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Metal - Released October 26, 2018 | InsideOutMusic

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After four previous studio albums, an EP, and a live set, England's Haken display their irrepressible desire to grow musically combined with sophisticated production aesthetics and a wider sonic palette that knows few boundaries. They established a beachhead with prog fans on 2010's Aquarius and 2011's Visions as they wed Dream Theater-esque riffs to an inventive harmonic prowess that recalled Gentle Giant's. 2013's The Mountain swung toward more accessible -- if no less complex -- arranging and songwriting that combined knotty jazz fusion, operatic vocal dynamics (à la Queen) and passionate metallic and hard rock playing. 2016's Affinity offered a wonderfully perverse take on '80s new wave and fused it to prog metal. Haken's constant sense of reinvention while also retaining their core sound has won them hundreds of thousands of fans. Known for notoriously long albums, the band deliver a full concept set in under 45 minutes on Vector. The story line concerns a catatonic victim of a psychotic doctor who plays nefarious games with his mental state. Musically, this is the heaviest date Haken have issued. After the brief, brooding organ-and-effects intro piece "Clear," the anti-hero is introduced in the flailing, swinging drum-and-keyboard whirl of "The Good Doctor." What anchors the tune are Ross Jennings' melodic, expressive vocals. "Puzzle Box" delivers the first horizon-expanding event on the album as criminally under-celebrated drummer Ray Hearne furiously paces the group through time and key changes amid Diego Tejeida's kaleidoscopic keyboard runs and the bone-crunching guitar riffs of Rich Henshall and Charlie Griffiths, and mathy precision meets balls-out crash and burn. It's at once startlingly familiar and wonderfully disorienting, like a suite inside of eight minutes as Jennings soars above the mix furthering the plot, inserting shapeshifting character traits and describing horrific psychological states. At nearly 13 minutes long, "Veil" is a poster child for anthemic prog metal and the single track on this date where Haken indulge their unabashed worship of Dream Theater. It's a rockist puzzle piece of dazzling variety that furthers the album concept lyrically and Haken's musical viability. The stop-and-start riff-tastic guitar fury on "Nil by Mouth," has thundering, syncopated drums underscored and contrasted with Tejeida's wild, unfettered keyboard sonics. Tejeida also displays the dexterity of a jazz pianist in the closing single "A Cell Divides" -- a labyrinthine prog metal ride through speed and power with an orchestral backing that adds depth to sinister darkness, panic, and confusion in the story. Ultimately, Vector is breathtaking in imagination and execution. Haken's willingness to take chances keeps older fans in the fold because here, they've balanced a far more aggressive direction with more nuanced elements from each phase of their recorded development. Vector is at once a brave new chapter and a logical -- if surprising -- continuation of Haken's always expansive M.O. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Metal - Released September 17, 2013 | InsideOutMusic

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Metal - Released April 29, 2016 | InsideOutMusic

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Metal - Released February 3, 2011 | InsideOutMusic

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Rock - Released July 24, 2020 | InsideOutMusic

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Metal - Released October 26, 2018 | InsideOutMusic

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After four previous studio albums, an EP, and a live set, England's Haken display their irrepressible desire to grow musically combined with sophisticated production aesthetics and a wider sonic palette that knows few boundaries. They established a beachhead with prog fans on 2010's Aquarius and 2011's Visions as they wed Dream Theater-esque riffs to an inventive harmonic prowess that recalled Gentle Giant's. 2013's The Mountain swung toward more accessible -- if no less complex -- arranging and songwriting that combined knotty jazz fusion, operatic vocal dynamics (à la Queen) and passionate metallic and hard rock playing. 2016's Affinity offered a wonderfully perverse take on '80s new wave and fused it to prog metal. Haken's constant sense of reinvention while also retaining their core sound has won them hundreds of thousands of fans. Known for notoriously long albums, the band deliver a full concept set in under 45 minutes on Vector. The story line concerns a catatonic victim of a psychotic doctor who plays nefarious games with his mental state. Musically, this is the heaviest date Haken have issued. After the brief, brooding organ-and-effects intro piece "Clear," the anti-hero is introduced in the flailing, swinging drum-and-keyboard whirl of "The Good Doctor." What anchors the tune are Ross Jennings' melodic, expressive vocals. "Puzzle Box" delivers the first horizon-expanding event on the album as criminally under-celebrated drummer Ray Hearne furiously paces the group through time and key changes amid Diego Tejeida's kaleidoscopic keyboard runs and the bone-crunching guitar riffs of Rich Henshall and Charlie Griffiths, and mathy precision meets balls-out crash and burn. It's at once startlingly familiar and wonderfully disorienting, like a suite inside of eight minutes as Jennings soars above the mix furthering the plot, inserting shapeshifting character traits and describing horrific psychological states. At nearly 13 minutes long, "Veil" is a poster child for anthemic prog metal and the single track on this date where Haken indulge their unabashed worship of Dream Theater. It's a rockist puzzle piece of dazzling variety that furthers the album concept lyrically and Haken's musical viability. The stop-and-start riff-tastic guitar fury on "Nil by Mouth," has thundering, syncopated drums underscored and contrasted with Tejeida's wild, unfettered keyboard sonics. Tejeida also displays the dexterity of a jazz pianist in the closing single "A Cell Divides" -- a labyrinthine prog metal ride through speed and power with an orchestral backing that adds depth to sinister darkness, panic, and confusion in the story. Ultimately, Vector is breathtaking in imagination and execution. Haken's willingness to take chances keeps older fans in the fold because here, they've balanced a far more aggressive direction with more nuanced elements from each phase of their recorded development. Vector is at once a brave new chapter and a logical -- if surprising -- continuation of Haken's always expansive M.O. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Metal - Released June 22, 2018 | InsideOutMusic

