Haken
Vector


4.5
superb

Review

by Nick Mongiardo USER (134 Reviews)
October 26th, 2018 | 186 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One step back, two leaps forward.

Let’s face it: In this day and age, The Mountain had the potential to foreshadow future stagnation. Unfortunately, it did. Haken’s then magnum opus injected a much-needed sense of fun and positivity often absent in progressive metal. Fast forward three years later, and the band predictably regressed. Hindered by thin production, lack of identity and even bits of immaturity, Affinity disappointed to say the least. Though enjoyable, it failed to live up to the brilliance of its predecessor. This is why Vector hits the listener with an alarming surprise of matching and even surpassing it. Boasting their Dream Theater technicality, purposeful happiness and even some tweaks in sound, Haken once again prove themselves a titan of modern progressive music.

The key to enjoying Vector lies in the bands balanced musicianship, crisp production and clear payoffs. First of all, the real stars of the show revealed to be the drums and guitar work. Both showcase a chemistry that's masterful and there is never a point where they show off to the point of self-indulgence. Everything sounds as if it’s the perfect amount of heaviness, which gives it purpose and power. “Puzzle Box” weaves everything together in a perfect package, showcasing powerful blend of technicality and metallic grit. The same goes for “The Good Doctor” and “Veil.” The former is the ideal single because it’s accessible while starting off the album with potent amounts of energy. This carries over into the rest of the album and “Veil” in particular. It’s twelve minutes long, but never feels that way. It grips the listener whether the riffs and drums are pummeling through the mix or slowing down for brief yet expertly placed atmospheric sections.

It’s these atmospheric sections that give the band a much needed tweak in sound. “Host” starts out with a surprising trumpet melody and let’s Ross’ vocals shine brightly. It pays off with a slow burning build up as the atmosphere swells. It’s one of the most rewarding and refreshing tracks on Vector. The echoing electronic section of “Puzzle Box” allows everyone to let loose, including Ross’ heavily processed vocal harmonies and the often-buried bass. However, that's just a rough in a sea of diamonds. It’s these parts of the album that showcases how the band has grown since their strange venture into 80s style progressive music and dub step guitar solos.

Vector is a sure sign that bands can indeed come back from the post magnum opus slump. It may not necessarily be explicitly new for the genre, but it nonetheless proves a more than quality entry into a genre that has recently devolved into irritating guitar tones and frustrating screamed vocals. It’s often said that one needs to fall to succeed, and that’s true for Haken. They may have taken a tumble as opposed to plummeting down a cliff, but it just goes to show how the band needed to take a risk and explore awkward territory to craft a masterful album even better that The Mountain. It’s fine to release an album that a little enjoyable, but it’s wonderful to know that Haken still has the songwriting prowess to stun the listener. Vector exists as a massive album filled with endless riffs and robust drumming. To top it all off, they were wise to keep the record at a wonderful length of 45 minutes. There’s no losing patience over self-indulgence or pretentious meandering here. Just a short, sweet and immensely masterful entry of progressive metal.



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user ratings (219)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Mongi123
October 26th 2018


19859 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Soooo awesome, especially Puzzle Box xD



I'm a little rusty, so feel free to send me any valid critiques you got. Hit me!

HarryBoBerry
October 26th 2018


601 Comments


Great review, I always enjoy reading your submissions.

I'm still trying to digest this. It's not brimming with original ideas but their musicianship and songwriting chemistry make this very enjoyable. It's much more consistent than Affinity.

Mongi123
October 26th 2018


19859 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks! This was immediate for me. I couldn’t believe how good it was. Really inspired, and inspired me to write xD

zakalwe
October 26th 2018


25903 Comments


Nice one mong bro

Toondude10
October 26th 2018


13376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

album fucking rules



Puzzle Box and Veil are so good

Digging: Time, The Valuator - How Fleeting, How Fragile

teamster
October 26th 2018


3314 Comments


Same shitty vocalist? Ugh. Excellent review and thanks.

Digging: SOM - The Fall

Mongi123
October 26th 2018


19859 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

He’s fine lol he still sounds like he belongs in Yes and he’s nothing special but shitty is harsh.



But thanks peeps! Yea Puzzle Box is spectacular. I can’t stop listening to the drumming.

teamster
October 26th 2018


3314 Comments


I know Mongi , I give that dude so much shit. The musicianship is so far ahead of the vocals it’s not even a debate. Tom Maclean used to be in To-Mera and Julie Kiss’s vocals are incredible. So I have a sour taste in my mouth, lol.

kalkwiese
October 26th 2018


1758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

When I think of Haken I think of "Ross’ heavily processed vocal harmonies". I wished it was his singing in general instead.

But this album hits really hard. I'm gonna buy this, it's a contender for aoty for me. (tbf I did not listen to much stuff from 2018, I'm rather digging up the discogs of many bands I already know).

kalkwiese
October 26th 2018


1758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This doesn't sound as much like Leprous as I expected it to be. The production fits very well too, Nolly did a great job again

Mongi123
October 26th 2018


19859 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Leprous is better (; and more sophisticated. This fucking rips so hard though I'm beyond impressed!

TundraL5Z
October 26th 2018


1950 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Damn this album is good! the quieter moments are just as valuable as the louder moments honestly

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

kalkwiese
October 26th 2018


1758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Leprous is better [2]

But it's no shame to lose against someone who is far superior, right? lmao I'm kidding, but Leprous are amazing

Flugmorph
October 26th 2018


19683 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

*high pitched voice* hell yeah boi

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

cfbassist
October 26th 2018


358 Comments


Puzzle box is probably my favorite track but nil by mouth is most impressive. I probably wouldnt like this if it was 15 minutes longer the length is perfect for the music.

GreyShadow
October 26th 2018


2699 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Host is my favorite but fuck, A Cell Divides has one of the most bombastic riffs they've ever written and I love it.



All of these songs are great

Toondude10
October 26th 2018


13376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Leprous is better [3]



still though, can't deny that this rips

Sinternet
October 26th 2018


17514 Comments


imagine listening to the rest of their albums and thinking this would be worth listening to

Digging: Pool Kids - Music to Practice Safe Sex To

Mongi123
October 26th 2018


19859 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you so much for the feature!

TundraL5Z
October 26th 2018


1950 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Puzzle Box rips especially that final minute or so, freaking fantastic



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