Haken – Restoration

Haken - Restoration EP

The new generation of progressive rock bands seems to be stranded in an avalanche of over-produced technicality and that g-g genre known as djent. London based proggers Haken, are a band that most fans and media consider one of the leading bands in contemporary prog.

Haken has come a long way from their beginnings with Enter the 5th Dimension (demo release, 2008), Aquarius (2010) and Visions (2011). During the period of two years, between 2011 and 2013, the band kept climbing until they released one of the genre’s most critically acclaimed albums in recent years – The Mountain. The album was chosen as the best release of 2013 by Prog Sphere, and the song Falling Back to Earth was voted as the best progressive rock epic of the year by Prog Sphere readership.

Shortly after the release of The Mountain, bassist Tom MacLean left, and the band went on auditioning. His replacement was chosen, and earlier this year it was announced that the new bassist is Conner Green. Later it was announced that the band will release an EP entitled Restoration which includes reworked material taken from their 2007-2008 demo recordings.

Restoration is comprised of three tracks clocking at 33 minutes. Darkest Light kicks off the EP with plenty of rhythm changes, with Green’s bass taking elements from Meshuggah, Pain of Salvation and Dream Theater. Ross Jennings’ vocals connects all the dots of the song’s rhythmic variety, making it feels consistent during its almost 7 minutes.

The following, Earthlings is a more down to earth piece which is focused on building an atmospheric vibe rather than the sort of intricate details present on Darkest Light.

The closing piece, Crystallised, is a 19-minute monster, a song that easily threatens to become one of the finest prog epics of the new millennium and is up there, shoulder-to-shoulder with the genre’s top representatives. The song, which features legendary drummer Mike Portnoy and guitarist Pete Rinaldi (Headspace), sums up in the best possible way what the band had been up to this recently, and hints that their and the future of the genre is in good hands. Considering that the band used already known song structures and built over it is a significant indicator of how diverse Haken’s music is.

Haken has once again shown that they know how to combine elements taken from the different eras of the progressive rock genre; the influences of Gentle Giant, Yes and Dream Theater occur in their work, but the guys distance themselves from anything that could be marked as generic, repetitive or imitative. The most recent news is that they already started working on a new studio album, and it is going to be quite a challenging effort to try to, once again, overcome themselves.

Tracklist:

01. Darkest Light
02. Earthlings
03. Crystallised

Line-up:

* Charlie Griffiths – guitars
* Ray Hearne – drums
* Richard Henshall – guitars & keys
* Ross Jennings – vocals
* Diego Tejeida – keys
* Conner Green – bass

Links:

http://hakenmusic.com

https://www.facebook.com/HakenOfficial

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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