Soul Enema is a progressive metal band from Israel that hit me by surprise with their new album, Of Clans and Clones and Clowns. Although I’m generally a fervent user of the Oxford comma, I’ll admit that it would be quite an encumbrance in this title to add two half stops. And – one last thing before discussing the actual music –, the cover art for the album is part of the reason I didn’t expect much from it: it’s really ugly (sorry, Vasya Lozhkin (Alexey Kudelin)). Okay, now that that’s out… Soul Enema’s progressive metal is a strange but utterly enjoyable blend of cheesy elements of the genre and actually progressive ideas. For example, the quintet’s usual instrumentation includes shamisen, sitar, and violin – and to this are added many guest musicians –, and their compositions take heavy influences from folkloric and ethnic music. The band also unashamedly uses the tropes of good ol’ prog when the song calls for them, and they are always used to great effect. Noa’s voice feels very ‘power-prog-esque’, and I wasn’t sure that was going to go smoothly with me, but I ended up liking her melodic hooks and peculiar timbre. The album is quite massive, ending only after seventy-three minutes, so it has to be entertaining and enjoyable for the listener to pull through. Hopefully, it does, and it’s not often that a somewhat ‘regular’ progressive metal album does that for me anymore. I say give it a shot, and don’t turn back after a simple glance at the album cover. I’m certain you’ll find more than a few things to like about that one!
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