One of my latest discoveries in the progressive metal scene is a band called Haken. They are from the UK and according to their MySpace they are one of the most exciting new bands around. That is quite a bold statement to make. Let’s see whether they are able to back up their claim with their latest offering, entitled Aquarius.
The Haken lads certainly have a knack for epic scale in the best Opeth and Dream Theater tradition. The first three songs on Aquarius are at least ten minutes and longer. Although being ambitious in scope they manage to keep things flowing up to very last minute, without relying too much on prolonged keyboard and guitar duels like Dream Theater tend to do. The focus is on tight musicianship and memorable songwriting. That is exactly what I like about this record.
The band certainly know their King Crimson, Jethro Tull and Yes classics, however they combine it with more modern prog elements in the vein of Opeth and to a lesser extent Porcupine Tree. Most important of all they have an original sound, which is quite a rarity nowadays. Sound wise I have nothing to complain about. My choice cuts: The Point Of No Return, Streams, Eternal Rain and Celestial Elixir.
If you like your prog metal epic, memorable, original and with a historical nod or two, then Aquarius by Haken is just the right album for you. Great stuff!
written by Raymond Westland