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Richard Henshall - The Cocoon CD (album) cover

THE COCOON

Richard Henshall

 

Progressive Metal

3.61 | 44 ratings

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A Crimson Mellotron
2 stars Haken mastermind and multi-instrumentalist Richard Henshall released his first solo album in 2019, and if I am not wrong this is the very first solo album to come from anyone in Haken.

He obviously blended a variety of influences here, trying to disassociate this album as much from the band. However, all this to a result that is simply unappealing to my taste and perception of music.

We can hear jazz, metal, pop, ambient, math rock, and even hip-hop all thrown in the mixer, resulting in some directionless, in my opinion, compositions that sound overly chiseled here and there.

Opener 'Pupa' is a mellow and ambient little piece leading to the main song on the album, the title track 'Cocoon' where Hen displays his songwriting ability and his guitar craft. We get a sax solo that comes as a surprising but pleasant treat.

'Silken Chains' is another guitar-oriented song that falls in the 'forgettable' category of mine. 'Limbo' is another shorter interlude made up of ambient soundscapes and vocal melodies provided by Henshall, that is leading to the really messy track 'Lunar Room'. This song happens to be written by Bent Knee-native Ben Levin who also raps on this track. There are also female vocals, guitar solos, and many things that do not leave me astonished and wanting to hear the track again.

'Twisted Shadows' sounds like the track that could fit on the Haken albums of this period ('Vector' or 'Virus'). Ross Jennings also provides vocals and Jordan Rudess lays down a keyboard solo. The song is very technically honed and much heavier than the rest of the album. I do not have much to say about the closing track 'Afterglow' except that it could have been left out.

Generally, this is not the kind of album that is appealing to me. It is decent for what it is, that is for sure. Still, given Henshall's background, I must compare it to Haken and admit it sounds weaker than any of their albums. He is a fantastic and very talented player but his powers work better in the band environment at this moment, in my humble opinion.

A Crimson Mellotron | 2/5 |

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