Rock band Souls Extolled are back with their new album release ‘MMXXII’. Their previous album ‘Follow the Ghosts’ was released back in 2019, but the high-energy Texas four piece have really taken more of an experimental turn with this new record! If anything, ‘MMXXII’ from Souls Extolled is nothing but raw and honest, talking openly about the current state of the world and the times we are living in.

MMXXII’ has been described as being an ‘eclectic 12-song modern rock album ranging from grunge and ska punk to indie rock and proto-metal‘, with the songs being ‘a reflection of this moment in time’.

The album begins with the track ‘Sweet Glow’, which begins with a soft rock instrumental, before moving into a country/indie rock vibe as it leads into the chorus. The overall feel of the song is very much Arctic Monkeys inspired, with the heavy use of raspy vocals from singer/guitarist Zach Black. Next up is ‘Ride of My Life’, which is very much on the same vein as the previous. Lyrically, it touches on something a little personal, seemingly reminiscing about a previous lover; yearning for them to come back.

‘Acid Drop’ starts off slightly differently with a memorable guitar riff which instantly gets you hooked, before leaping in with Black’s recognisable vocals. The song is very riff heavy which is progressive and exciting throughout, leaving you not knowing what to expect next!

It is strikingly clear that the album starts to turn and progress with the track ‘This Time’, which is on the cusp of having horror punk elements in its sound with the haunting background riff; not to mention the noticeable change in Zach Black’s vocals, which are very impactful. ‘Propaganda Song’ turns the musical tables again, incorporating more of a ska punk notion. The song seems to speak lyrically about people that spread misinformation and how they typically seem to never change. ‘Dancing in the Light’ is a different kettle of fish, as more of a soft rock song with a few notable indie influences throughout. Next up is ‘1K Red Balloons‘, which appears to be an obvious ode to the significant 1980’s track ’99 Red Balloons’ by Nena. However, it’s on a completely different wavelength to the pop classic, as it is almost grunge sounding with some prominent ska elements. This track contains a memorable chorus and bassline, which is sure to get stuck in your head for months to come!

‘Fall Into Orbit’ is up next, which transpires us back into this horror-like theme. This song is probably the most experimental on the entire album, which almost feeds into being psychedelic. It’s a very interesting and unexpected song that is different, yet not out of place on ‘MMXXII‘. ‘Never Before’ has definitely got elements of the horror like sound, before transitioning smoothly into an indie feel yet again. The chorus introduces us to a catchy and infectious riff, which is definitely head bopping to say the least! ‘Self-Mutilation (Won’t Forget)’ is up next, which is a real mixed bag of genres. The track flits from a very obvious rock sound, before moving onto a heavy ska sound which is unforgettable and unique in its own right. It is also great to hear Zach Black really try to change up his vocal style here, which obviously works well in his favour ‘Just Dreams’ transports us back to the 70’s, with the song sounding Led Zeppelin-esque in the earlier parts before progressing on to create more of a unique sound. The last track on ‘MMXXII’ is ‘Down to Go’, which pleases our ears with a wide range of progression and variety, in line with some really bold and almost menacing vocals from Black.

Overall, ‘MMXXII’ is a solid and progressive body of work in which bands of their size and stature could take some real inspiration from. It is safe to say that this is an album that was to be expected from Souls Extolled due to the previous nature of their music. The album was progressive and really showed experimentation throughout, however there were only a few standout tracks that could potentially stand the test of time.

‘MMXXII’ is out now via Zack Black Music.

Verdict: 2/5

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