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Haken - The Mountain CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.17 | 1135 ratings

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4 stars While I've listened to all of the Haken releases so far, and have been very impressed with the musicianship and compositional skills of the band, this is the first album in which I feel that the boys aren't just trying to "show off"--in which they aren't trying to purposely wow and dazzle. The slowed down compositional approach allows a more broad-spectrum emotional side of the band to be exhibited--which is what I've needed to feel engaged, drawn into the music. Both Aquarius and Visions are albums of impressive music, but The Mountain is the first I've liked well enough to actually buy. The impressive YouTube video for "Pariedolia" (10:51) (9/10) is what got me into really giving this album a serious listen. What makes me critical of this album, however, is the fact that virtually every song sounds familiar. "Atlas Stone" (7:34) (9/10) as excellent as it is, keeps reminding me of ANATHEMA, NEMO, Jem Godfrey's FROST* and AMPLIFIER's Octopus; "Cockroach King" (8:15) (9/10) seems like the band's foray into 'heavy' GENTLE GIANT and 10CC territory; "In Memoriam" (4:17) (8/10) brings me again to FROST*, ANATHEMA and STEVEN WILSON's recent more stuff (especially the vocals and lyrics); "Because It's There" (4:24) (7/10) out Moon's MOON SAFARI, but, in the end, it's just Moon Safari, isn't it? "Falling Back to Earth" (11:51) (9/10) has a cool combination of heavy metal and jazz in a MAD CRAYON/RIVERSIDE kind of way (excellent vocal, btw); "As Death Embraces" (3:14) (9/10) returns to a very STEVEN WILSON/RADIOHEAD kind of minimalist form (with better vocals, I must admit); "Pariedolia", as awesome as it is, could easily come from a PORCUPINE TREE album, and; "Somebody" (9:01) (8/10) plays out just like an ANATHEMA song, despite the silly "I wish I could have been somebody" vocal rondo section. Don't get me wrong, I've been enjoying this album--as a whole and as individual songs come up on my iPod shuffle. Sometimes I just get a little frustrated with the lack of originality or lack of innovation in today's music. Still, this is an excellent album--definitely worthy of four to five stars. A masterpiece? Probably.
BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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