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Haken - The Mountain CD (album) cover

THE MOUNTAIN

Haken

 

Heavy Prog

4.20 | 660 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

frogeater
4 stars After experiencing somewhat mixed feelings about Visions and its overall balance, compared to an outstanding debut album in my opinion, I bought The Mountain right after release with moderate enthousiasm. It took me a couple of listenings to get used to diversity of atmospheres, where Aquarius was more homogeneous. Nevertheless tracks like Cockroach King or Pareidolia proved catchy and then the variety is what makes it possible to listen to this album without any feeling of tiredness. All in all the most impressive point is that this 3rd album does not have any taste of more-of-the-same compared to the previous two efforts. Individually, the musicians are all good, the voice is definitely getting finer, keyboardist is no virtuoso but ensure the atmosphere is there, the 2 guitarists are very complementary if not born shredders, drum and bass provide the right foundation for those multiple atmospheres, and make everything sound easy and simple when compositions are actually complex. That's the main strength of Haken to me: it does not sound technical or virtuoso, there is no solo exploit, but it feels really tight and rich in sound. The production is impeccable as well.

Then there is one thing I must say: I am in my mid 30s and I have never listened - or rather, never really enjoyed - 70s-80s prog rock. Since this very album I tried a couple of Gentle Giant, I did listen to some Rush, ELP, King Crimson etc... but never got hooked and it never shocked me that Haken blatantly plagiarized without adding their personal pinch of salt. This seems to be a common criticism amongst the crowd of older prog fundamentalists... I am a fan of Dream Theater first and of the series of prog metal bands it contributed to engender; Thus I cannot comment on similarities with old prog rock, but I can say I am happy that a band uses influences to create something I truly enjoy. And for what I know, there is little trace of Dream Theater in there (that cannot be said of Circus Maximus for example, which I adore as well - or to a lesser extent of the Aquarius album).

frogeater | 4/5 |

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