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HAKEN

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Haken biography
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

Haken official website

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HAKEN Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy HAKEN Music


MountainMountain
Inside Out U.S. 2013
Audio CD$8.48
$11.40 (used)
VisionsVisions
Sensory Records 2011
Audio CD$9.65
$8.81 (used)
AquariusAquarius
Sensory Records 2010
Audio CD$9.69
$7.99 (used)
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HAKEN shows & tickets


  • Haken at Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg on 28 Aug 2014
  • HAKEN on 29 Aug 2014
  • Haken + Pitpony at Maschinenhaus, Berlin on 29 Aug 2014
  • Ino-Rock Festival 2014 on 30 Aug 2014
  • Haken at Logo, Hamburg on 31 Aug 2014
  • Haken + Leprous + Maschine at The Garage, London on 23 Oct 2014
  • Haken + Leprous + Maschine at The Assembly, Leamington Spa on 24 Oct 2014
  • Bristol Prog Invasion on 26 Oct 2014
  • Haken + Leprous + Maschine at The Village, Dublin on 29 Oct 2014
  • Haken + Leprous + Maschine at Club Academy, Manchester on 31 Oct 2014
  • Haken + Leprous + Maschine at Liquid Room, Edinburgh on 1 Nov 2014
  • Haken + Leprous + Maschine at The Duchess, York on 2 Nov 2014
  • Generation Prog Festival 2014 on 15 Nov 2014
  • Generation Prog Festival on 15 Nov 2014

HAKEN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

4.07 | 734 ratings
Aquarius
2010
4.12 | 731 ratings
Visions
2011
4.21 | 635 ratings
The Mountain
2013

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

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)

3.99 | 51 ratings
Demo 2007-2008
2008

HAKEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Visions by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.12 | 731 ratings

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Visions
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

5 stars After becoming completely enthralled with Haken's 2013 release, "The Mountain", I kept my eye out for copies of their earlier albums. Recently, I found "Visions" available locally, so it looks like I'll be working backwards through this band.

Apparently. "The Mountain" is no fluke. While I personally like it better, especially for the jazzy influences and Gentle Giant-like vocals they added. But this album is no lightweight either. Working on a base of Dream Theater influenced prog metal, these guys have come up with a unique blend of prog of all sorts.

While the most prevalent sound may be metal, it is not so overbearing as to make this a thrashing headbanger album. The elegant vocals and swirling complexity raise this far above most prog metal, and most modern bands in general.

This, like "The Mountain", is a joy to listen to from start to finish.

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 The Mountain by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.21 | 635 ratings

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The Mountain
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by frogeater

4 stars After experiencing somewhat mixed feelings about Visions and its overall balance, compared to an outstanding debut album in my opinion, I bought The Mountain right after release with moderate enthousiasm. It took me a couple of listenings to get used to diversity of atmospheres, where Aquarius was more homogeneous. Nevertheless tracks like Cockroach King or Pareidolia proved catchy and then the variety is what makes it possible to listen to this album without any feeling of tiredness. All in all the most impressive point is that this 3rd album does not have any taste of more-of-the-same compared to the previous two efforts. Individually, the musicians are all good, the voice is definitely getting finer, keyboardist is no virtuoso but ensure the atmosphere is there, the 2 guitarists are very complementary if not born shredders, drum and bass provide the right foundation for those multiple atmospheres, and make everything sound easy and simple when compositions are actually complex. That's the main strength of Haken to me: it does not sound technical or virtuoso, there is no solo exploit, but it feels really tight and rich in sound. The production is impeccable as well.

Then there is one thing I must say: I am in my mid 30s and I have never listened - or rather, never really enjoyed - 70s-80s prog rock. Since this very album I tried a couple of Gentle Giant, I did listen to some Rush, ELP, King Crimson etc... but never got hooked and it never shocked me that Haken blatantly plagiarized without adding their personal pinch of salt. This seems to be a common criticism amongst the crowd of older prog fundamentalists... I am a fan of Dream Theater first and of the series of prog metal bands it contributed to engender; Thus I cannot comment on similarities with old prog rock, but I can say I am happy that a band uses influences to create something I truly enjoy. And for what I know, there is little trace of Dream Theater in there (that cannot be said of Circus Maximus for example, which I adore as well - or to a lesser extent of the Aquarius album).

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 The Mountain by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.21 | 635 ratings

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The Mountain
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by ergaster

2 stars Lots of my friends love this album to death, and it seems to have rated pretty highly in a bunch of prog-type year-end music lists and suchlike...so finally I broke down and listened to it a few times.

Wow. And I don't mean that in a good way.

Now, there is lots of virtuosity here, no argument. These guys can really play, they have moments of compositional brilliance, there are seconds in a row where I can appreciate the sheer unapologetic progness of the enterprise....

...but holy god guys, just because you can do it doesn't mean you should do it. I don't think there is a "prog" meme or trope or notion or bridge or passage or stereotype these guys haven't used. Repeatedly. Over and over and over, bludgeoning the listener with sheer unadulterated progacity into whimpering submission.

