Album Review: Haken – Restoration

Restorations_by_HakenBeing in a Progressive band of any sorts, you must have your shit together. You can’t be half-assed and create a band that will stand the test of time. Just look at bands like Between The Buried And Me, Porcupine Tree, Opeth and well Haken. Granted Haken is a bit newer to the scene than the others, but you get the idea, you can’t just lump a group of talentless ‘musicians’ together and tell them to successfully write a 20+ minute song it just doesn’t work that way. . . They’d get bored about five minutes into it. Now take 6 truly talented individuals that are dedicated to what they do and what have you got?? Well in this case Haken and they just did what most bands dare not try. . at least not so early in their career.

Comprised of just three songs London-based Progressive Rock/Metal act Haken have re-imagined songs from their 2008 demo “Enter the 5th Dimension” into a new masterpiece that is simply titled “Restoration.” Rightfully so, the band didn’t just want to re-record the songs since half the band weren’t on the original recordings. Therefore they did the next best thing and re-work them into their own new versions of the songs and holy crap what a job they did.

Opening track, ‘Darkest Light‘ really kicks things off the right way with a funky intro that will surely get you in the mood for what is in store the rest of the album. While the EP is just three songs, it certainly isn’t lacking in substance. Vocalist Ross Jennings and crew have not wasted time as a band this being their 5th release upon inception of the band seven years ago, three of which are full length. ‘Darkest Light‘ is re-imagined from the opening track of “Enter the 5th DimensionBlind, cutting the song about in half, as the band claims to have “trimmed the fat” of the song. . basically taking out any unnecessary noodling if you will :). The song clocks in at just under 7 minutes and is a rollercoaster of a song and if there is one thing I learned from this EP, other than the glory that is Haken, it’s that Raymond Hearne is one hell of a fucking drummer. (Ok that was known before, their entire discography is captivating).

Earthlings‘ is a beautiful song kicking off with the clean guitars of Richard Henshall and Charlie Griffiths that carries you through time in the most peaceful way possible from a band like this. The track lasts just shy of the 8 minute mark but is a great Segway for what is to come from the remainder of the album. Clocking in at about 19 and a half minutes ‘Crystallised‘ closes out the EP taking you on a journey, similar to that of the Lord of the Rings books. . no there aren’t wizards or dragons or hobbits really for that matter. Just 19 minutes of fascinating Progressive music, paying attention to every detail that goes into the song and the best thing about it is, IT WORKS!! Not only does it have its ups and downs in momentum, but never in the 19 minutes do you feel like changing the song. Sure you might get lost in the midst, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing especially during the three minute jam session at the image00112:30 mark. Oh, by the way Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob, Etc.) has a very special guest appearance on this song. . the Gong to close out the song! Pete Rinaldi (Headspace) also acts as a guest on the song as well showing off his guitar skills.

One thing I have always enjoyed since discovering this band is the harmony they bring into the mix and the layering of vocals from all the members. Each bringing their unique voice to add that certain something to the middle of the song that would have otherwise been, meh. I had first heard this on the track ‘Cockroach King‘ off of their 2013 Full Length “Mountain” which might not be the first to have utilized this, and I sure hope it’s not the last we hear of this, but ‘Cockroach King‘ was the first song that made me realize the power this band has. Overall “Restoration” is a solid addition to the collection for any prog head. It was released through InsideOut records October 27th and although its only a digital release, I strongly suggest paying for it where you can find it be it iTunes or the bands bandcamp page.

1. “Darkest Light” 6:44
2. “Earthlings” 7:52
3. Crystallised” (featuring Pete Rinaldi and Mike Portnoy) 19:23
Total length:
33:59

Rating: 5/5

R.I.Y.L. – Dream Theater, Opeth, Porcupine Tree

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