(8/10) Actually I have to admit that Haken came pretty late to my attention. It was the third album "The Mountain" that made me curious about the band from the UK and their prog rock. After having heard the album I was regreting not having heard of the band earlier. Anyhow, it's never too late and since that moment in time, Haken became one of the prog bands I'm following.
After such an experience in 2013, I was excited to hear that the band worked on the successor of "The Mountain" and April 29th will be the date when prog fans will get new food for brain, ears and soul. Haken next milestone is on it's way.
Entitled "Affinity", the album comes with nine new songs that can easily keep the high level of the predecessor. Actually I think that Haken made a next step forward by fine-tuning their sound and trademarks.
The new longplayer became an attractive piece of music, that shows a lot of creative ideas in combination with well-done melodies, something that makes Haken songs also appealing for fans that are not only interested in technical gimmickry.
Haken achieves the higher aim of using technical abilities for composing songs that are still songs.
Something that I think is also remarkable is the fact that the UK-based prog outfit streches the limits. The guys aren't afarid of seeing beyond their own nose. The masterpiece called "The Archict", which is one of the best tracks of "Affinity", includes even deep growls, something I haven't heard from Haken for quite some years. And although these growls are at the end of the song as a rather short section, it still adds something to the entire album. I almost had the idea of listening to Opeth.
Next to these more heavy pounders there are also the more moderate prog rockers. "1985" is one of these songs where the title says it all. The tune feels like an acosutic journey back in time, with keyboard sections that remind me to Yes in the second half of the eighties.
Not all songs on "Affinity" are long and epic. The band can also does a few shorter ones that still have the same intesity, maybe even more since they are kept more compact. "Earthrise" is such a number that is a swinging four minutes long tune - being complex and with an ease, all in one.
"Affinity" is the most mature Haken longplayer up till now. The band did a great job and also the sound of the album is crystal clear by still organic and warm. Good music for brain and soul.
- The Architct
- Red Giant
- The Endless Knot
- Bound by Gravity
Genre: Prog Rock
Release Date EU: April 29th, 2016