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HAKEN

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Haken picture
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 | 1093 ratings
Aquarius
2010
4.11 | 1130 ratings
Visions
2011
4.17 | 1217 ratings
The Mountain
2013
3.94 | 620 ratings
Affinity
2016
3.66 | 255 ratings
Vector
2018
3.63 | 207 ratings
Virus
2020

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

4.52 | 72 ratings
L-1VE
2018
4.46 | 13 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 | 109 ratings
Enter The 5th Dimension
2008
4.04 | 252 ratings
Restoration
2014
4.07 | 14 ratings
The Endless Knot
2016
4.08 | 13 ratings
Initiate
2016

HAKEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Virus by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.63 | 207 ratings

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Virus
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by King Brimstone

3 stars - Review #22 -

So, Vector and Virus are one album. They both feature the same characteristics, the same story, even a similar minimalistic album cover. I also think it deserves the same three star rating as Vector, even though I think it's better than Vector. Virus features the same amount of tracks as Vector, with their lengths going from two minutes up to seventeen, and with multiple purposes.

The ballads of the album are Canary Yellow and Only Stars, the latter being a reprise of Vector's Clear. The heavier tracks of the album are the opener Prosthetic, The Strain and Invasion. The lengthy tracks of the album, Carousel and the suite Messiah Complex, are very dynamic songs with multiple sections that work very well, they're the redeeming part of the album.

While I think that this album is great (and totally enjoyable), it's also quite generic. Djent is a progressive metal sub genre that I've always been divided about. Either it's impressive and shocking like when it's done by Meshuggah, or boring and forced like when it's done by... yeah, Haken. It's a good album though.

Three Stars.

 Aquarius by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.06 | 1093 ratings

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Aquarius
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by King Brimstone

4 stars - Review #14 -

I can safely say this is the second best Haken album. Featuring colossal compositions, wonderful (and when I say wonderful, I mean it) melodies and choruses, Aquarius is truly an excellent effort from this band. Although I must say that the concept of the story itself is very vague and bizarre: a man finds a siren, and he sells her to a circus, then they find out that if they don't kill the siren, a deluge with destroy planet earth (wtf).

With seven tracks and a runtime of 72 minutes, you are obviously going to expect lengthy tracks. Songs like The Point Of No Return showcase Haken doing everything that they're good at, like memorable melodies and short but concise solo sections. Streams features a fun breakdown near the middle. Aquarium is one of my favorites, absolutely wonderful main verse and chorus, even if Ross sounds like he's trying too hard to hit the notes in the latter one. Sun is a beautiful ballad that works as a great break from the rest of the album.

That leaves us with the closing 17-minute epic, Celestial Elixir. Its first four minutes feature reprises from previous tracks, the next four minutes present the main verse and the main chorus, which is one of the most beautiful choruses I've ever heard. After that, the band does a circus themed instrumental section with fun guitar solos. Finally near the end the chorus and verse get reprised, concluding the song. Very cohesive track, but works well.

Excellent album! I recommend it to both, prog rock fans and prog metal fans. Four stars.

 Vector by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.66 | 255 ratings

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Vector
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by King Brimstone

3 stars - Review #13 -

So, it's safe to say that Haken has gathered a very decent fan base through the years. The band itself has gone through a few fases, in fact. Vector is the second Djent-progressive metal album by Haken, the first one being Affinity, released a couple years ago.

It concentrates much more on the technical side rather than the melodic one, and this is something that many people have criticized: Haken was known for packing wonderful melodies all along their records, it was pretty much their trademark, and it was very present in their first three albums. However with Affinity, technicality took the throne and the band focused more on this aspect rather than melody making.

That's not to say that Affinity has no good melodies, just fewer. This is what happens with Vector (and Virus, since they're both technically one album split in two). While there's songs like Puzzle Box or Veil that combine instrumentals and great melodies in a very respectable way, there's other like The Good Doctor or Nil By Mouth That simply fail in the process, the latter being one of the most uninteresting tracks the band has made.

With that said, it's still a great progressive metal album, and worth checking out. Although it might be worth saying that this album doesn't sound too unique, many progressive metal bands sound like this already. Three Stars.

 The Mountain by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.17 | 1217 ratings

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The Mountain
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by King Brimstone

4 stars - Review #2 -

Terrific work. Very easily the best album by this British band that emerged out of nowhere. In this album, Haken combines the technicality and dynamism of Dream Theater with the bizarre vocal work of Gentle Giant, along with slight jazz influences and a very good use of melody.

The album's music is spread across nine tracks of very different lengths, going from just two minutes to ten. It's very clear that the short tracks (more specifically, the ones under four minutes, excluding Because It's There) work as small interludes to build up tension before a track, or to provide a break from one. These tracks are:

The opener: The Path, which features soothing melodies that open up the album in an amazing way. The first proper ballad of the album: Because It's There, which once again, works as an amazing break from the previous tracks. And the second ballad: As Death Embraces, which builds up some tension before the +10 minute track that comes right after it.

