Oliver “Shiny” Blakemore



I never thought of Spotify as a trip planner app till now.

A thought I rarely think while listening to a metal album: Wow…he has a gorgeous voice…oh, right, there’s guitar and stuff too.

As I work through this album, I get the feeling that these guys really want to sound like Tool. It’s not quite working, though, because they’re much different artists than Tool. It’s sort of like they listened to two kinds of music for their whole lives: Tool, and the crooners of the ’40s and ’50s. But people kept making fun of them for being into the crooners, so they tried to be Tool. Because Tool’s cool, right?

I think Tool’s cool. Not everyone has to.

It might be an annoying thing to say about a band, “They sound like they’re trying to be Tool.” Not only because people who you’d describe as tools would probably say with dumb smirks, “oh, they’re trying to be tools?” At which point you’d have to suppress whatever instinct to stop being your mild-mannered alter ego that’s kept you a functioning member of society so far.

Not only for that reason, but I’m also tired of bands that want to be Tool. Tool, when they work, work on a delicate balance of elements that, when they work, work well. When they don’t work, they go way wrong. I think that aspiring to be Tool should not enter the to-do list of up-and-coming bands.

Thing is…Soen, I think, saves themselves from being just a band that sounds like Tool to deserving separate attention purely on merits of musical talent.

Soen, especially lead singer Martin Lopez. That man’s voice could make you cry.

Ironic discovery that I’ve just made: Martin Lopez made his career as the drummer for Opeth.

I guess I’ll be listening to some Opeth now.

Additional point of personal interest: These Soen dudes, and Opeth, both came out of Sweden. Which is relevant, because a few days ago I suggested Graveyard, who also came out of Sweden. Which is especially relevant because of a band I’ll be suggesting in the next few days who also comes out of Sweden.

I guess I’ll be doing a Swedish music tour someday.

Want to fund me? If I can swing it, you can come.

Keep in touch. Sign up to get updates on my adventures. It’s like a newsletter, but less “news” and more “letter.” I’ve taken to treating the internet like a huge street bazaar. To that end, I would feel blessed if you’d consider supporting me on Patreon.