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FAUNA

Haken

Heavy Prog


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Haken Fauna album cover
3.83 | 195 ratings | 11 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2023

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Taurus (4:49)
2. Nightingale (7:24)
3. The Alphabet of Me (5:33)
4. Sempiternal Beings (8:23)
5. Beneath the White Rainbow (6:45)
6. Island in the Clouds (5:45)
7. Lovebite (3:49)
8. Elephants Never Forget (11:07)
9. Eyes of Ebony (8:32)

Total Time 62:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Charlie Griffiths / guitars
- Ray Hearne / drums
- Richard Henshall / guitars, keyboards
- Ross Jennings / vocals
- Peter Jones / keyboards
- Conner Green / bass

Releases information

Label: InsideOut
Format: Vinyl, CD, Digital
March 3, 2023

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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HAKEN Fauna ratings distribution


3.83
(195 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
26%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
42%
Good, but non-essential (23%)
23%
Collectors/fans only (7%)
7%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

HAKEN Fauna reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Prototypical 2020's Prog Metal Trying to do Too Much

Haken's FAUNA typifies all the sounds of modern prog metal - complex rhythms, computer perfect precision, and rapid changes in directions multiple times within the same song. Thankfully it breaks from the main by having all clean vocals. Djent-y guitars are the primary sonic element underlying Russ Jennings' emotive voice. The production is thick and compressed but the individual instrument sounds are pristine. Keys and intermittent harmony vocals add flavor along with technical guitar solos and occasional squeals and noises. There is nothing sonically surprising to any regular prog metal listener.

I saw Haken open for Symphony X last year and was probably as excited to see them as the headliner. However, I was somewhat disappointed in spite of spending a lot of time listening to the setlist ahead of time. All the usual prog metal elements were there and well executed, but everything seemed to blend together as many of the songs didn't have enough of their own identity. The band had a stock repertoire of sections - riffy opener, big drop to an intimate verse, high energy chorus, trippy bridge, breakdowns, all in very odd time. The cut and paste feel included "Nightingale" from this album which was already on the setlist by that time. The exception was long time favorite "Cockroach King" from what I consider the band's high water mark, THE MOUNTAIN. My initial listen to FAUNA was similar disappointment. Too much kitchen sink on every song, not enough melodic hooks or themes that anchored an individual track.

The good news is that on multiple listens, FAUNA has gotten much better for me. Some of the songs definitely have their own identities ? the poppy synths of "Alphabet of Me" ? the heavy pop prog of "Lovebite," being times where I thought the band was trying to forge their own identity. But we have to talk about "Elephants Never Forget." This song typifies where Haken tries too hard, does too much in one song, gets lost in their own attempt to outprog them all. The band clearly has an affinity for Gentle Giant, but during "Elephants" the first verse is almost a direct quote. It is almost exactly like "Cogs in Cogs" or "Knots." I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say it is an homage. Fine. But in the same song Russ Jennings seem to impersonate Korn's Johnathan Davis, and there are instrumental sections where my ear immediately said "There's Devin Townsend, there's Dream Theater." I went back to the lyrics to see if perhaps the theme of the song was remembering the ones that led you to where you are now, which would be an interesting musical idea. Perhaps that was part of their intent but apparently it's about "Leviathan of Doggerland." To their credit, the "I Remember" refrain is the most memorable melodic element in the whole album, and it does bind the piece together.

Now, after quite a few spins, I actually like FAUNA quite a bit. There are some really great parts and some great ideas. The performances are at a very high level. But it also seems quite flawed, not knowing exactly what it wants to be. I actually went back to THE MOUNTAIN and listened again to make sure I wasn't misremembering. Indeed, the songwriting was better, the album more coherent, I didn't forget. They have it in them. So how to rate? Trying to bind all that together, I'm landing on 3/5.

Review by MikeEnRegalia
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars

Haken have managed to evolve significantly.

They were great from the start, but they have managed to keep marching forward on their musical journey. On this album in particular they are branching out into Jazz-Fusion and various realms of the progressive landscape they previously did not touch so much. At the same time, it all sounds fresh and modern, and most importantly: inspired. Great humour as well. Looking forward to seeing them live soon, if time allows.

Regarding the first single they published, The Alphabet of Me: Love how this track channels really modern sounds (e.g. the drum samples) and innovative vocals. It's very rhythmically sophisticated, reminds me of Polyphia. At the same time, the melody is quite catchy. Awesome!

One standout track for prog afficionados: Elephants Never Forget. How cool is that - Haken goes Gentle Giant! And much more. Possibly the weirdest track on the album, and an instant favorite of mine.

This review was originally published at tagyourmusic.org.

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Haken have rightfully made quite a name for themselves over the years, and what is particularly interesting to me with this one is just how varied it is in its outlook, which is both a blessing and a curse. The line-up has been pretty stable over the years, but here we find the departure of keyboard player Diego Tejeida, who had played on all the albums to date, but he has been replaced by the man he himself replaced, founding keyboard player Peter Jones. There is the impression that the band decided from the off to have no rules, and the result is a wonderfully chaotic release which brings in multiple versions of modern neo prog, and while they do occasionally grab a nod back to Gentle Giant, for the most part their influences are far more recent, encompassing styles such as mathcore, djent and fusion as well as other styles which to my ears do not work quite as well. There are some moments when they stay too long with some modern pop and dance themes, and I personally could have done well without them, but even when they are immersing themselves in genres I don't listen to for pleasure, I could not help but admire the quality of the vocals and musicianship while the production is clean and powerful.

