Get ready to lose your soul, as Sweden’s The Soul Exchange destroy your ears with what could possibly be the release of the year.
From Stockholm, Sweden, The Soul Exchange are getting ready to release their new album on an unsuspecting public. “Vow of Seth” begins with a sitar-driven Indian themed atmospheric piece before crunching in with a nice thrashy sounding slow winding riff. The drums sound a bit tinny on this track and when the vocals come in, they sound like a bit lower register Bruce Dickinson. The whole thing has this Middle Eastern sound, with the harmonising backing vocals. The atmospheric keyboards that come in over the chorus give it that eerie feeling and when, for just a second, the vocals rise out of the mix, singer Daniel John really shows what he can do with his voice when needed. I really like this, even though it’s a bit slow in pace. It would probably sound even better if it was sped up a few BPM. There’s some nice guitar on this track that has a 70’s vintage guitar sound.
“Back To The Dark” comes alive with the sounds of a sinister horror movie theme, before a thumping guitar riff thunders over the top. It reminds me a bit of early Danzig at first and, when the spoken word section comes in, I’m thinking Pete Steele of Type O Negative fame. The vocals again sound very Bruce Dickinson, as per his solo material. This is the best track on the album so far, and it’s an epic, weighing in at over seven minutes.
A lurking guitar tone, sounding like it’s just about to jump out of a dark corner at you, ushers in “The Deed Is Done“. It’s very slow, building before a nice sunny chorus breaks through and all is good again. I think this band have a lot of tricks up their sleeve and it will be a shame if they don’t make it onto the world stage. The track has a tidy change in pace around the three minute mark where the vocals really shine and a nicely toned guitar solo wails in. I really like the chorus on this one; you could easily see this sitting on the charts one day.
“Seek The Demon” sounds like one of the slower tracks from Iron Maiden‘s Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son at the start before an intermittent riff comes in around the time the vocals arrive. It’s a bit of a slow headbanger, one of those ones that just gets your head nodding before putting you into a musical trance. Around the halfway mark, there’s a twin guitar solo that comes in that’s a bit unusual, one of the guitars seemingly slightly out of tune, but it kind of fitting the song.
Final track on the EP (“My Mortal Soul“) struts on with a slow ballady piano and soft vocals filled with a background violin that would sound great on any Evanescence album – you can just imagine Amy Lee wailing all over this with her operatic tones. These guys are a bleak bunch when it comes to the lyrics and they’re almost as miserable as early Paradise Lost, but in a good way.
Final thoughts on the EP… With all but one track weighing in at more than 6 minutes, this EP is longer than most artists’ albums these days. The five tracks leave me wanting more, which is what I think is good about bands releasing the EP format, rather than the album these days. It’s been done by a fair few bands lately and I personally think it works a treat. This is a good CD from an obviously talented band, filled with great songs, hooky guitar riffs, vocals that soar and is just an all round breath of fresh air. I love this to be honest and I will be sorely dissapointed if this band don’t reach the heights they deserve after listening to this.
Reading the band bio, I think their PR company need to make a few adjustments as to what crowd they think this band would appeal to. It should read : for fans of Bruce Dickinson, Evanescence, Type O Negative, Danzig and (for being miserable) Paradise Lost!