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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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VectorVector
Century Media 2018
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$17.86 (used)
Visions (Re-issue 2017)Visions (Re-issue 2017)
Inside Out Music 2017
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Restoration EpRestoration Ep
Century Media 2015
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AffinityAffinity
Inside Out Music 2016
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The MountainThe Mountain
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L-1VEL-1VE
Century Media 2018
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Aquarius (Re-issue 2017)Aquarius (Re-issue 2017)
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VisionsVisions
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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)

4.06 | 1010 ratings
Aquarius
2010
4.13 | 1032 ratings
Visions
2011
4.17 | 1094 ratings
The Mountain
2013
3.92 | 527 ratings
Affinity
2016
3.80 | 143 ratings
Vector
2018

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

4.54 | 49 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)

4.01 | 99 ratings
Enter The 5th Dimension
2008
4.08 | 207 ratings
Restoration
2014
3.92 | 12 ratings
The Endless Knot
2016
3.91 | 11 ratings
Initiate
2016

HAKEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Vector by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.80 | 143 ratings

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Vector
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars For some reason or another I lost touch with what Haken were doing over recently, and while they are now back with their fifth studio album, the last of theirs I heard was the third, 2013's 'The Mountain'. Now, I gave that top marks and said it was my progressive album of the year, so what would I think some six years down the track? They have always been a heavy act, but this sees them take it into a whole new area, as if Meshuggah have decided to add polish, finesse, and keyboards. It may smooth the edges, but there is no doubt that this is a metallic beast of an album 'We've always had a heavy influence', explains guitarist Charlie Griffiths, 'but it was obvious from the riffs that were naturally coming out of us early in the writing process that this would be a more metal album. These are some of the most riff driven songs we've ever written.'

But, there are times when there is gentle piano, delicate harmony vocals, as if those nasty horrible loud guitars have gone away forever, but it is all just a ploy to get the listener to let down their guard. There again, how many metal bands can be riffing like mad but then have a flugelhorn over the top? Musically the album is a mess, all over the place, and is all the better for it. If that isn't enough, there is also an underlying theme to make it even more prog! 'The scene is set with the track The Good Doctor, which was a really fun song. Musically it feels like a logical step from 'Affinity', but lyrically it's a bit more theatrical and about as 'rock opera' as Haken has ever got', explains Griffiths. It's about a Doctor with an intriguing, perhaps sinister interest in a particular patient. From there the story enters the point-of-view of the patient - who appears to be catatonic, but his mind is sparking with what could be memories, or delusions brought on by the treatment he's receiving - we leave this up to the listeners to decide. Although we don't want to give too much away, listeners who are familiar with our back catalogue will have fun discovering further clues we've planted throughout the album'.

Although this ia an awesome album I would prefer if the guitars had been allowed to keep more of their edge and not be polished away quite so much. I am sure that Haken in a live environment will much more of a bruising experience than it is on record. It is going to be interesting to see where they go next on their musical journey, as while they also add in Linkin Park influences, this British act are determined to go their own way and create something metallic and progressive on their own terms.

 The Mountain by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.17 | 1094 ratings

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The Mountain
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars Considered by many as the pinnacle of Haken's craftmanship, third album continues on the steeping curve of improved performance and composition - and reaching the top of the "mountain".

The first mellow track prepares the listener for more challenging music. Vocal harmonies stand out here. "Atlas stone" unveils the world of Haken in the full parade. You can hear complex vocal jazz-influenced vocals. While there is a great instrumental interplay, vocal performance overshadows them.

If you liked jazzy vocals before, now it is time to change to the "Gentle Giant" complexity and the live favourite - "Cockroach King". Noteworthy is the heavy guitar/drum section in the second half of the track, "In memoriam" is an inspirational track - even though I never listed to the lyrics, I feel it not only provides motivation but also prompts for action. Vocals are in a more traditional Haken way. A-Capella vocals are on display in a laid-back "Because it's there". "Falling back to Earth" is one of the best collective efforts on this album oscillating between very heavy metal sound, progressive rock and soft-rock styles. Mournful "As death embraces" piano and vocal driven short piece brings a wave of melancholy. Oriental influences baked in an attractive manner with chorus vocals are offered in "Pareidolia". The last two songs are reflective again and evolve around the vocal.