This is very much an album of its time, it feels incredibly polished and practiced within an inch of its life, with perfection strived for in every beat and a restlessness and need to move on which differentiates itself from many. Even progheads often find themselves repeating melodies and even falling into verse/chorus patterns, but Haken are determined to not fit into any stereotypical norms but instead keep pushing what they are doing and hoping the listeners will stay with them for the journey. It is only with repeated plays that one begins to understand the full joy of this release, and there is no doubt that the return of Peter has assisted in shifting them in a different direction. It will be interesting to see where they go from here, as while those looking for 'The Mountain II' will be somewhat disappointed, there is no doubt this is a very interesting release indeed.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Haken return in 2023 with full power with the release of their 'Fauna' album, and not only do they have a new (old) band member, but also present an album that seems to have a little bit of everything that essentially makes them who they are musically. After their experiments with the much popular brand of progressive metal known as djent, characterized by down-tuning and palm-muted strings, as they tried it out on their distortion-loaded 'Vector' and 'Virus' albums, the band seems to have now embraced their more traditional guitar tuning technique as well as their "whimsical" progressive origins, presenting a plethora of phantasmagorical sounds on this colorful and triumphant album.

Original keyboard player Pete Jones rejoins his bandmates after the departure of the very skillful Diego Tejeida, and immediately impacts the band's musical direction, as it seems with this record. On 'Fauna' there are seemingly no rules, everyone is allowed to go further on with the compositions' development, leading to some interesting, experimental and unconventional moments for Haken. For example, opener 'Taurus' is a heavy and excellent reminder of where the band left off their sound previously, while 'Nightingale' is a very intricate mini-opus that sees the band embrace a more minimal, yet rich approach to the song's unraveling. Track three is 'The Alphabet of Me', a great surprise on the album as on this song Haken embrace a very anthemic and almost poppy approach, a very memorable beautiful track. So far it seems like this is in a way a reformed Haken, they certainly remain themselves but the music is exquisitely fresh and inspired, and this feel has penetrated the whole release by all means.

The next two tracks are more in the realm of what for this band could be considered "traditional" progressive metal, with all the playful chops and tempo changes, whereas the excellent vocals of Ross Jennings shine through as usual. Very satisfying, playful and bombastic sound of the album so far, every song seems to be a world of its own, yet there are a few recurring elements like the frequent mention of animals, the wacky keyboard parts, or even the jazzier bits that are played quite tastefully every time they appear. 'Island in the Clouds' continues in the same vein, while 'Lovebite' allows Haken to further try on some "poppier" writing, to average results. The big 11-minute track 'Elephants Never Forget' is a true rollercoaster and exactly what one could expect from the Brits upon seeing the song's playtime - all the madness is there! 'Eyes of Ebony' closes off the album in a more tranquil manner, while it could be argued whether this track is actually necessary, or the previous one could have been a more appropriate album closer, but this doesn't really matter too much, as the entirety of 'Fauna' is excellent, the album sits very well in Haken's catalogue and helps them expand their sound in the most thrilling of ways.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Haken is considered one of the premier Progressive Metal bands of the day. So, first off, I need to state that I really do not care much for Prog Metal, thus, I have not checked out most of Haken's previous albums (but I think The Mountain is wonderful). However, with this new album several reviewer ... (read more)

Report this review (#2902648) | Posted by BBKron | Wednesday, March 29, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Haken is exploring fresh sounds here, and it's their proggiest album in a while. It's intricate, thoughtful and surprisingly soft, considering Haken's typical sound, which develops but remains the same on this record. Henshall and Griffiths do their wonderful guitar interplay, weaving riffs into the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2902100) | Posted by alvanx | Sunday, March 26, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Haken's seventh full-length album, Fauna, is one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year in the progressive rock/metal genre. The British band have been playing together for nearly two decades, and with each album, their popularity has steadily grown. Their most recent LP, Virus, topped ... (read more)

Report this review (#2900598) | Posted by lukretio | Monday, March 20, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Another fantastic album by Haken. Very varied, covering nearly all styles they have developed throughout all these years. You can find melodic breaks and cinematic moments like on Aquarium or the more recent djent sound from their later albums. As always happens with these guys, there is a good ... (read more)

Report this review (#2897065) | Posted by Soul2Create | Monday, March 6, 2023 | Review Permanlink

1 stars The most untalented album I listened to during last 10-12 years. Noisy and empty. Virtuoso musicianship plus interesting lyrics vs complete absence of musical content. All the band members play their instruments fine, but what they play is hooey, not music. Awful. A saturnalia of dullness. Impos ... (read more)

Report this review (#2895921) | Posted by proghaven | Friday, March 3, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Very fun album to listen. For me it's a big step foward compared with Virus (which I didn't enjoy at all) and Vector (good short album, but weaker than my favorite Haken album Affinity). Fauna brings a wide range of different songs to the Haken pallete, some pieces have a heavy jazzier approach ... (read more)

Report this review (#2895907) | Posted by Deadwing | Friday, March 3, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Haken is the mega-group of young pals Richard, Ross and Matt initially, Charlie joins them and they tour for Riverside, which makes me follow them; having released 'Aquarius' cult album their sound is between heavy, avant garde and prog; between Rush, Kansas, The Tangent, Gentle Giant and many c ... (read more)

Report this review (#2895014) | Posted by alainPP | Sunday, February 26, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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