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Haken - Aquarius CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.09 | 960 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars There are a few things in the recipe that, for me, put a band at the top of the heap. The music must be interesting, it must be dramatic incorporating strong mood flows. The musicians must be masters of their instruments and they must not be afraid to show it. The music must be able to transport me out of my head into the world of the band or the album while I listen to it - it must be a musical adventure. If those ingredients are in place then the band or album concerned usually goes onto the top of my listening heap and stays there.

I dislike growling vocals intensely and there are a few examples of that here however where growls are used to impart a mood for dramatic purposes in music then I can appreciate it. I cannot handle music where growling is part of the norm for the music. Haken, thankfully don't use the growling vocal thing other than for ambiance where it is called for. Ross Jennings has a good voice and it enhances the music.

The individual musicians here know their stuff. Musically this album consists of ideas that are all over the place - in a good way. The band put a new, shuffled, deck of cards on the table with this offering incorporating prog metal, neo prog drama, death metal in parts, heavy jazzy prog and the kitchen sink.

The giant of the album is the last track "Celestial Elixir" which is also the longest track clocking in at close on 17 minutes. It opens sounding like Dream Theater in grandiose mood (and that is not a bad thing by any means) but it quickly forms its own Haken identity (which is also not a bad thing). The track is a carousel of musical ideas that whirls with intensity and change throughout. Listening to Haken is a roller-coaster ride on a long route that you don't know - one that's constantly changing taking one through different scenery and thrills all the time along the way.

For daring to be different yet still retaining some similarity to one of my very favourite top of the heap bands (Dream Theater) I cannot but award this album the full five stars. This is what Dream Theater could have sounded like if they decided to experiment and be more adventurous with their sound.

sukmytoe | 5/5 |


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