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  • Εικόνα συγγραφέαStelios Basbayiannis

HAKEN- "Fauna"

British progressive metal is not famous for its exports. There are bands like ARENA, GALAHAD, MARILLION, TWELVE NIGHT, PALAS in the past, we have PORCUPINE TREE, in no way a metal band, and there are the more down to earth , prog metalers THRESHOLD, but the real metal edges of the progressive scene were blud from the time and the lack of sheer metallic power. To be more accurate, i dont count the various metal core , djent etc bands in the progressive bandwagon, causetheironly progressive element, is that they play in times different than 3/4. Progressive music has its own terminology and scope and cannot be mounted on the music magazines ,especially the tasteless British ones, trends.. HAKEN were well known but didn't have the chance to really break big till now. Ross Jenings their singer released an excellent album last year as did their guitar player- an even more attractive and challenging one, musically and thematically. Now with "Fauna" they release an album on the frontline of modern progressive metal. In my humble opinion songs like "Nightingale" and "Lovebite" are the perfect examples on how they have matured, embraced their times and infiltrated them to produce their own unique musical suggestion. At the aforementioned "Nightingale' we have influence from STYX (yes the pomp progressive US rockers), DREAM THEATER, and the metal side of the 00s, all together never letting you think of imitation but only pure influence. Progressive with jazz overtones, metalic fusion bridges and heavy riffing the song shows a band that knows where to aim and how to deliver it. The metal element is present but is not dominating or limiting their musical approach that incorporates various elements , using even the backing vocals and Jenning s vocals as different instruments."The alphabet of me" is a bit more straightforward, more simple in its approach , heavier with distinguished taste for melody.It is a more modern song that the vocals and the chorus, flirts with the more modern -core influenced scene and bands like TESSARACT, ARCHITECTS, etc adding some electronica tomake the result more spacey and when you think you've heard it all, some horns change the landscape and bring the be bop jazz feeling that elevates the song to the next level.

"Fauna" presents 9 tracks in which each has a ‘spirit animal’. The unifying theme of animals in their songs and artwork created by Dan Goldsworthy (Charlie Griffiths’ "Tiktaalika") keeps everything together perfectly But this is not a concept album, in the classical meaning of the term."Sempiternal beings" is what we might expect from a progressive metal band of today, a contemporary, a little over 8 min song where technical accomplishment, meets sensitivity , a one of a kind vocal delivery and the heavy approach captivating the background with the machine gun riffing and the simple but not simplistic drum pattern that elevates as the song progresses. .Listening to "Fauna" wont make you believe you listen to the seventh album from a band that is more that ten years old. ."Beneath the white rainbow" is a mesmerizing exercise in sheer metallic power, mixing complexity, heaviness and the great senses of melody,HAKEN have.. "Island in the clouds" have a claustrophobic sense ,an introspective musical execrcise in dark, ambient melodies, before the storm breaks in the form of a spacy, jazzy, riff oriented solo.A stripped down metal outbreak without betraying its progressive origins "Lovebite" is for me the highlight of the album, with its frenzy opener that gives its turn to a break down vocal delivery with some funky guitar riffing at the background, a song that could be easily played at the mainstream radio as the more progressive metal stations, combing the best of both worlds ,with some 80s pop references that makes you smile . A masterpiece in conception and execution."Elephants never forget" is another highlight where GENESIS meets KING CRIMSON with a nod to QUEEN to cover Devin Townsend, or is it just HAKEN foolin around their progressive roots, incorporating fusion and funk, elements just because they can and they know how to do it, without being tedious or phony."Eyes of ebony" is another mid tempo , progressive modern metal song with hints from the modern era, starting slowly,mesmerizing before it bursts in an outstanding progressive metal crescento, with an addictive guitar riff penetrating your mind, like the telegraph messaging sound, subconsciously and addictively.

The productive juice are everywhere infusing the veins of a modern melodic progressive metal album, that sets one foot firmly on the heavy metal side (METALLICA) especially in the guitar riffing that is solid and aggressive and the modern scene with its pop sensibilities (LEPROUS, SOEN,) etc, making HAKEN one of the best representatives of the genre.


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Kris Barras-"Halo effect"


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