In the ever-evolving realm of progressive metal, Haken has established itself as a formidable force, pushing boundaries and defying expectations. Their seventh studio album, “Fauna,” released in 2023, is a testament to their sonic prowess and unwavering commitment to musical innovation. With a tracklist that unfolds like a carefully crafted narrative, Haken delivers a rich and immersive listening experience that captivates from the first note to the last.
The album commences with “Taurus,” a brief but impactful overture that sets the stage for the sonic journey ahead. The delicate interplay between guitars, keys, and drums serves as an appetizer, leaving the listener eager for what lies beyond. As “Nightingale” takes the reins, the full spectrum of Haken’s musical palette unfurls. Ross Jennings‘s vocals soar effortlessly, navigating the intricate instrumental landscape with grace and precision. The rhythm section, anchored by Conner Green‘s pulsating bass and Raymond Hearne‘s dynamic drumming, propels the song forward with unwavering momentum.
“The Alphabet of Me” introduces a more introspective tone, showcasing the band’s ability to seamlessly transition between complex arrangements and melodic introspection. Peter Jones‘s (who replaced Diego Tejeida in 2022) keyboards add layers of texture, creating an atmospheric backdrop that complements the lyrical exploration. Each member of the band plays a crucial role in the tapestry of sound, with Richard Henshall and Charlie Griffiths‘s guitars weaving intricate patterns that dance alongside Miguel Gorodi’s trumpet embellishments.
“Sempiternal Beings” emerges as a magnum opus within the album, with its expansive duration allowing Haken to delve deep into progressive landscapes. The composition is a dynamic rollercoaster, shifting effortlessly between moments of ethereal beauty and thunderous intensity. Jennings’s vocal range is on full display, from haunting whispers to soaring crescendos. The synergy between the band members is palpable, creating a sonic journey that transcends traditional song structures.
“Beneath the White Rainbow” introduces a more contemplative mood, with a hypnotic guitar motif leading the way. The ebb and flow of tension and release keep the listener engaged, and the subtle nuances in the instrumentation reveal themselves with each subsequent listen. “Island in the Clouds” follows suit, showcasing Haken’s ability to craft compositions that are both intellectually stimulating and emotionally resonant. The melodic interplay between guitars and keyboards creates a dreamscape that invites the listener to lose themselves in the music.
“Lovebite” serves as a brief interlude, a sonic palate cleanser before the sprawling epic “Elephants Never Forget.” Clocking in at over eleven minutes, this track is a masterclass in progressive metal storytelling. The band explores diverse musical motifs, from jazz-inspired passages to heavy, chugging riffs, all seamlessly integrated into a cohesive whole. Jennings’s vocals convey a spectrum of emotions, mirroring the multifaceted nature of the composition.
The album reaches its zenith with “Eyes of Ebony,” a tour de force that encapsulates the essence of Haken’s progressive prowess. The intricate instrumental sections are complemented by Jones’s keyboard wizardry, and the dynamic interplay between all elements of the band creates a sonic landscape that is both grandiose and intimate. As the final notes fade away, a sense of musical fulfillment washes over the listener, leaving them in awe of the sonic tapestry Haken has woven.
Haken’s “Fauna” is a testament to the band’s maturity and mastery of their craft. The musicianship displayed throughout the album is nothing short of exceptional, with each member contributing their unique talents to create a cohesive and immersive listening experience. The album’s production is pristine, allowing every nuance and subtlety to shine through. “Fauna” stands as a shining example of progressive metal at its finest, and Haken reaffirms their position as leaders in the genre. As the final echoes of “Eyes of Ebony” linger, it’s evident that “Fauna” is not just an album; it’s a musical odyssey that demands to be revisited, each time revealing new layers and intricacies that solidify Haken’s place in the pantheon of progressive metal greatness.
Haken's "Fauna": A Lush Symphony of Progressive Metal Mastery
Haken's "Fauna" is a testament to the band's maturity and mastery of their craft. The musicianship displayed throughout the album is nothing short of exceptional, with each member contributing their unique talents to create a cohesive and immersive listening experience.