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Haken - Affinity CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.94 | 620 ratings

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5 stars The artwork for this album mimics a floppy disk sleeve, and has the perfect green phosphor colour of CRT screens... it is so nostalgic for anyone who remembers the era of MS-DOS, NewWord & Space Invaders. Of course, a 1980's inspired album does require the listener to have retained some positive feelings about the sounds of that least-favoured decade for prog fans. I am definitely in that category and the 'Affinity' concept sounded interesting from the start for me. The album opens with a short track called 'affinity.exe' that is surely a Morse code transmission, not particularly 1980's ... and then the first real track, 'Initiate' rather threw me on first hearing, because it simply sounded like the Dream Theater-inspired music that makes up so much of Haken's first couple of albums (this is not a complaint). But with '1985' (I guess around when this band's members were born), the decade's influence becomes explicit and several of the tracks are in the same vein. But this always sounds like Haken nonetheless, they have a very distinctive sound that could only be mistaken for Dream Theater at times - though with much wider invention.

There is a short episode of 'growling' from Leprous's amazing vocalist Einar Solberg, who can really sing if he wants to. Like others, I am not a big fan of growling, but I note the first two Haken albums each have a growling episode, it isn't an innovation for them. Anyway, it has its artistic purpose I am sure, and it's short.

Well I said I didn't mind the 1980's, and if more of that period's music sounded like this Haken album, I would have absolutely loved it. Every single album of this band is 5 stars for me, they are a major presence in prog rock.

Verdict: Einwahn's #1 album of 2016.

Einwahn | 5/5 |


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