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HAKEN

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Haken biography
Founded in 2007 in London, England

HAKEN is a young but respected outfit from London that started strong, rose to the top of the progressive market, and ended up producing the 80-minute epic 'Aquarius' in 2010. Initially the band was the project of three school buddies - Richard HENSHALL[guitar/keys], Ross JENNINGS[vocals], and Matt MARSHALL[guitar] - who were soon joined by keyboardist Peter JONES and drummer Raymond HEARNE. With the help of TO-MERA guitarist Tom MacLEAN on bass they recorded a three cut demo in 2007 that received good responses and got the band booked in support of RIVERSIDE that year.

In 2008, JONES and MARSHALL left to pursue other interests and were replaced by guitarist Charlie GRIFFITHS [LINEAR SPHERE/ANCHORHEAD] and the keys of Diego TEJEIDA and after touring to support KINGS X, BIGELF and TO-MERA, Laser's Edge signed HAKEN to their progmetal label Sensory Records.

Musically HAKEN is many-faceted: sometimes song-oriented, sometimes avant-garde, often heavy, and always Prog. A twisted meeting of RUSH, The TANGENT, KANSAS,and hints of Italian symph, the six-piece is sure to please a very wide spectrum of prog listener.

- Atavachron (David) -

See also: - TO-MERA

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HAKEN discography


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HAKEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.06 | 1081 ratings
Aquarius
2010
4.13 | 1112 ratings
Visions
2011
4.17 | 1199 ratings
The Mountain
2013
3.91 | 606 ratings
Affinity
2016
3.71 | 238 ratings
Vector
2018
3.68 | 190 ratings
Virus
2020

HAKEN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.56 | 65 ratings
L-1VE
2018
4.22 | 9 ratings
L+1VE
2018

HAKEN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

HAKEN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

HAKEN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.96 | 107 ratings
Enter The 5th Dimension
2008
4.10 | 243 ratings
Restoration
2014
4.00 | 13 ratings
The Endless Knot
2016
4.00 | 12 ratings
Initiate
2016

HAKEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Virus by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.68 | 190 ratings

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Virus
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

3 stars The English prog metal band Haken returns with the eagerly awaited sequel to its previous album (released in October 2018), a new chapter which has been highlighted with two previous albums. The proposed concept is the continuation of the "psychoanalytic" story set in the 1950s: we return, in fact, to the maze of the human mind.

Virus, unlike its predecessor Vector, is more intricate in the heavy parts, but also manages to find a compromise with the quieter parts. The album opens with the 'Prosthetic', a piece that starts off aggressively with a massive shredding, and then slows down with Ross, who masterfully interprets texts focused on the discomfort, fears, anxieties and negative thoughts of the patient in analysis.

The form and convincing rhythmic lines, are precise and error-free, heavy elements dominate, but when the vocals take over, especially when it comes to the chorus, we are facing one of the most beautiful ' pop' style oriented refrains. The production is really very similar to what we heard on Vector, with a hypermodern cut and very saturated sounds, Virus is also very focused on guitars and it would have been nice to hear a little more of the brilliant interludes of keyboardist Diego Tejeida, rhythm section, precise and clean as usual, Ray Hearne's drumming combines moments of pure technique and skill with less complex moments, giving the right balance to everything. The entire band is always at the service of the pieces.

Another great album of modern prog, and another important piece in their discography. The English band now knows what they are doing, the ideas they have in mind are always fresh and in most cases they have never disappointed.

But it's important to say that we never know what this band will do next, I personally would love to hear the progressive eclectic madness from the first three albums again, but we just have to wait and see.

 L-1VE by HAKEN album cover Live, 2018
4.56 | 65 ratings

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L-1VE
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars The London progressive rock band Haken were on an extensive European tour to celebrate their 10th band anniversary. Last stop in Amsterdam and "L-1VE" is recorded there.

Haken had released four albums by then, and through them presented a sea of different styles and ways of composing. This live album focuses primarily on the last two excellent records "Affinity" from 2016 and the predecessor "The Mountain" from 2013, they also serve the title track of their second album "Visions" and an almost surreally good medley of their debut album "Aquarius". which is simply called "Aquamedley" - Now this is a real display of a great band, in just 23 minutes they presented the whole debut in a self-contained, massive work, in an amazing - perfect way, and for me this is the highlight of this live album.

