Music ReviewsRock

EP Pre-review: Restoration by Haken

[review]

Crudely put, Progressive Metal could be described as Metal with noodling. A respected exponent of this genre, English band, Haken, has followed their acclaimed album, “The Mountain” with “Restoration”. This three-track EP comprises songs which originally appeared on a self-produced ‘demo’ a few years ago, re-imagined and re-recorded to reflect where the current line-up is at today. Haken’s six members (Ross, Richard, Charles, Raymond, Diego and newest member, Connor) present an intriguing canvas, with a wash of softly, softly rock studded with potent jazz and metal. Fine musicians all – guitars, keyboards, bass and percussion create subtlety and aggression equally well without overwhelming the sweet spots of lead vocalist, Ross Jennings.

“Restoration” is to be released on 27th October, 2014 as a download and on vinyl. Beginning with “Darkest Light”, the band sets its stall out with fast and furious guitar and keyboards, joined by softer vocals soaring above complex jazz-fused sounds. I imagine Yes albums nestle in their collective record collection. It’s a cool meld of dark and light – ying and yang. “Earthlings” is gently spaced out prog-rock at its most laid-back, with sympathetic percussion and a welcome Pink Floydian passage.

Crystallised”, clocking in at 19:24, is not so much a song as a tour through different genres. Like a pinball zapping different components of a potted musical history, we hear spacey ambient, theatricality, choppy jazz keyboards overlaid with epic vocal harmonies, great drive-pile rock and jazz guitar, sweet melodic guitar with jazz bass lines underneath, percussion with an ear for both jazz and rock, four-part a cappella vocals, and 1960’s psychedelic folk with suitably optimistic Summer of Love sentiments. With a final lyric of “escaping the past by embracing the future” and a swish of cymbals, “Restoration” is over.

It may not contain enough heaviness for some and too much prog for others, and lyrics could be targeted for being – well, a little too ‘proggy’ – but if you’re open to different experiences contained within one record, this is well worth a spin.

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Anne Iredale

Anne is an experienced writer, published poet and proofreader from the UK. She is passionate about promoting new music whilst paying tribute to past greats. Her other passions are for films, books and art plus walking in the woods or on the beach.

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