Then there's four tracks that work as very strong and balanced efforts, I personally think they're the best from the album:

Atlas Stone: Which features some serious jazz influences presented in a Gentle Giant-esque way. Cockroach King: The most popular song from the band, which once again presents influence from jazz (mostly classic) and Gentle Giant. In Memoriam: A short track that packs a punch with its fast paced sections. And Somebody: Which is a nine minute ballad that closes the album amazingly with a charming chorus.

Finally, the two juggernauts, which catch the attention of everyone that take a peek at the album's track list:

Pareidolia: A very Devin Townsend/Dream Theater influences track that features a very epic thematic and more technical instrumental sections, along with a build up that starts after the instrumental section mentioned before. Falling Back To Earth: My personal favorite. Perfect balance between heaviness and melody, amazing melody. This track's chorus is the most memorable thing in the entire album, to be honest.

Absolutely recommended if you're a fan of Dream Theater or Gente Giant, The Mountain is Haken's masterwork. Four stars.

 Restoration by HAKEN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
4.04 | 252 ratings

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Restoration
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by dougmcauliffe

5 stars //Short Review

Haken is a band that I got pretty deep into earlier this year and introduced to last year with their album Virus which now over a year later, in my eyes still holds up as one of their best works. The Haken fan community is probably one of the most kind and friendly groups of folks I've run into in music circles, and I think that's because Haken hasn't released anything that I could see people perceiving as a true stinker. I've heard some fans say they don't particularly like the direction of the newest two records, but I've never seen anybody actually call a Haken album "bad." I think every Haken album is good, some are better than others, but any album front to back is going to an enjoyable listening experience. Now if somebody asked me my favorite Haken album, i'd say The Mountain*. Why's there an asterisks next to it? Because truly, my favorite Haken release is the Restoration EP here, which in my eyes could be long enough to be considered a full length, single album. At the end of the day, the attached label "EP" has no bearing on what we have here, Restoration is my favorite collection of Haken music. I love that album to album you can really see marginal improvements in the drumming, on top of this I think in this shorter format the band on one hand gets to hold back a little and restrain themselves from overstaying their welcome, while on the same token also exploring the long song format on the ending epic Crystalized to the best degree and execution I think they ever have. In my opinion, once you start having multiple epics on one album it can be a little exhausting, so this comfy runtime strikes a chord with me. As for the songs, Darkest Light is an awesome groovy, menacing, heavy prog metal affair with chugging guitars along with those huge Haken hooks and vocal lines. Earthlings is a gorgeous clean guitar driven track with great flow and feel throughout, I love the slowburn nature of this track and how it takes its time to develop and breathe. The crown jewel of this release is certainly the 19 minute Crystallized which is simply one of my favorite songs of the last decade. The track has a very positive and upbeat aura around it. I love the windy guitar lines and melodies that open it up as well as the tight and groovy staccato vocal delivery. The band takes you through peaks in valleys but my favorite passage of this song is when the band embraces their inner Jethro Tull around the 11-minute mark. It's just pure feel-good melodic bliss and man! That Harpsichord shreds! Along with this, Haken doesn't fail to bring that quirky, Gentle Giant inspired twist that's become an archetype of their music. The song closes on a big soaring finish, with inspiring instrumentation and a very "finale" feel to the vocals around it. A fantastic track that never has my attention drifting, every minute counts.

I'm giving this 5 stars, this is my favorite EP, my favorite Haken release, and I just love the songs, styles and influences they embrace throughout.

 Restoration by HAKEN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
4.04 | 252 ratings

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Restoration
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by Isaac Peretz

1 stars After the considerably overrated "The Mountain", Haken released their second EP, "Restoration". It basically sounds the exact same as The Mountain and I'm not joking, all three tracks could've been in that album.

Darkest Light is a generic prog metal tracks that copies Dream Theater WAAAAY too much. Please make something that makes you say "That's Haken!" not "That's Dream Theater!". I simply don't care at all about that track.

Earthlings is a truly beautiful song, it has an amazing build up and, pay attention to what I'm about to say: It's just as long as it deserves to be. I ended up really liking this track and I feel like it's the best work from the album.

That's something I can't say about Crystallized! The closing "epic" is hailed by many as Haken's master work. To me it just proves (along with Visions' title track) that Haken doesn't know how to make epics. An epic is a track that is +20 minutes long because it *needs* to be of that length, otherwise many aspects and sections of the track would go to waste if it got trimmed. Crystallized is a ten minute song overextended to almost twice its length. And I'm very sorry but it just doesn't work. You can tell they had a good concept behind it but was unfortunately ruined when they bloated it. Just, not good.

One Star.

 Virus by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.63 | 207 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
4.52 | 72 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
3.66 | 255 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
3.94 | 620 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.

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

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