While this album is a collaborative effort of all musicians, the compositions and the vocals are the winner over complex instrumental parts. Ross Jennings has risen to be one of the finest young vocalists in contemporary progressive rock. Much recommended.

 Visions by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.13 | 1032 ratings

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Visions
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars I like the second album by Haken even more than the first one, but I like the third one even more than the second one ;-) The lads get more mature, the compositions a tiny bit better.

After a strong debut album, Haken return with no less impressive sophomore effort filled with creativity and chops. Progressive metal with numerous soft and emotional moments attracted has attracted a populous fan base in Europe.

"Premonition" is a nice instrumental pre-digestif marking things to come - a very well crafted 4 minutes progressive metal. "Nocturnal Conspiracy" is a fine suite starting with a reflective melody, Dream-Theater like instrumental middle section and even some fretless bass hidden under surface.

"Insomnia" is quite reminiscent of Dream Theater, beside drums I like the keyboard synths behind.

Another instrumental highlight is delivered to us in "Portals" with a thoughtful and equilibristic quitar leaks and irregular rhythms. "Deathless" is the softest track on the album and yet it brings enough variety to enjoy. "Visions" is a tour-de-force epic suite with numerous shifts in mood, rhythm and styles. The emotional violin that ends the track closes the album on a positive note.

Very much recommended - 4.5 stars!

 Aquarius by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.06 | 1010 ratings

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Aquarius
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars One of the best young progressive bands of the 2010's out there and they strike strongly already with the debut album!

No preparation needed - they start right away with an 11-minute composition. This composition well defines Haken trademark sound for the next three albums - rhythmic changes, prog metal influence by Dream Theater, plenty of 70- 80's British prog-rock thrown in, too. Vocals throughout album are well controlled, more tender than rough and wouldn't be misplaced on a pop or alternative-rock record. Melodies are clear, original, well thought-out. Instrumental soloing is decent but more important is interplay and overall cohesive sound - that is the message from the band that I can hear.

There are absolutely no weak tracks, the lads are immensely gifted. On the other hand, I can't pick the strongest track either - the longest epic piece is more repetitive than some other shorter tracks. Haken are convincing and showing that they want to get the job done right and properly. And they are equally convincing on stage.

 Vector by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.80 | 143 ratings

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Vector
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Haken surprised me here. Thought they would go in more for a post-rock direction. But this is their densest (and that's the ultra-bombastic Haken we're talking about!), djentiest and most electronic album. I realize I'm in the minority, but here's my beef with his record. Whilst not forgetting about melodic hooks, and the challenge of discovering all the details they load every song with, it's not diverse enough for its brevity (just 5 "keepers" taking up 38 minutes). For example, the two epics taking up the bulk of the time are too similar in vibe and structure, where they'll start with riff bombardement followed by an electronic break and then back to the pounding. And I have trouble remembering which riffs go for which song. Compare this to the diversity found on The Mountain and the better melodic clarity on Visions - their best and coincidentially highest-rated works.
 Aquarius by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.06 | 1010 ratings

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Aquarius
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars I have spent a lot of time trying to enjoy this album, as I enjoy all the other albums the band has put out at this point in time, but I truly struggle to see the merit that most people seem to see in this one. To me, this debut album feels like Dream Theater without the technicality to be able to properly go off the rails in terms of instrumental breaks, instead either substituting it with quirky elements such as circus-esque music, or by having the instrumental breaks be extremely dull. Other elements I find to be off about the album includes how clear it is that the band is quite inexperienced at songwriting at this point, as many songs will lose their pace and tone through the extremely long instrumental breaks that are found in every song on the album. This is further made a problem by how formulaic each song is, all of them beginning with a vocal opening that provides a set melody, before devolving into a long jam, before going back to the same theme as the intro. While this is a fine formula, using it for every song but one becomes quite tiresome and really brings down the album even further. I also take issue with the poor death growls that are used in the album, particularly on 'Streams', where I feel like it significantly brings down the song even further that it already was, going from annoyingly saccharine and painfully cheesy, to simply bad and embarrassing. One final problem with this album is that it sounds incredibly derivative of Dream Theater, making this a fairly uninteresting listen in that regard as well.

