Haken
Visions


5.0
classic

Review

by Duffluc USER (4 Reviews)
October 26th, 2011 | 107 replies | 21,005 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With only their second release, progressive metal band Haken cements themselves a position among the greatest artists of our time.

13 of 14 thought this review was well written

They must have cheated. It’s as simple as that. Somehow, in a mere two albums, the progressive metal outfit Haken has done something most bands struggle to do their entire careers. They’ve defined themselves; carved themselves a style and sound that’s not only fresh and unique, but layered with the polish that comes only after the release of a plethora of albums and years of experience. Yes, Haken’s sophomore effort is a grand one. Visions simply vaults over the impossibly high bar Haken set for themselves with their debut release.

For those of you who don’t know, Haken emerged from London in 2007 as one of the most appealing new prog metal bands around. Their debut album Aquarius shocked audiences with its top notch musicianship and song writing. Their sound was fresh, yet reminiscent of progressive legends such as Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation. All agreed the band’s next album would hard pressed to top its predecessor, but here we are less than two years later, and Haken has struck gold yet again.

Visions is a very different machine from Aquarius. While Aquarius showed some restraint when it came to technical wankery, Visions barrels forward with reckless abandon for this sort of self control. If you ever doubted the skill and talent of Haken’s individual members, prepare to have your doubts beaten repeatedly into a fine dust and then scattered to the wind, never to be seen again. Violins, cellos and brass instruments accentuate the albums details perfectly, and with the inclusion of two entirely instrumental tracks and a multitude of extended solos, Haken’s making sure there’s no room for argument; these dudes can play.

Of course, technical proficiency does not equal quality. Yet fear not, because song writing isn’t about to take a back seat. In fact it’s improved by leaps and bounds. Gone are the awkwardly placed death metal growls and circus-like passages of music that plagued Aquarius’ flow. Instead, Visions relies on incredibly dynamic passages that can change from the gut-wrenchingly powerful to the heart-tuggingly beautiful in moments. Perhaps the album’s greatest example of this can be found in its second track, Nocturnal Conspiracy. One moment Haken is pummeling away with a superbly heavy sound, while the next we’re treated to a mellow guitar track that overlays perfectly with Ross Jennings’ soothing, soaring voice. The album as a whole is also brilliantly constructed. Being a concept album, ideas are revisited just enough to give the whole thing a cohesive feel, and I’ll be damned if the final track doesn’t tie the prettiest little bow I’ve ever seen onto this incredible package, closing the album in the same beautiful manner with which it started.

So there you have it. Another astounding entry into a bands discography that I hope to see expand dramatically throughout the coming years. There are flaws in Visions; the inclusion of some odd sound effects (Super Mario Brothers, or something?) can raise eyebrows at points, and the concept behind the album could be viewed as cheesy, if taken too seriously. But such qualms don’t mar the surface of Visions in the slightest. After all, Haken had to leave some room to improve because as far as I can see, they’re pretty much at the top already.


user ratings (223)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Duffluc
October 26th 2011



12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My 2nd review... Had to do this one, these guys deserve as much exposure as possible.

Also, I accidentally added a third album to their discography..... Anyone know how to fix it? Thanks in advance.

jimmykidd
October 26th 2011



528 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice review. album seriously rules

Exodus287
October 26th 2011



43 Comments


I'm gonna have to give this a shot. Sure I'm not going to regret it.

Keyblade
October 26th 2011



14627 Comments


Can't wait to hear this. Their debut was superb.

Digging: Kacica - Kacica

afergusonart
October 26th 2011



220 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Album is absolutely fantastic, even better than Aquarius. Good review.

zxlkho
October 26th 2011



3460 Comments


This album is really good, but there's no way it's a 5. Aquarius is better imo.

Jethro42
October 26th 2011



12390 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. Band sounds really great.




greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2011



7346 Comments


Given that I've only listened to a couple of songs, music = good, vocals = suck.

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

BugZoid
October 26th 2011



331 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I must check this out. I nearly forgot about their first album, although I previewed it probably a year or two back. Your review was well done, I just wish you would have given a bit more detail about the instrumentation. No qualms though, it was very well done. Bravo!

jybt
October 26th 2011



342 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

This is one of my favorite bands of the moment. I've not heard the album in order, but I know enough to rate it a 5 on first listen. This rating may change, but it will definitely remain extremely high.

ShinXetsu
October 26th 2011



605 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Checked these guys out on a whim when their first album came out, boy was I pleased. This one is fan-fucking-tastic as well.

jybt
October 26th 2011



342 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Duffluc: I just changed the extra album into an entry for the demo. Turning around a mistake WIN.

porcupinetheater
October 26th 2011



111 Comments


I think I can officially call it now: Haken is the most important thing to have happened to the progressive metal scene in the past decade. I've said they revived the genre with Aquarius. And now they've done it again. Good review also, pos'd.

Duffluc
October 26th 2011



12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@BugZoid: I know exactly what you mean, now that I've read it over. Thanks for the feedback!

@jybt: What an eloquent solution! Thanks man! :D

xist
October 27th 2011



171 Comments


Is this Metal or Rock? Seems to be Metal given the comments but it's in the Rock section...

porcupinetheater
October 27th 2011



111 Comments


It's prog! But really, there's elements of it that can go either way

seedofnothing
October 27th 2011



3425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album has good musicianship but get kinda of complacement for me

portals is a good track, album is best as a whole ofcourse but something about it doesnt keep me interested, there are moments that are perfect but it became a chore to listen str8 throught

deathless was enjoyable as well

and just so you know i've givin it 3 proper listens already str8 through from beg to end

JJmcJizzle
November 3rd 2011



100 Comments


albums ok. think they need a bit more power in some songs. Pretty good though. Also some bits sound out of place and strange but that might just be me. I'll listen a couple more times and then decide on a rating for it. Probs 3 - 3.5

afergusonart
November 3rd 2011



220 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Deathless is the best song I've heard from these guys so far. Incredibly emotional piece.

MO
November 4th 2011



18444 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yep this is awesome

Digging: Immolation - Dawn of Possession



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