HAKEN

"Aquarius" (Sensory; 2010)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Haken are progressive rock and progressive metal; that just means they can switch between those two types of progressiveness and still stay within the defined terms. Haken are from London, England and "Aquarius," their debut, is a concept album that tells the story about a couple that has a mermaid daughter. Fans of progressive music will be drawn into the storytelling and music of "Aquarius." I know I was. This album would be great to see in concert with a storyboard behind the band, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The tracks on "Aquarius" are lengthy and move from progressive time signatures to musical instruments such as a flute, harp and trombone to name just a few of the sounds you will hear on this disc. The list of guest musicians on this CD is impressive! Haken use a lot of jazz, metal and prog to tell the story, I read that they sound like Kansas hopped up on pills and since they start "Aquarius" off with a track entitled "Point of No Return" there could be some truth to that statement. "Aquarius" clocks in at 1:12:48 but the time passes quickly since the story unfolds in a way that lets the music tell part of the story while the vocalist sings the other part. There is a dark voice that tells his own story. He moves in and out of the story so when you hear him listen for his side of the tale.

At first listen, I was a little sour-faced but after a while I was eager to see how they would approach each track. It took me some time to take in all the sounds but once I quit nit-picking and started pointing out I was able to relax and really enjoy a progressive style of music I don't normally embrace. At times I think Steve Vai is being channeled. Haken have a weird but cool approach to progressive music. As of the writing of this review, they now have three discs out there. I'll have to give each one a chance so look for more reviews forthcoming on Haken.

Haken: Ross Jennings - Vocals; Richard "Hen" Henshall - Guitar and Keyboards; Charlie Griffiths - Guitar; Thomas MacLean - Bass Guitar; Ray Hearne - Drums, Tuba, Djembe; Diego Tejeida - Keyboards. Guest Musicians -Craig Beattie - Trombone; Alex Benwell; Trumpet; Pablo Inda Garcia - Clarinet; Marged Hall - Harp; Darren Moore - Trumpet; Jon Roskilly - Trombone; Dave Ruff - Flute.

For more information - http://www.hakenmusic.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

Back to CD Reviews Home

Back to RoughEdge.com Home

Copyright 2014 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Jul 2017 13:44:32 -0400.