And influences are one thing...but seriously...Okay, you like Gentle Giant. But you don't have to like them every thirty seconds for a bloody hour. Even occasionally tossing some Porcupine Tree tributes into the mix can't save this mess.

I just don't get it. The Mountain is like a parody of everything that made prog a laughing stock back in the day. This isn't brilliance, it is a relentless, poorly-thought-out stew of derivative "prog rock" spewed out by my speakers. It's too bad really, because there are some decent moments.

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 The Mountain by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.21 | 635 ratings

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The Mountain
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by Flucktrot
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Dream Theater once played music kind of like this, so we should all just stop wasting our time and blast Scenes from a Memory one more time, right?

Seriously though, Haken are not "copying" anyone, and it's more than irritating to see repeated accusations of plagiarism. If they're guilty, then we all are!

My experience with Haken was interesting, because I thought they were a new band of young players just getting started in the prog world. Casual listens to their first two albums confirmed this belief in my mind, although the production and effects did seem mature for prog newbies. Fast-forward to recently: after finally doing some actual research, my initial impression was clearly wrong. Haken started off with plenty of playing chops and have put in the songwriting time and effort to improve. Now I see Haken as respected veterans, and The Mountain sounds like it was produced by such.

To the music: What a fun and varied album! They introduce some tantalizing vocal harmonies, creative riffs and counterpoints, and tasteful keys and effects. More importantly, the band has also added by subtraction, by which I mean removing aspects of previous albums that were almost certainly turnoffs for many listeners (i.e., the goofy jazzy bits that don't fit, and the vocal bits that are clearly not part of Jennings' range/ability). Prog is certainly about mixing influences, but transitions and progressions matter, and the strategies chose in The Mountain largely work quite well.

Highlights: Of course, Cockroach King is immediately a form of crack to prog ears, and it's quite an accomplishment, and also has a delightfully oddball and British-y feel. Pareidolia is perhaps the most derivative, but it sets up a killer late section groove that really delivers a therapeutic climax. The best highlights for me, however, are In Memoriam, which, like Gentle Giant, throws in ten minutes worth of ideas and makes it work in five. Falling Back to Earth is also a keeper: even though the metal bits sound a bit generic, that spacey build-up toward the end is simply awesome. That's my favorite kind of metal--not just playing faster and heavier, but instead building up the listen and then delivering pure power crunching at the perfect time.

Lowlights: As Death Embraces is simply wimpy and not the best showpiece for Ross' voice, and the chorus of Somebody is way too generic, repetitive and irritating (which is a shame, because there is a nice vocal round section, and a memorable Hans Zimmer, Inception-era horn-blatting finale).

This album was quite the pleasant surprise, because I did not enjoy previous Haken material as much as prog reviews and ratings might have let me to predict. Here's looking for more innovative material from the group, although this has the feel of an album that might represent a career pinnacle.

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 The Mountain by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.21 | 635 ratings

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The Mountain
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

4 stars I agree that this is a really good album but it just doesn't grab me as a masterpiece. It might just be my taste but the sappy piano ballad parts really make me bark at the moon and remove a star for me. As for the rest of the album there are some really great prog metal twists and turns that are really exciting but some of the influences are just a wee bit too obvious. "Cockroach King" is an good example. It's just a little TOO Gentle Giant. In fact this band relies a lot on borrowing rather than creating. That's all fine and dandy since I like similar bands such as Magic Pie and The Gourishankar who have similar sounds and approaches. HAKEN does up the ante with that formula a bit and really manages to keep it interesting and instead of floating from one genre to the other they do package it well but for all of the reasons i've already sited means this is a very good but not outstanding album for me.

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 The Mountain by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.21 | 635 ratings

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The Mountain
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by FragileKings

5 stars This is one of those albums that so wonderfully fit in to what progressive music is about. It should not be rated out of 5 or 10 but out of 100 because the only places where I feel points could be taken off are in small pedantic considerations of personal preference. It is not that I am head over heels about every song, but even the songs that haven't securely grabbed my attention and secured my listening intensiveness are still masterfully crafted. This is a great achievement in both progressive music in general and progressive metal. Haken mix the light with the heavy, the beautiful with the bombastic, eclecticism with a little eccentricity and create a diversified yet unified album without loosing themselves as a progressive metal band. They had an idea which they built into a concept and developed into a album. Where they needed a clever idea they found one, and where they had an idea they found a place for it. Well played, Haken. Well played indeed.

I am not familiar with Haken's first two releases though I had been listening to samples on Amazon on and off. They were one of those bands I might have wanted to check out later. However, after I read so many rave reviews on PA and MMA I thought this new album might really be worth giving my ears and money. And oh yeah, it sure was.

Stylistically speaking, I find myself often thinking of Gentle Giant meets System of a Down with some Dark Suns added in. But Haken have made use of so many good ideas spread across the history of prog rock and metal including gentle piano and strings, pseudo-Gregorian chant and minor key barbershop quartet, quirky and bizarre musical effects, jazzy sections, and an array of other musical techniques both within and beyond the heavy metal spectrum.

Fans of less heavy progressive rock will find moments of rapture. Fans of metal will find moments for head banging. Fans of both will declare this album a modern triumph of progressive music.