A very important thing is that the band plays their compositions in such a perfect way that there is almost no difference between the studio versions and these live ones.

All in all, "L-1VE" is a must have live album for all prog lovers.

 Vector by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.71 | 238 ratings

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Vector
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

3 stars Haken for now has two eras, I say "for now" because you never know what these fantastic musicians have up their sleeve. The first era would be from 2010 to 2013 and for me personally, it is the favorite period of the band, mega compositions with elements ranging from symphony, to heavy sounds accompanied by a constant eclectic dose of strange and twisted, but presented brilliantly in unforgettable concepts. Affinity from 2016, is in a way a transitional phase where the band changes the Hammond and other vintage keyboards with the sounds of the eighties, and there is a greater metal impact.

And now we come to "Vector" it sounds harsh, badass even. This game with atmospheres and intensities, which Haken celebrated so wonderfully on previous releases, has been moved to "Vector" in favor of the metal tones. Pretty consistent - Heavy guitars, a driving bass and an almost exploding and constantly driving drums. It has something like a concept, a basic theme that runs through the seven songs, somewhere between psychology and esotericism. The album required a little more listening for me, and after that, melodies develop and seem to become more catchy. Of course, what you hear remains prog-metal, but the few somewhat quieter and more moderate passages gain in importance.

"Veil" turns out to be more varied than the rest of the numbers, the ballad-like intro, electronics, e-piano, brutal passages, very catchy quiet sections, not a full on metal tune, and its composed quite well.

As the band did so far, we still have an explosion of musical expressions, definitely less attention is paid to creating landscapes represented by various elements of music, but the sheer commitment to the heavy elements with great melodies and instrumental highlights, and the incredible musical ability makes this album a great listening material.

 Affinity by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.91 | 606 ratings

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Affinity
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars "Affinity" is the almost perfect connection between complexity and catchiness. Individual songs can always be heard on the side, but the record can also be received as a concept album - delivering an exciting story on the topics of human development in the machine age, man and machine, modern society and virtual realities.

The second track called "Initiate" puts you in the 80s mood and it's important to say that throughout the album retro 80s keyboard sound is represented - ultra-modern, original prog and a journey back to the eighties. Elements of retro music are presented, but the sound remains extremely modern with real djent pieces in it.

An interface filled to the breaking point of the most varied of influences is delivered and precisely presented from the own style which this band has been representing for years. The piece forms a nice contrast between the bomastic parts which are of course accompanied by excellent riffs, and keyboard parts that come to the fore in some of the quiet songs. "The Architect" locking in at 15:40 - Classical elements are added here, which harmonize splendidly with the robot effects, jazzy spherical sounds, massive metal chord walls. A real epic, done perfectly, and a real show of the band's excellent musical understanding.

Colorful surprise bag, that offers compositions of the most varied of colors, and somehow holds together in a miraculous way.

 Aquarius by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.06 | 1081 ratings

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Aquarius
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars If you want to enter the phenomenal world of progressive rock, and immediately leave the influence of the new and original, you have to do something that will leave the listener breathless. Haken did just that with their first album "Aquarius" from 2010.

"The Point of No Return", start the album with a fantastic fresh and new way of presenting heavy eclectic sounds that immediately grab attention. After the first tones of the piece it relies entirely on the voice of singer Ross Jennings - only accompanied by piano and strings - before the distorted guitars start a storm of heavy sounds is delivered. Then comes the classic prog-instrumental competition, where guitars, drums, bass and keyboards alternate with each other.

The album presents a great concept related to the problem of global warming, told in a masterful way through the story of a fisherman who found a mermaid, which he then sells to the circus, and her blood is the only way to bring salvation to the human race. Prog metal, fair and circus music, jazzy interludes, lyrical, ballad-like moments, power pop and playful hard rock all mixed into twisted, but highly melodic rock epics. Guitars, keyboards, profound bass, virtuoso drums, everything stands next to each other as a matter of course, and merges into a compositional madness that simply keeps you on the edge of your nerves.

On "Celestial Elixir", the rocker genes of the band come to the fore again, the central element is a fantastic rock riff. It represents the epic of this album, with a duration of almost seventeen minutes. All the elements, sounds and ideas that the band brought, are perfectly manifested in this work.

