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Haken - Visions CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.13 | 1109 ratings

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4 stars Okay. It's time. The album has been around for eight weeks, I've given its due time to percolate, sink in, resonate (or not). Sleek, polished, more refined and, IMO, less urgent to impress, than Aquarius, I find it fresh . . . and yet familiar. Full of melodies and hooks, interesting shifts and changes, and enough sophistication and subtlety to offset the forays into Devin Townsend/Porcupine Tree-like heavy/metal sound-walling. As a matter of fact, Haken sound as if they were a group of four or five Steve Wilson-Devin Townsend types who collaboratively come up with more fully developed ideas than the singular man ever could. Love the Latin rhythms in "Insomnia" (9/10)--though not quite sure of their relevance (nor of "history"'s) to one another. "The Mind's Eye" (8/10) is a bit too familiar and simple--kind of like a STYX song from Crystal Ball era. "Deathless" (8/10) is quite pretty, with a very patient, mature-sounding serenity in it. "Premonition" (6/10) and "Portals" (7/10)--though both full of interesting technical and very creative intricacies--are just too heavy to keep me listening. "Shapeshifter" (7/10) is all-too-familiar from so many Porcupine Tree albums. The two epics, "Nocturnal Conspiracy" (8/10) and "Visions" (8/10) are quite listenable, polished pieces that both pack a punch while never growing stale or boring. Ross Jennings' singing has definitely gotten stronger and more confident--as has the ensemble's collaborative compositional work. This is a very fine piece of artistry--very hard to find fault with, and masterful in many ways, yet, somehow, like Aquarius (and much of PT and DT) this just doesn't hit it for me--I have had to force myself back to VIsions (as I did for Aquarius) time and again--not with enthusiasm or magnetism, but with duty and obligation: "Everybody else is saying this is a masterpiece, so I've got to give it a chance." And I have. Here is my review. Here is my rating. Like with Aquarius, it is doubtful I will ever be listening to this album again.
BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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