Haken - 'Visions' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 09, 2012    
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This album should see Haken’s star continue to rise.

Before I go on to extol the virtues of this excellent sophomore offering from UK Prog Rock/Metal outfit Haken, I should point out that this review copy came my way from an esteemed Fireworks colleague who couldn’t quite “engage” with it.

So with the warning that Haken may not be everyone’s cup of tea out of the way, let’s get on with reviewing a fantastic album by a fantastic band. Released during the early part of 2010, Haken’s debut ‘Aquarius’ found a broad spectrum of influences being mixed to create an album that combined traditional Prog Rock, with the harsher thrust of Prog Metal by way of little sparkles of Fusion, or even Ambient. With ‘Visions’, Haken are at it again, but this time the influences have dropped away, leaving a confident band who rely on sweet, melodious meanderings for much of the basis to their songs. That however is only a small part of the vision (sorry...) with strident riffs and punchy keyboards interjecting to leave huge smacks of controlled aggression, ensuring that even during the dreamiest of sections you are on the edge of your seat waiting for the next killer guitar blow.

Even that covers just a section of what is going on here with the often quirky, but never frivolous keyboard work from Richard Henshall (who also plays guitar) and Diego Tejeida adding angular sounds to the already intricate mix, while vocalist Ross Jennings, as he did on the debut, impresses with the depth and strength of his delivery. Haken however don’t need to impress with virtuosity, they do that purely through the strength of their songs and whether that be the grand scope and challenging sequences of title track ‘Visions’, or the more beautiful, song oriented moments such as ‘The Mind’s Eye’, this album should see Haken’s star continue to rise.

Steven Reid

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