Despite how much bad stuff I have to say about the album, there are a couple of aspects which I'm definitely completely for. There are 3 songs which I enjoy to some degree on the album. 'Drowning in the Flood', while having a really poor first half in my opinion, due to poor vocals and generally being uninteresting, had an incredible second half that is likely my favourite part of the album. 'Celestial Elixir' is mostly amazing, with the only utilisation of the quirky elements that felt well executed, along with a highly emotional performance and a great recurring riff, even though the song has the issue of having a fairly weak climax after such a long instrumental break. Finally, 'Aquarium' is the only song on the album which I can say I genuinely love, as each part of it fits together really well, with the guitar solos being a lot of fun, and the emotion present in the verses to be highly impactful.

Despite the ambition clearly present here, it's clear to me that Haken still wasn't experienced enough at this point, causing the album to be extremely flawed in many ways, especially in terms of the repetitive songwriting and the lack of interesting instrumental breaks, instead sounding like jamming without the technicality that made Dream Theater doing it somewhat excusable. The album in the end is a bloated mess with few parts which I find enjoyable, which is a shame considering this seems like quite a beloved album to many, maybe I'm just missing something, even if I've listened to this album quite a number of times. It makes me extremely happy that Haken went from this to the great 'Visions' so quickly, as that was the album that I believe propelled them into greatness.

Best Songs: Celestial Elixir, Aquarium

Weakest Songs: Streams, Eternal Rain, Point of No Return

Verdict: I find this album to contain enough good among the poor content for me to justify rating it 2 stars, but the album as a whole is really messy in areas. I don't really recommend this, but think that Celestial Elixir and Aquarium are worth checking out. If you want a Haken album, start off with The Mountain or Visions.

 The Mountain by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.17 | 1094 ratings

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The Mountain
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Haken are one of the most interesting prog bands born in the past decade, along with other acts like Riverside or Leprous!

What they make is a mixture between very heavy passages, some jazz melodies and beautiful vocal melodies in the vein of Gentle Giant. They mix the power of early Opeth, the dramatism of Riverside and the technique of Dream Theater to craft a proper sound, very compelling and catchy.

The album has its flaws and a pair of fillers (In Memorian is clearly under the rest, As Death Embraces is an insipid mid-tempo...) but the quality of the other tracks is so high that I can clearly say that The Mountain is still one of the most inspired heavy-prog releases of this decade.

Nevertheless, I must say that I'm not really convicted about the vocals of Ross Jennings. He sings not bad, but he clearly does not have a beautiful voice. The falsetto is ok, but when he tries to reach higher natural tones, he sounds a bit unpleasant for my ears. And in other tracks like The Path, I think he is not completely toned.

But I can live with that, because his is good enough to no spoil the incredible work of the rest of the members of the band.

Best Tracks: Atlas Stone, Cockroach King, Falling Back to Earth, Pareidolia.

Conclusion: if you like heavy, intense and very powerful prog-rock Haken is just for you! If you can forgive the weak vocals and some tracks that are clearly under the rest, you will find a very well made and catchy album in The Mountain.

I'm eager to hear more records of this band! And I'm sure that seeing them live is also a remarkable experience.

My rating: ****

 Vector by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.80 | 143 ratings

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Vector
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Popular London-based prog-metal act Haken return quite quickly after their stop-gap live disc `L-1VE' a few months back with 2018's `Vector', a work that's likely going to be well-received by their existing fanbase as well as being able to be approached easily by newcomers who don't mind their prog rock on the louder side! A concept album telling the tale of a patient in an asylum being subjected to all kinds of psychological and physical experiments, `Vector' mixes the heavy instrumental show-boating runs with frantic rock and thoughtful ballad passages that the band always deliver, even if they strip back virtually all of the Seventies/Eighties influences from their past few discs this time around, and they throw in a touch of jazz and electronica along with a big variety of rich vocal arrangements.

After instrumental `Clear's scene-setting moody opening dirge of distortion and heavily treated organ, `The Good Doctor' kicks the album off proper, and what a burst of instant momentum and shot in the arm it is! Everything Haken does well is in this one - infectious energy, punchy frantic time changes, Richard Henshall and Charlie Griffiths' heavy twisting guitar runs, Conner Green's pulsing bass, Raymond Hearne's pounding drums and Diego Tejeida's delirious keyboard freak- outs all wrapped in a catchy tune with Ross Jennings' confident lead vocal delivering a memorable melody, and there's a swaggering funkiness rippling throughout the track too - phew! `Puzzle Box' is then full of bludgeoning riffing and shimmering mysterious touches powered by rattling drumming alongside Diego's twitching electronic glitches and eerie ambient interludes.

