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Haken - The Mountain CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.15 | 1015 ratings

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5 stars Haken are a band I've avoided the past few years. Whether this was due to my slowly disdain towards the newer prog metal scene or whatever, I have kept these guys at bay for a while. So, being as stubborn as I am, I decided to give these guy's new album a listen.

Musically the band are completely on par. They play very complex music with ease and constantly are able to keep their listeners on their tones. They also aren't afraid to experiment with a lot of different genre and sounds. These guys aren't just a metal band, because a lot of their influences come from prog rock bands, instead of prog metal bands, so expect a wide palette. The band also use a lot of contrapuntal vocals, which give off a Spock's Beard vibe to certain sections in their songs.

Ross Jennings, the band's vocalist is definitely one of the reasons to get into the band. While most prog metal vocalists seem very forced, but Ross seems very comfortable with his range. In many ways, his vocals remind me of Vincent Cavanagh's from Anathema, but with a higher range.

One of the biggest highlights on the album, oddly enough is the artwork. It's been a long time since I've seen an albums artwork and have been spellbinded by the artwork inside the booklet. The artwork is also a perfect companion with the music of the album.

The opening track "The Path" reminds me of a Muse intro. A beautiful piano arrangement with some brilliant vocals from Ross.

"Atlas Stone" is probably the weakest song on the album. It does have some pretty moments, but compared to the rest of the album, it doesn't hold up. Still worth a listen I reckon.

One of the oddest songs on the album has to be "Cockroach King." With musical moments that would have Frank Zappa impressed, the song is just one absolute crazy piece of music. The use of contrapuntal vocals is also an impressive feat as well.

"In Memoriam" could have been the single of the album. Definitly one of the heaviest tracks on the album. In fact, if these guys where to make a music video, I would love to see one for this song.

"Because It's There" is a composition mainly based on vocals. The use of contrapuntal vocals in the arrangement is brilliant.

The album's longest composition "Falling Back To Earth." Split into 2 parts, the song has a brilliant chorus. The second part of the song is the real highlight, with a lot of recapitulation of the themes of the track.

"As Death Embraces" is a very beautiful piano ballad, which wouldn't be completely lost on a more recent Anathema album.

One of the most epic moments on the album comes in the form of "Pareidolia." With a rather middle eastern sounding riff the song explodes and implodes with technical riffing and epic overlaying vocals.

The album closer "Somebody" is a pretty epic way to ending the album. Instead of being your standard ballad, the song has a lot of dark twists and turns and really is an interesting listen, and a brilliant way to end the album.

In conclusion, I was blown away by this album. 9 tracks which in total make up one brilliant experience. This album is one of the reasons I love music presented in 'albums.' Even though every song is as different as the last, they all flow together incredibly well. I'm not sure if this is there best album, mainly because I haven't their first 2, but if so, please tell me if the other 2 are worth a listen.


arcane-beautiful | 5/5 |


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