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Haken Restoration album cover
4.05 | 284 ratings | 7 reviews | 40% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Darkest Light (6:44)
2. Earthlings (7:52)
3. Crystallised (19:23)

Total Time 33:59

Line-up / Musicians

- Ross Jennings / lead vocals
- Charles Griffiths / guitars
- Diego Tejeida / keyboards, sound design
- Richard Henshall / keyboards, guitar
- Conner Green / bass
- Raymond Hearne / drums, backing vocals

- Pete Rinaldi / acoustic guitar (3)
- Mike Portnoy / gong (3)

Releases information

Three reworked and updated songs which originally appeared on their 2008 self-produced demo "Enter the 5th Dimension" (though with different titles).

ArtWork: Blacklake

12"-EP Inside Out Music‎ - CMD0506941(2014 Germany)

CD-EP Inside Out Music ‎- 0506942 (2015, Germany)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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HAKEN Restoration ratings distribution

(284 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (13%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

HAKEN Restoration reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Second Life Syndrome
3 stars I've been accused of being a Haken fanboy. In fact, I have to admit that I have been at times. For a band this young, they have remarkably little in the way of missteps or duds, and I'm proud to be a fan of their quirky, groovy heavy prog that will be remembered for decades. However (and this is a big however), I feel nothing but disappointment over their new EP called "Restoration". You see, back in 2008 or so, Haken was shopping their original demo around, and it was really amazing stuff. The production values, however, were pretty bad. For years, then, fans have been clamoring for a remaster of this original demo. Problem: the masters for this demo no longer exist. So, instead of rerecording the tracks, Haken decided to take three of them to modify significantly. These three tracks---"Darkest Light" (originally "Blind"), "Earthling" ("Black Seed"), and "Crystallised" ("Snow")---make up this new EP.

I feel very strongly, though, that Haken has made their first misstep. This EP will sell very well and many fans that never heard the originals will love it, but I find all three of these remakes to be far inferior to the original recordings, even with the production problems in the old demo. There are two main reasons for this opinion. First, I feel that Haken added a ton of "wankery" for no purpose. Their original demo had none of this technical poppycock, and so it feels forced, out of place, and almost lazy, as funny as that sounds. Second, the personality has been sucked out of these songs. While they are still recognizable, many of the melodies have been altered, structures changed, and the highs and lows have been nerfed, so to speak. This is a very sleek EP, but it has lost the character that made me fall in love with the band.

Since this is such a short EP, I will simply go over the three tracks in order to explain. First, "Darkest Light" is relatively similar to the original. Though this is true, I feel that some additions are simply not composed well, and I dislike the changes to the stuttering riffs, especially the omission of layers. As with all these tracks, too, I feel that new bassist Conner Green has either been silenced in the mix or simply isn't that interesting when compared to former bassist Thomas MacLean. It's very guitar-heavy and has little in the way of groove.

Next, we have "Earthlings". This is my favorite of the three because I do feel that the new structure of the song is rather nice. The last few minutes are pretty close to the original, and so I liked that. The first half, however, just feels weak and like it's missing something, especially in the vocal portions.

Finally, we have the abomination: "Crystallised". Yes, you read that word correctly. "Snow" is one of my top three favorites from Haken, but they have taken it, elongated it to pretentiousness, added meaningless wankery, and composed new parts that seem totally out of place. "Snow" was a masterpiece of stark, black and white folk music, full of Gentle Giant influence and organic emotion and melody. All this has been sapped out, and a nominal orchestration has been added that destroys everything the original was. In addition, the technicality takes away from the masterful lyrics, and my very favorite parts have all been either erased or neutralized. Even the vocal rounds in the middle are incredibly dull, as they completely miss both the high and low notes of the original. Haken has destroyed one of their best compositions. With Mike "Bluebeard" Portnoy's involvement on this track, I guess I should have expected this.

"Restoration", then, is nothing of the sort. It comes across as being created under compulsion by InsideOut, and the performances are by the book, emotionless, and simply "blah". I'm not sure if I can bring myself to hear this EP anymore, as I cringe every time I hear the mediocrity. Haken, I beg you, please do not let this be representative of your next album. For the love of all that is holy, don't lose yourselves in your success.

