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Album Review

Souls Extolled – ‘MMXXII’ [Album Review]

Soaked in retro prog rock savours, Souls Extolled’s ‘MMXXII’ (Zach Black Music) evolves from more mainstream songs initially to raw, murkier tracks as the album develops.



Austin, Texas-based psych-rock outfit Souls Extolled releases their third album, MMXXII, which is 2022 converted into Roman numerals and signifies the release of a new song every month over the course of 2022.

The twelfth track from the album, “Down To Go,” was released on December 2.

Speaking about “Down To Go,” guitarist/vocalist Zach Black says, “It is about the willingness to embrace the hard truths of life as well as new points of view and experiences that may be discomforting, difficult, or perilous. It does this through a story where you meet a dark figure that’s beckoning you into these new ideas or experiences, and through that willingness to embrace those things, finding essential truths about life. There’s definitely something in the staccato parts of the track reminiscent of Coheed and Cambria, or CKY, with weird sort of Jim Morrison-type vocals. And then it gets experimental with the quickened guitar breakdowns, followed by the super psychedelic chorus with Robert Plant-inspired vocals.”

Along with Zach Black, the band comprises JP Ortiz (bass) and Joe Valadez (drums). MMXXII is the band’s most personal album so far, mirroring their passage through the pandemic, the loss of loved ones, and the social justice crisis.

Talking about MMXXII, Souls Extolled shares, “To us, without the meaning of these songs, they’re just a bunch of sounds. The music that inspired us is not only great sounds, but meanings that inspire us, challenge us, and make us think.”

Encompassing a dozen tracks, MMXXII begins with “Sweet Glow,” opening on gleaming guitars and rolling into a prog-rock-flavoured tune topped by Black’s velvety voice. Loosely reminiscent of Queensryche, there’s an oil-on-water feel to the melody – smooth and slick.

Souls Extolled

Entry points include the silky, beaming textures of “Ride of My Life,” punctuated by Valadez’s finessed drumming. While “Acid Drop” projects edgy tangs of anger riding roiling guitars.

With its elusive tints of reggae merged with indie-rock, “Fall Into Orbit” delivers waves of lysergic colours dripping with strident accents.

The final track, “Down To Go,” combines prog-rock and proto-metal atmospheres into a dark, tight musical voyage, travelling on shifting leitmotifs progressing from almost gossamer harmonic surfaces to trembling shadows, full of tight urgency.

Soaked in retro prog-rock savours, MMXXII evolves from more mainstream songs initially to raw, murkier tracks as the album develops.

MMXXII Track Listing:

1. Sweet Gloy
2. Ride of My Life
3. Acid Drop
4. This Time
5. Propaganda Song
6. Dancing in The Light
7. 1K Red Balloon
8. Falling Into Orbit
9. Never Like Before
10. Self-Mutilation
11. Just Dreams
12. Down To Go

Run Time: 43:29
Release Date: December 31, 2022
Record Label: Zach Black Music