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Haken - The Mountain Award winner

The Mountain
by YngwieViking at 02 September 2013, 6:31 PM

Alongside with MASCHINE and THE SAFETY FIRE’s latest, “The Mountain” by HAKEN is a fierce contestant for the British Prog Metal album of the year, the mixing board's genius Jens Bogren is another common point with THE SAFETY FIRE and the label InsideOut Music is also the perfect and conformable shelter home for them and their unadulterated creativity. In 2013, InsideOut outdone themselves, by releasing some of the most exigent high profile albums in the Prog Metal genre, in addition with the already mentioned acts, they also published some essential stuff as James Labrie’s “Impermanent Resonance” / LEPROUS’ “Coal” and the unexpected comeback by SPOCK’S BEARD, so now it’s clear it’s a nice addition to your collection and an indispensable disc if you are hungry and ready for some adventurous musical acrobatics, let’s go for a short analysis.

Their early albums “Aquarius” (2010) and mostly their 2011’s “Visions” that were both released by Sensory Records were already strongly furnished with many talented elements, still present today and even improved, this band should be considered as high contenders and future referential act, for the entire Prog community, somewhere between Neo-Prog and Modern Prog Metal with still a very thick 70s influences, HAKEN belongs to the fourth generation of Progressive virtuosos clan, with nonetheless a deep meaning in the lyrical side and a constant abuse of magical harmonized layers of vocals. The playing level is stellar and their style seems borderless and unlimited, from Jazz to Pure Classic Rock (“Falling Back To Earth”), from Soundtracks landscapes to neo-classical soundscapes, from BEATLES vocalizing mode to exotic rhythms with tablas and sitar (“Pareidolia”), nothing is too much or too challenging for them , part of the music played here could move you seriously.

You and your certitudes should be shake with this album, and you have to possess a real broad taste and even a high tolerance plus a damn fine ear perception, in order to fully integrate this ambitious selection of such intriguing compositions. After, two relatively ambient cuts, the third song “Cockroach King” holds a strange personality, with some retro ingredients and weird sonorities somewhere between RUSH and Swedish favorites of mine A.C.T. , 8 Minutes of pure madness and many sequences filled with an over the top noodling shredding.

You can also perceive some THRESHOLD’s like moods in the keyboards loops (“In Memoriam”), and even some irrational arrangements in the most weird way of Mr. Devin Townsend (“Because It's There”) like the typical and perpetual use of many floating vibes and spiritual moments, and some sudden burst of violence (“Falling Back To Earth” / ”Pareidolia”) but keeping the focus for an incredibly cohesive harmonic canvas. The luxuriance of voices in an heavenly concordance, performed in many layers towards the counterpoint is mind blowing, this harmony mania provided by Ross Jennings come regularly and in abundance, especially in cuts like "Cockroach King" or the beautiful stratum of the melodious vocals of "Somebody" and on the noteworthy Acapella intro for "Because It's There" under an abnormally high level of sensibility elevated and pushed at its maximum. The beautiful voice / Piano “As Death Embraces” certainly recalls at the same time James LaBrie and Andre Matos at their mutual peaks with an ultra-inner feeling, a few passionate introspective vibes and a perfect pitch control, especially when it comes to the more mellow parts. The cover art is a clearly summary or a warning (!) and it’s quite symptomatic of the tortured/sophisticated spirit of HAKEN.

The main composer and ex-TO MERA guitarist Mr. Richard Henshall, who is responsible of the core of most tracks as it was the case with the previous albums, but, this time is believe that the whole thing, smells like a real band effort, with a very interesting textual content clearly esoteric and maybe a little bit snobbish or pretentious in the cerebral and intellectual themes, filled with impossible schema and odd patterns… I think you get my thoughts by now, if you like the easy listening Rock, simple melodies with standardized structures, then you must run away from this CD.

4 Star Rating

1. The Path
2. Atlas Stone
3. Cockroach King
4. In Memoriam
5. Because It's There
6. Falling Back To Earth
7. As Death Embraces
8. Pareidolia
9. Somebody
Ross Jennings – Lead Vocals
Richard Henshall – Guitar / Keyboards
Charles Griffiths – Lead Guitar
Thomas Mac Lean - Bass
Raymond Hearne - Drums
Diego Tejeida – Keyboards / Vocals
Record Label: InsideOut Music


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Edited 06 December 2022

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