Review by Flucktrot
5 stars I'm going both go against the grain (given some folks' criticism of this album) and set a new personal first (never given 5 stars to an EP) and call this album a masterpiece of progressive rock.

I'm late to the game in truly appreciating Haken, although I have been monitoring their buzz and attention on ProgArchives and at festivals and live events. There were a number of aspects to their previous works (a bit derivative, playful bits that were perhaps a bit more childish than interesting, etc.) that just kept me from really coming back (although I have to admit that I have overcome some of these reservations in more recent times).

I can find none of these nitpicks on this album. There are no extraneous or repetitive parts. There are no playful bits that make me cringe the first time I hear them. There is no pushing of vocals beyond what I would consider to be tasteful or out of range. Instead, this is the work of a band that appear to be songwriting and recording pros. Of course, given that this album consists of reimagining prerecorded material (which I admit to not having heard), there is perhaps a bit of irony to my initial stance. On the other hand, it could instead be the case that Haken are more able to cut the fat and get down to business in a way that they were not able to when first starting out. I'm going to go with the second option. I love every second of this album, and there are very, very few albums about which I can say this.

Darkest Light is the rifferific opener, and it is great throughout, and just bursting with creativity and variety. Sometimes with the syncopated bits and thundering bass lines, I hear the brutality of some of my favorite Leprous material, only to be pushed out of my short term memory by a crunching riff that worms into my brain. I wouldn't want a whole album of this, but it's an excellent slice of prog metal in my book.

Earthlings is the haunting comedown from the opener, and it is captivating to my ears throughout. Relying much more on traditional song structure, this song really works due to the musicality (note: not technicality) involved, from each slight guitar vibrato to subtle bass crescendo. And just when the traditional song structure might begin to tire, a powerful and understated outtro takes us home. Great atmosphere and restraint throughout.

Crystallised represents the band's finest epic in opinion. Although earlier extended songs contained undeniable high quality material, there were either moments of extending too far (Visions) or not quite nailing the change-of-pace sections (Celestial Elixir), with this song I hear a procession of creative and well-executed ideas, strung together in a way that flows quite nicely, and transitioned expertly. This song has just about anything I could want from Haken, from a killer guitar solo to open the middle section to inspired and energetic vocal harmonies to the grandiose conclusion.

There you go: a great album throughout, without a second that I wouldn't qualify as excellent. So what if it's under 35 minutes??? If I don't hold it against Rush, than I'm not going to hold it against Haken either. I'm certainly looking forward to what Haken might come up with next!

Latest members reviews

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#2536876) | Posted by Isaac Peretz | Tuesday, April 20, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This was my second album that I listened to from Haken, well this is an EP not an full album but you know. This is very much like a short successor to The Mountain, the mix and mood of both albums are very similar, the songs are very similar in terms of a writing perspective and the instrume ... (read more)

Report this review (#2379516) | Posted by Zoltanxvamos | Monday, May 11, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Have to say that Haken turns into one of my fav bands during this last years. The mixture of hard prog metal sections and pure symphonic movements is very intense and totally captivating. Perhaps the three songs of this EP are not totally original but renewed versions of old tracks, I really ap ... (read more)

Report this review (#1358580) | Posted by progadicto | Saturday, January 31, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Haken-Restoration 'Restoration' is Haken's re-recordings of three songs from their 2008 demo 'Enter the Fifth Dimension'. I find this interesting though, this new EP actually shows them heavier and less apt to copy other bands. There is still definitely a Dream Theater influence, but it's not ... (read more)

Report this review (#1300432) | Posted by Fearabsentia | Wednesday, November 5, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars They've taken the bad things from the last 3-4 Dream Theater albums and they've incorporated them into the Haken formula. Hoping this is just for the EP and they come back to creativity for the new album in 2015. I havent listened to the 2008 demo too much, so it hasnt affected my vision of this ... (read more)

Report this review (#1300336) | Posted by escruting | Monday, November 3, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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