Full of variety, with colored arrangements, for this album I can freely say that it is a masterpiece, and one of the best debuts in the recent history of prog rock.

 Visions by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.13 | 1112 ratings

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Visions
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Melancholy, ballad, acoustic melodies and fat bombastic parts, between dreamy piano interludes and metal guitars. Everything in their compositions is logical and perfectly tailored, and despite the constant changes really accessible, and with each listen new things are discovered, fascinating adventures full of dazzling impressions. Although we can say that this work is perhaps a little less "adventurous" than the first album, and a little more catchy, this album still represents the band's further progress into the, one might say, the unexplored territories of progressive rock - meaningfully linked and processed music, with an almost inexhaustible wealth of ideas into a compact, varied and entertaining mix. I say this because this band, with their way of composing and presenting various musical elements, can hardly be classified in any subgenre.

Unlike the first album it can also be noticed that the strong and fat guitar riffs come to the fore, and represent the central part of the album. Jennings in particular played a major role in the success of this work, he leads through this musical rhapsody with a pleasant, full and powerful voice. Haken basically composed deep, multi-layered tunes, and deliverd amazing sounds. In 71 minutes of this material they bring the concept story about a boy that experiences a premonition of his own death, and a diverse and ambitious vision, with a wide musical range, fluid and cohesive and at every moment, everything is exactly where it should be

 The Mountain by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.17 | 1199 ratings

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The Mountain
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars Haken is one of those bands that has definitely brought a pleasant refreshment to the world of progressive rock. Founded in 2007, they have released six albums to date and each represents a special musical endeavor. Their album "The Mountain" represents a real progressive ride through mix of classic prog, a bit of prog metal and new art rock, which is packed fantastically into their compositions. It delivers a loose concept record about overcoming life's struggles.

Multifaceted, polyphonic, melodic, pleasant, with pianos, voluminous bombast, increasing moods, sometimes cracking, hard guitars - integrating a wide variety of elements very well into the overall musical picture. Transitions flow well into one another, even the long tracks do not appear fragmented or forced all presented with a lot of harmony. So many ideas, so many interesting passages, very convincing singing, which is from time to time, very reminiscent of the polyphonic singing of Gentle Giant.

All of the songs are composed of several parts and contain soft passages, and bombastic sections, jazz/fusion-like sounds as well as rocky parts, all of which have an effect, and show how original and new progressive rock can be.

 Virus by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.68 | 190 ratings

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Virus
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by Corcoranw687

5 stars This album is crazy. I can't think of any other album from 2020 I've heard so far that defines "progressive rock". These guys are not sound chasers, looking to recreate the musical palette of older bands. This is an album that only cites one influence, and it cities it so heavily you can't help but wonder what they were even thinking when they decided to take a chorus from one of their most popular songs and make a 20 minute epic out of it? I don't even know where to start with this album, so I'll start where I think they want me to; their previous album. This album continues the story of the previous album, and yes there was one. Something very important here is listening over and over again with the lyric booklet, to both of these albums. This is some "Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" level stuff, I keep listening and the picture becomes easier to visualize. This is such a multi-layered puzzle box with such clear layers and pieces, it's incredible really. This is a collection of two albums that never stops giving... I want to take a quick look at each track and then what I think makes this truly a perfect album.

I've seen several reviews call Prosthetic a "to the point opener", someone even likened this track to Fear Factory which I think about every time I listen to the first 90 seconds of focused heavy metal playing. This begins simply and then starts to unravel, as Haken like to do, and within those 90 seconds you have 6 or 7 different riffs and sections, but it never feels too frantic or unfocused. Invasion continues, reminding one of Leprous at first before giving that distinct sound I call the "Haken chord", also found at the start of Puzzle Box on the previous album. Carousel might be the best Haken song overall and I don't want to say much more, what a brilliant progression of sections. The Strain is delightful, Haken like to put a slower piece in the center but the reduced BPM doesn't change the fact they are crafting a brilliant song, within the confines of a longer story and theme, and all musicians are constantly showing off in a very non-obnoxious way. Here we can draw comparisons to Rush. Canary Yellow is slow and deliberate, once again a nice song, an attempt to calm us before we are attacked again. The production stands out here more than ever; this album sounds beautiful. There are so many tracks at once and everything sounds so...correct. Everything breathes the way it should and not one note ever sounds out of place or poorly mixed. The praise doesn't stop as we reach Messiah Complex which still baffles me, and I have heard this album well over 100 times now. What other band just... takes a piece of an older song and makes it a new song, and we all love it? We listen to them repeat pieces of Vector and The Mountain in a new context and I don't speak for everyone, but I don't groan, I think "this is such a confident and complete piece of music". Haken have done pieces of similar length before, but this one has about one minute of "downtime" in part 3, otherwise it's a constant heavy metal epic. Calling back to their own achievements, wearing their influences on their sleeves and creating something new because they can. Only Stars is a great ending, about 2 minutes of Ross Jennings and atmosphere. I don't need anything else from a closing track. If this ended a concert I would probably be the first audible "WOOO".

