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Haken - Visions CD (album) cover

VISIONS

Haken

 

Heavy Prog

4.12 | 731 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 9/10

"Visions" is the album for which Haken will be remembered as the paladins of prog rock/metal to come.

With "Aquarius" Haken had been recognized by many as one of the next legends of progressive music. With "Visions", their sophomore LP released a year after (I got the promo version of this a month earlier than the official release) was this prediction seems to be certain: the band has reached a level of maturity and songwriting that make their music sound always unpredictable and open to new horizons. Yes, this is the very basic definition of progressive.

On "Aquarius" everything sounded so expensive and gorgeously arranged, with tons of eclecticism in their sound. Here, the members are a little more focused, they are more concentrated on the melody and musicianship more than the little things surrounding them, those little details that seemed to be absolutely necessary and essential in the debut. It is obvious that the band has taken a step forward and truly learned what progressive music is, improving their style in every way. However, the style itself hasn't changed much; it's still that blend of prog rock and metal that we loved so much a year ago, but there's a somewhat more straight-forward approach to "Visions", a direct consequence of the above mentioned new characteristics it has.

"Visions" is also a conceptually more complex and darker album than the debut: instead of a little corny water concept, the sophomore puts in front of you a lot of existentialism, meaning of life and death, and focusing more on man's emotions, strengths and weaknesses. While this kind of album isn't exactly new, it feels new, as a matter of fact, it feels like the future. However the lyrics make this concept a little cheesier than what it is, and this is surely not something new for prog metal lyrics.

The albums is another beast lengthwise, like "Aquarius", having more than 70 minutes of music, but it honestly feels like time flies by pretty quickly. It's not a hard listen, and it's an absolute delight as well. "Nocturnal Conspiracy" is a magnificently structured song, containing some great haunting moments that are certain highlights. There's also the amazing trilogy in the middle of the album, starting with the pretty-straight forward and melodic piece "The Mind's Eye", continuing with the instrumental "Portals" easily the "Dance Of Eternity" of the band, and finishing with "Shapeshifter" the longest and most complex one of the trilogy, a fabulous song that borrows some electronic and some circus music as well. "Deathless" is a moving and very experimental sounding ballad, very long as well, but very deep and a little dreamy too. But the best song of the album, which is also of the band, and one of the finest pieces in prog metal history, is the twenty two minute title track. Everything about this song is flawless, amazing hook(s), great musicianship, it is the very essence of what modern prog is.

"Visions" has topped pretty much every single prog album this year. This is the first LP for which Haken will be remembered as the paladins of prog rock/metal to come. A masterpiece.

EatThatPhonebook | 5/5 |

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