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Haken

Haken are a London-based progressive rock band. Their offered solid prog metal on 2010's Aquarius and 2011's Visions and delivered a kaleidoscopic meld of prog metal, jazz fusion, electronic pop, and anthemic rock on 2013's The Mountain. Haken deliberately wove new wave elements into 2016's Affinity, their international breakout album, thanks in no small part to first single "Initiate." 2018's Vector was a 45-minute concept album about the catatonic victim of a psychotic doctor. Two years later, Virus directly extended the narrative as COVID-19 affected the world. Haken returned with the musically diverse Fauna in 2023. Formed in 2007 by To-Mera guitarist and keyboardist Richard Henshall, Haken initially underwent a few lineup shuffles; the group's personnel settled with singer Ross Jennings, guitarist Charlie Griffiths (of Linear Sphere), keyboardist Diego Tejeida, bassist Thomas MacLean (also of To-Mera), and drummer Ray Hearne. On the strength of their first demo in 2008 -- aided by extensive touring -- they signed with Sensory Records in 2010 to release Aquarius. Blending prog metal with influences from '70s art rock giants (Genesis, Kansas, etc.) and more contemporary ones (Porcupine Tree, Opeth), they quickly followed up with Visions in October 2011. Haken's third album, the influential The Mountain, arrived in 2013 via Inside Out Music. It brought elements of Queen and Led Zeppelin into their mix of sounds. It would be the last to feature bassist Thomas MacLean. His replacement, American bassist Conner Green, came on board in time to record 2014's Restoration EP, which contained several reworked versions of songs from their 2008 demo. Meanwhile, writing had already begun for their fourth full-length, produced by longtime collaborator Jens Bogren. Inside Out issued the pre-release single "Initiate" in March 2016, followed by a second, "The Endless Knot," in early April. The completed album, Affinity, was released at month's end during the band's European tour. The two years of touring that followed resulted in more favorable press and a greater recognition among listeners not only for Affinity but also the concert offering L1ve in mid-2018, which was recorded at a gig in the Netherlands on the occasion of the band's tenth anniversary. It was released as a four-disc set combining audio and video of the performance that included tracks from their entire catalog. Near the end of the year, Haken issued its fifth studio album, Vector. In sharp contrast to Affinity, they discovered early in the writing stage that they were all thinking "heavier" and therefore explored a more metal direction. To that end, Haken enlisted recording and mixing engineer Adam "Nolly" Getgood (well known for his work with Sikth, Devin Townsend Project, and Periphery) and once more produced the set themselves. First single and video "The Good Doctor" ramped up interest from the rock and prog press. The album was issued on October 26, four days before the band embarked on a North American tour. In addition to their own shows, Haken also opened for Townsend on sold-out tours of Europe and the States. Upon return, they went straight back into the studio to begin writing. After releasing The Mountain in 2013, fans continually asked the band about the identity of "the Cockroach King" from the song of the same name (its video included appearances by the Muppets). The band grew deeply interested in exploring it as a musical question, elaborating and expanding on the intervallic, harmonic, rhythmic, and lyrical themes of the song. The result proved an arc that carried through 2018's conceptual Vector, which offered a narrative about the catatonic victim of a psychotic doctor, and 2020's Virus, a direct lyrical sequel to its predecessor. The latter was issued in early June at the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas the former recording provided the character's origin story, the seven songs on Virus portrayed its spread, resulting in tyranny and society's ultimate endgame for dealing with it. Virus was produced by Haken and mixed by Adam "Nolly" Getgood. Haken re-entered the studio in late 2021. Given the ever-changing particulars of the pandemic, they re-enlisted original keyboardist Peter Jones and took their time writing and recording with him in a primary role. The original m.o. was to have each song correspond to an animal, but the writing process expanded to intersect it with humanity. First single "Nightingale" appeared in April 2022 and was followed by "The Alphabet of Me" in December. January 2023 saw the release of "Taurus," and February, fourth single "Lovebite." Titled Fauna, the band's seventh album was mixed by Jens Bogren and released in March.
© Timothy Monger & Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Discography

19 album(s) • Sorted by Bestseller

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