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 The Mountain by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.21 | 635 ratings

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The Mountain
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by richardh
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I felt obliged to get after the shower of 5 star ratings and people saying its one of the best albums ever. I've probably had my fill of heavy prog though. Anathema are a band I love and at times Haken try to imitate that particular band, but without the style , emotion and sheer joy. Of course Anathema have been around for 20 years and been developing their art and that is where this album falls badly short imo. They have no art at such and in a vein that is becomingly depressingly familiar just trudge out a load of cliches wandering between King Crimson and Gentle Giant like a drunken sailor trying to find his ship after a night out on the town. Undoubtedly talented musicians but whatever happened to having original ideas instead of borrowing from others? In truth the albums released this year by Riverside , Spocks Beard and the imperious Steven Wilson knock this into touch because they know where their boundaries are and what they are about.To sum up its well played but souless prog from a band that needs to go back to the drawing board and find their own voice.

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 The Mountain by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.21 | 635 ratings

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The Mountain
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by Mexx

3 stars So here it is, the album of the decade. At least this is what pops up if you go to the "PA Top Albums" section, choose the past ten years (2003-2013) over all genres and press the search button. That happens from time to time, if an album is new and has a few ratings, but this one here already approaches 400. So had to seriously give it a try. After listening to the album for the first time I said to myself, really? And after the second time REALLY???? This is supposed to tower above gems such as De-loused in the comatorium, To shatter all accord, Bantam to Behemoth and The Raven? Albums with so much spirit and originality? And it even ranks higher than ground-breaking classics like Larks Tongues in Aspic, Hot Rats or Relayer and everything Emerson, Lake and Palmer have ever done? Maybe the problem lies with me but, when I listen to The Mountain, it feels kind of used up and uninspired. Like I have heard everything in it already by only listening to a few Dream Theater Albums. I don't say the album is not well produced, it is very solid and the musical skills here are beyond any doubt, but it's like not having a heart, all too mechanical. Like a well made piece of furniture, nice but not so exciting. Like the band member asked, what could we do that is very exciting and the sole intention of doing so takes away from the real excitement because it makes it feel all too forced. I appreciate the effort but in my opinion this is probably the most overrated album of the year. Don't believe me? Listen to it back to back with the above mentioned albums. 3 Solid stars and maybe a quarter, but that's it.

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 The Mountain by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.21 | 635 ratings

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The Mountain
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by marcobrusa

3 stars It's good, but not that good. In terms of experimentation, having in count these are very technical musicians, they deserve a prize. But my ears ask me to press stop after the fifth track. It seems like the prog rock public in general do like this material but I think it's overrated. The music is very mechanical which can be good in this times when there is no much you can innovate, yet it's not that enjoyable for me. My favourite track is Atlas Stone, it's the most balanced one in my opinion. However, if you started listening to prog with Dream Theater for example, you will find this amusing. I personally think music is each time more technical, digital, mechanical. I see that as a problem. The standards of technicity that bands like Dream Theatre had settled in the prog scenario are affecting the "heart" of music. It seems now you either have to be super technical and complex or dance around semi-naked to "entertain" the listener (excuse me for including pop music in my point), or make songs that will remind you of the 70's but "sound modern". Seriously, 4.5 stars for this album? For my it is a 3.5 star album, the first 2 of the band being obviously better. 3 stars to level down the rating!

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 Aquarius by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.07 | 734 ratings

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Aquarius
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by sukmytoe

5 stars There are a few things in the recipe that, for me, put a band at the top of the heap. The music must be interesting, it must be dramatic incorporating strong mood flows. The musicians must be masters of their instruments and they must not be afraid to show it. The music must be able to transport me out of my head into the world of the band or the album while I listen to it - it must be a musical adventure. If those ingredients are in place then the band or album concerned usually goes onto the top of my listening heap and stays there.

I dislike growling vocals intensely and there are a few examples of that here however where growls are used to impart a mood for dramatic purposes in music then I can appreciate it. I cannot handle music where growling is part of the norm for the music. Haken, thankfully don't use the growling vocal thing other than for ambiance where it is called for. Ross Jennings has a good voice and it enhances the music.

The individual musicians here know their stuff. Musically this album consists of ideas that are all over the place - in a good way. The band put a new, shuffled, deck of cards on the table with this offering incorporating prog metal, neo prog drama, death metal in parts, heavy jazzy prog and the kitchen sink.

The giant of the album is the last track "Celestial Elixir" which is also the longest track clocking in at close on 17 minutes. It opens sounding like Dream Theater in grandiose mood (and that is not a bad thing by any means) but it quickly forms its own Haken identity (which is also not a bad thing). The track is a carousel of musical ideas that whirls with intensity and change throughout. Listening to Haken is a roller-coaster ride on a long route that you don't know - one that's constantly changing taking one through different scenery and thrills all the time along the way.

For daring to be different yet still retaining some similarity to one of my very favourite top of the heap bands (Dream Theater) I cannot but award this album the full five stars. This is what Dream Theater could have sounded like if they decided to experiment and be more adventurous with their sound.

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