But it's `Veil' that will have most prog fans salivating like the epic-craving animals they are, even if it does borrow heavily from the tightly technical Dream Theater template, especially the reprising metal guitar riffing, pummelling drum tantrums and heroic synth theme! The thirteen minute piece initially misleads with a swooning group vocal around delicate piano that sounds like the band are about to cover Queen's `Love of my Life', but it's soon crushed by thrashing bombastic bursts of histrionic guitar soloing tantrums, runaway keyboard soloing and some low-key thoughtful breaks in between a range of vocal passages where Ross' voice moves between snarling menace and ethereal drifting mystery, and the fellas together offer sublime harmonies of soothing dreaminess.

Schizophrenic instrumental `Nil By Mouth' attacks at full speed, full of grinding twists 'n turns, heavy stop/start grooves and even a loopy sense of humour, and themes from the whole album are subtly reprised throughout. `Host' is home to dark jazz flavours from flugelhorn wafting through seductive guitar chimes of ringing Post-Rock ambient reaches and a mesmerizingly seductive wrap of dreamy vocals that hold just enough of a reassuring edge. The piece almost takes on the more reflective and melancholic moments of the most recent Opeth albums, and there's just a hint of a gothic moodiness infiltrating the final moments. Besides a short ambient break in the middle, closer `A Cell Divides' reminds of Muse and mostly revolves around a dramatic recurring chorus, but it's perhaps the least interesting track here (certainly the most straightforward) that unfortunately doesn't finish the disc in the big or powerful way that prog concept albums should conclude on.

As strong and mostly consistent as it is, admittedly `Vector' feels a little unfinished, like it needed a bit more to push it to true greatness, and it's perhaps not the bigger step-up in progression from previous albums that all their prior works were, instead sounding quite often like `just another Haken album'. Also, while the fairly short vinyl length of about 45 minutes is appreciated over some bloated jammed-full 80 minute CD behemoth, it doesn't feel long enough to really make the concept a big musical statement here in the manner of all the great prog albums. Still, it's the very definition of a grower of a very fine album from an immensely skilled younger band, full of great playing and terrific singing, and it keeps the great band that is Haken chugging along nicely.

Three and a half stars.

 Vector by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.80 | 143 ratings

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Vector
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by Einwahn

5 stars Be guided by the cover art. You are warned by a red alert. You see a Rorschach image that seems like an inhuman robot. That's the music defined. The robots are on speed and whirring out hyper-dense machine rock.

Let's try and help by defining who won't and who may like this album. If your Haken favourite is the soaring operatics of 'Aquarius', or the human intensity of 'The Mountain', then you are in for disappointment. The band has moved away even from the melody that permeated the less-popular 'Affinity' (my own favourite, so don't trust me). The fan I would alert to this album is maybe a disaffected Opeth fan, who gave 'Blackwater Park' five stars and 'Sorceress' two stars. In 'Vector' you will definitely find the blinding, pounding heaviness you have been missing.

Personally I seem to love everything this band does, they are magnificent IMO.

Verdict: Dalek music.

 Vector by HAKEN album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.80 | 143 ratings

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Vector
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by javajeff

4 stars Vector is another solid release by Haken. While more of the same from this level of talent is not always a bad thing, it maintains the same level of high quality that made them successful. It does follow a formula that is prevalent on other albums, but it still has enough originality to keep it interesting. The musicianship is stellar of course, and there seems to be more of a Djent feel. I can hear some Meshuggah influences, and Vector sounds heavier at times. This may be the best album for Ray, as the drums sound phenomenal. Nil By Mouth is a good instrumental, and the standout tracks are Veil and A Cell Divides for me. However, there are no bad tracks, and Vector continues to grow on me with every listen. It is a good listen for all progressive metal fans, and a must for any Haken fan. There is a lot of good music on Vector, and only time will tell how it stacks up against their amazing catalog. Haken has such a solid collection of albums, that this is always a challenge for them to try to top the previous release.
Thanks to atavachron for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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