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Haken - Demo 2007-2008 CD (album) cover

DEMO 2007-2008

Haken

 

Heavy Prog

4.04 | 58 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group
Site and Forum Admin
4 stars Eye opener

When any artist of any kind becomes popular or is brought to new light as a progressor in that field, fans and scholars alike often look to that artist's roots in an attempt to trace his or her path to their renowned greatness. The relatively new progressive metal group Haken is no different. With their incredible debut album Aquarius, they gained instant status within the progressive rock community as one of the "new greats." Being relatively unknown prior to that 2010 release, it was natural for people to begin to dig around and look for previously unreleased material. This search was manifested in the re-release of some of the band's earlier demo material, dating back to the band's formation in 2007. The six song CD runs at nearly an hour, showcasing some of the band's earliest collective recordings. In it the listener can truly hear the roots of Haken's successful style developing within the music. From the pseudo-death metal passages to the fun near-circus music orchestral runs to the overall balance between classic progressive metal and experimental progressive rock, the demo showcases not only a collection of fantastic tunes, but the beginning of a band that is quite clearly on the road to greatness.

True to their debut album's style, the six songs run at a rough average of 10 minutes, ranging from around six minutes to over thirteen. Each song is dynamic, exciting, and jam packed with some truly creative music. Whether the band is chugging along with a killer riff, enjoying a gentle melodic section, or sailing along lines of virtuosic instrumental sections, the band seems to know exactly the right amount of each emotion in their music. I really enjoy how even as a young band the five guys have an excellent degree of chemistry and communication between instrumental as well as vocal parts. No matter the arrangement, each musician contributes fully to the overall atmosphere of the composition, giving each track a truly full sound.

I was impressed originally on the band's debut of their ability to fuse effortlessly melody in a "heavy prog" fashion with the typical prog metal seen in bands such as Dream Theater and Symphony X to create something that's not quite what I would call your standard prog metal but also not your average heavy prog. This dynamic is also present on this demo, and in some cases even more so. While the metal moments appear to be denser and heavier than on the debut, the lighthearted melodic sections also seem to be more frequent and "merry" as well, with more free-flowing orchestral arrangements and major-keyed vocal sections. The wider dynamic between the two essential poles of Haken's music give the compositions an even more creative edge, drawing in a wide range of audiences as well as appealing to an eclectic base of tastes.

In the end, despite simply being demos, Haken's early recordings are a true gem for the foreseeable developing fanboy to own. The hour of official unofficial Haken tunes are fit to appear on a full-fledged album, and are a treat really for any fan of the band's creative and fresh style. Of course as demos the production and execution is not the most perfect it could be as one would see on a studio album, but granted these are demos of a mostly independent progressive rock band, one must give the band some credit - the tracks are pretty damn good. Overall, I really enjoyed listening to these tracks and am really looking forward to the release of the band's second album Visions! 4 stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |

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