Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Haken - Vector CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.68 | 332 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Vector came as a surprise to me as a fan of all of the band's earlier work, which has typically seemed like a modern metal take on classic 70s symphonic prog bands, with occasional humor from light syncopated passages. This album represents a marked shift from their previous albums to one filled mostly with heavy songs with tight arrangements, full of intricate guitar riffs, jagged dissonant chords, and highly technical drumming. These elements are not new for the band. What is new is the dominance of them throughout most of an entire album.

I should note that I am writing this on the heels of the subsequent release Virus, with the awareness that the two albums are connected and that both relate to their classic track Cockroach King.

While jarring to me at first, after a few listens I've started to appreciate this album for what it is ? a powerful, lean progressive metal album that leans more toward the metal side compared to previous albums. Dream Theater's Train of Thought would be an obvious comparison.

This lean album is still adorned with classic Haken elements. A melodic sensibility persists throughout the album despite the heaviness, through the vocals, keyboard parts, and harmonized guitar parts. There are breaks from the madness with dreamy sections with layered vocals and entertaining percussive textures. The album has some of their classic quirky keyboard moments. I think any fan of Haken's previous albums will find a lot to enjoy here.

It is impressive how overall compact the album is, while still providing an unpredictable musical journey within each song. Veil and A Cell Divides have dramatic shifts in tone. Host has a satisfying and emotional build. Even the poppier The Good Doctor takes a turn and launches into a brutal breakdown.

Another success of the album is the loose story the album tells throughout the song. I always appreciate concept albums that have a story for those interested in digging into the lyrics but also allow each song to live on its own. There are a few subtle musical and lyrical callbacks to help make the album cohesive and hint at a larger story. There aren't any theatrical intros or interludes to remind the listener that it is a concept album. Only The Good Doctor gives the overt impression that a narrative is unfolding. It is therefore curious that it also stands out from other tracks with its accessible harmonies and light horn punches. I won't pretend to fully understand the story. It seems to be about a patient in a mental institute undergoing a transformation of some kind. The liner notes include references a handful of famous psychologists including B.F. Skinner, a leader of behaviorism.

There are a couple of classic Haken elements that are downplayed on this album. First, the album does not feature much in the way of extended solo playing. There are a few moments here and there, but the album seems to instead insist on an ensemble approach through complimenting riffs and layers. While I am certainly always on board to hear a great guitar or keyboard solo from the guys, this new approach works on this album because it fits the overall musical theme of cutting the fat and delivering power packed songs. I also don't identify any moments on this album that have a certain quality characteristic of previous albums that I can only describe as majestic - the moments with soaring, uplifting melodies on top of lush guitar and keyboard layers. Songs like Celestial Elixir, Atlas Stone, and Falling Back to Earth come to mind. Again, this absence might fit the heavier tone of this album, but I can't help but pine for more of what made me fall in love with the band.

Overall, this is a fun addition to the Haken catalogue where the guys flex their metal chops while still maintaining many of their classic elements. It will be interesting to see whether they continue in this direction or blend it with the sound of previous albums. I'm excited either way.

boomer89 | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this HAKEN review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.