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With few notable exceptions, it's rare that a live album would provide suitable enough introductions for new listeners and unsuspecting fans. That said, England's Haken prove the exception to the rule on L1ve. They are all arguably better served by this four-disc audio/video package than by any -- or all -- of their four previous studio albums. This set was captured in the Netherlands in April of 2017 during Haken's X tour celebrating their tenth anniversary. Two audio discs contain the entire gig, while the accompanying DVDs adds four additional performances from the previous year's "Prog Power 16" festival gig. While the massive fold-out package is somewhat unwieldy, the music proves anything but. Haken delivers inspired reads of tunes from 2013's The Mountain and 2015's Affinity with a couple of rather lengthy surprises. Disc one kicks off with the latter's title track in medley with the anthemic "Initiate." The basic formula that follows alternates its tracks with selections from the former, all performed with inspiration and in pristine, detailed, audio clarity. The live audio was mixed by Jerry Guidroz (Winery Dogs, Tiles); it allows listeners to discern the proper place of each instrument. After the rave-up opening jam, Haken ratchet down the intensity (somewhat) with "In Memoriam" from The Mountain. While the relative subtlety is short-lived -- the middle section heats up and explodes -- it too serves as an intro to the massive "1985," whose soaring instruments underscore glorious choral voices in the refrain and bridge. "Red Giant" is delivered with a slower, even sinister tension only hinted at in the studio version. The first disc concludes with the 23-minute "Aquamedley" that seamlessly runs through parts of all seven tracks from 2010's Aquarius. Disc two commences with three cuts from the Mountain. "As Death Embraces" -- a mournful ballad with vocalist Ross Jennings offering his sweetest, most forlorn tenor -- segues into "Atlas Stone" where edgy jazz rock tropes emerge as Jennings' near-scatting engages in interplay with Richard Henshall's guitar and keyboard wizardy. "Cockroach King" weds King Crimson-esque prog rock and dissonance to Opethian metal and angular, modal, hard rock. "The Architect" is even longer than its studio version and, with its labyrinth of instrumental twists and turns, delivers a larger reward. It's doubly paranoid and imposing, with cacophonous instrumentation giving way to cinematic drama via crunchy metal. Here too, Haken surprise their audience with a soaring, climactic 23-minute reading of Visions' title track. As for the video element, it sounds great and looks that way for the most part. That said, it could have used more intimate camera work -- some of the footage was shot too far away to be fully appreciated. Given its four startling bonus tracks, however, this is a minor complaint. L1ve serves not only as a killer intro to Haken, but also as the definitive live album for legacy fans. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Metal - Released July 24, 2020 | InsideOutMusic

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Metal - Released February 3, 2009 | InsideOutMusic

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Metal - Released April 29, 2016 | InsideOutMusic

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Metal - Released December 7, 2018 | InsideOutMusic

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Metal - Released May 1, 2020 | InsideOutMusic

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Metal - Released April 3, 2020 | InsideOutMusic

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Metal - Released May 22, 2020 | InsideOutMusic

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Metal - Released April 15, 2016 | InsideOutMusic

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Metal - Released March 18, 2016 | InsideOutMusic