If you've skipped out, please listen. This is a sequel to Vector, although I honestly don't hear any sort of connection between A Cell Divides and Prosthetic, apparently they are a bridge between the albums? 2018's Vector and 2020's Virus are Haken's defining statement and I agree with it. Haken are telling us they have only been around for 10 years, and yet they are the future of their own type of music. I appear to be able to listen to this every day and encourage you to try it if you haven't. Easy 5 stars

 Virus by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.68 | 190 ratings

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Virus
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron

3 stars A really good progressive metal album! I must say that at this point nothing less is expected from Haken - the 'relatively' young London outfit that started well in 2007, has released a bunch of milestone, in my opinion, hard-hitting heavy prog albums since then.

'Virus' was presented as the continuation of their 2018 release 'Vector' - both lyrically and musically, even the covers are also purposely identical. And in reality the sound of their new album is not too far away from what we got on 'Vector', maybe even a bit heavier, which is the direction they have been re-orienting themselves into since the middle of the last decade, most likely influenced by the rising popularity of the so-called 'djent' (which is ideally a sub-genre of progressive metal that became notorious for its distorted, palm-muted, and low-pitch guitar sound). So, the grandiosity and lavishness of their first three albums is almost gone, in favor of a heavier sound, more guitar-centered sound.

The album is well produced, and even better written. There are several interesting moments but overall this is far from the quality of their first albums, if you ask me. This album is in a way replicating the trends in the genre from that period which I am not so much in favor of. The initial impressive idea that the album gave me has faded away slightly, giving place to a feeling that this is just another really good prog metal album.

The opening track 'Prosthetic' is one of the heaviest songs by Haken ever, also serving as a bridge between this album and 'Vector'. The Devin Townsend influence can be felt here, as they toured together not too long ago.

'Invasion' is a guitar-oriented song with multiple keyboard effects and an interesting vocal performance by Jennings.

'Carousel' is undoubtedly the best song on 'Virus' - it is heavy, complex, with all the quirky twists and turns performed gracefully by the band, very memorable and interesting addition to Haken's repertoire.

'The Strain' is almost a 'power pop metal' track if this makes any sense. Very fast-paced, with a catchy chorus but not too much adventure, this is my only problem with it.

'Canary Yellow' is a bit more lyrical, and atmospheric, not a bad track but not among my favorites.

'Messiah Complex' is for me the watershed track here - As much as I understand the reasons for which they split it into five pieces rather than one 17-minute killer song, I really believe they took a bit of the [possible] magic of it. The song itself - I find it too sharded and swerving into so many different places that in the very end it does not make too much sense. Just as an example from the band itself, 'The Architect' from 'Affinity' is a much more coherent 15-minute metal epic.

'Only Stars' is a decent album closer.

'Virus' is a great addition to Haken's catalogue, the album is very turbulent and technical, chiseled on the edges, and still containing colorful song ideas. However, it is a bit less special in terms of the aftertaste that albums like 'Aquarius' or 'The Mountain' give. I wonder if they will go on with this direction of guitar-oriented heavy prog, or they will look back and embrace again the more cinematic and dramatic early prog sound, or even better - reinvent themselves and show that they really carry the progressive spirit.

 Virus by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.68 | 190 ratings

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Virus
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by FatherChristmas

5 stars Haken is one of those bands that becomes better with each record, and this is their masterpiece. Musically, I think this is a concept album (which I'll go into later), though I don't know if it has a story. Whatever, it's a great album and I recommend to all.

