The drummer plays a relatively huge kit and there were a couple of passages with very toolish time signatures, but he often remains much more in the pocket with his beats and there's an equal amount of parts which you could compare with Opeth for example.
The musicianship of this group left nothing to be desired, but the obvious stand-out feature came with the smooth vocals. Singer Joel Ekelöf may have the potential to do an over the top heavy metal siren, but rather keeps his voice in a silkier place comparable to of course Mikael Åkerfeldt, but also the tasteful melodic vocals of doom bands like Hamferð or Pallbearer. He also delivered some amazing very clean falsetto parts.
The only detail about Soen which I had issues with, was that some of their choruses were just a little too sweet and sing-along-y. So even though this group has a more distinct identity than the opener and delivered a killer performance on a very high level, this also isn't necessarily something for my record collection.

It was a great show and very welcome beginning to my music week though - and surprisingly the only non-seated event. Which isn't the worst thing when you're past forty and are also walking a lot during the day.

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