The album begins with the bombastic "Prosthetic", a mainly instrumental track with just two distorted verses, and a few rounds of choruses. I think this is Virus's overture, some of the structures, if not exact riffs, are repeated later on. It demonstrates Haken's powers of musicianship immediately, imaginative riffing, various motifs, and - believe or not, a catchy chorus! I can actually remember the words! Anyway, an eye-opening opener.

Next, solo vocals accompanied by a synth begin "Invasion". More imaginative riffing, but with a (only slightly) more conventional structure (verse-chorus-verse-chorus-middle section-verse-instumental-verse-chorus-instrumental). Don't let that turn you away, hardcore proggers! This is the first proper song on Virus, begins things nicely for the vocals, and is another top-notch track.

Nothing compared, perhaps, to what's coming. "Carousel" opens quietly, but gets louder quite quickly, and that's all I'll say. The song boasts complex structure, idiosyncratic time signatures, some of the best playing yet and an epic accomplishment altogether. Talking of the word "epic", this song really is the first epic - anything you might want in a song is here. That's all you need to know; if you buy it/have just bought it this one to look out for.

"Strain" begins with a fairly quiet guitar riff that, like "Carousel", becomes loud. It pretty much sticks to this all through the song, which is almost like an aftermath to "Carousel" (and if this really is a concept album, it probably is about a strain of a/the virus). It reminds me of another band I reviewed recently for the modern/new prog blog, Taskaha (not yet listed on PA), featuring hard rock but a very dramatic, emotional side to it.

After "Strain", the lighter "Canary Yellow" enters with drums and soft guitar. At about one and a half minutes through it becomes heavier, until it breaks down completely, and slowly starts building up again. And then it explodes. I suppose it's a bit of a personal favourite for me, it's very well done, and not too long or heavy. But that's the end of what I like to refer to as... PART ONE.

PART TWO, therefore, opens with "Messiah Complex I: Ivory Tower" (the first part of the Messiah Complex sequence). It begins with a muted guitar riff that soon develops into a loud, heavy riff. From there I won't describe it, but it basically acts like the prelude to the whole sequence: dark, mysterious, almost warning of what's ahead.

The next part, "Messiah Complex II: A Glutton for Punishment", flows effortlessly from "Ivory Tower" with a much faster, bombastic riff. The vocals are shouted over this throughout (though there are several changes made from the original riff - variations, if you know what I mean. It's probably the loudest track on the album - in a good way, though.

"Messiah Complex III: Marigold" opens a lot quieter than "A Glutton for Punishment", but does not stay that way (Haken are prog metal, after all) - at about fifty-five seconds in a killer of a riff comes in that in my mind literally says anarchy. At about one minute thirty it slows down to a stomp and the distorted lyrics come in. In fact, I'll take back what I said about just the riff saying anarchy. It's the whole song. It's completely crazy. But anyway...

The sequence continues with "Messiah Complex IV: The Sect, opening with the same riff, which then stops and some weird harmonised vocals start. It's probably the most techy, advanced track on the album - there are some especially weird synths and... a saxophone solo? That's what it sounds like. It soon ends, however, into...

"Messiah Complex V: Ectobius Rex". The deadly ender. It begins with a fateful guitar riff, which builds up into a slow rhythmed song featuring some reprises from "Ivory Tower", "Prosthetic" and "Carousel". It has every quality of a finale - especially the crescendo at the end. It isn't, though...

"Only Stars" is. It starts with a dark piano ostinato accompanied by vocals, and stays like that until the end when it fades out. It is very quiet; like a rest from the loud, powerful Messiah Complex. Certainly a chilling outro - and the end of PART TWO, as I personally like to say.

And so, I reach my conclusion. The question is, is it five stars or not five stars? To aid me in this decision, I present my personal requirements for a five star album, that I like to add to very one of my reviews to make it look all fancy and official:

The songs must all be excellent.

It must work brilliantly as an album.

I've been thinking about this for a while, and in the end, both requirements are met. Every song is excellent (the Messiah Complex sequence in particular) and they couldn't work better together. I really can't fault this album. So it's a strong five stars.

Thanks to atavachron for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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