CD review HAKEN ‘Virus’

Nowadays you can certainly get maximum attention by putting the word ‘virus’ into everything. Now, you can’t blame Haken of sensationalism because the prog metal band from London, UK was already working on their new album long before Corona came into the picture. Furthermore, ‘Vector’, the predecessor, and ‘Virus’ are directly connected.

Everything goes back to the question “Who is the Cockroach King?”, which has been asked again and again since ‘The Mountain’. Haken started to work on answering the question musically and what came out are two albums that reveal the musical qualities of the band in perfection. While on ‘Vekor’ the original story was tackled, it is ‘Virus’ which continues the theme until ‘the endgame’.

‘Prosthetic’, the opener on ‘Virus’, is the link between both albums. What is amazing is the heaviness with which the band goes to work. Heavy riffs and a massive sound immediately fascinate the listener. After a while more prog elements are added, all culminating in a catchy chorus. After such an intense start, ‘Invasion’ takes over, a song that shines with complexity without losing melody and sensitivity.

That Haken are sound architects is widely known and manifests itself in the 10-minute ‘Carousel’ as well as in the 5-chapters of the ‘Messiah Complex’ story. Well composed melodies, brutal riffs and a complex sound earmark these songs as progressive masterpieces. There are a-capella parts and blast sections like in ‘Messiah Complex IV – the Sect’ which repeatedly create unforeseeable twists and turns. ‘Messiah Complex’, with its obvious cross-references to ‘The Mountain’, is certainly the core of the record and the best, but also the most complex, recording Haken ever brought to the plate.

‘Virus’ is not just a sequel to ‘Vector’. It also shows that Haken are still growing and evolving, but have found their own basic sound signature. Prog rock and prog metal fans will love ‘Virus’ and even newcomers to Haken will be impressed by soundscapes that are certainly not off the shelf. This ‘Virus’ is a virus you want get infected with.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Prosthetic
  2. Invasion
  3. Carousel
  4. The Strain
  5. Canary Yellow
  6. Messiah Complex i: Ivory Tower
  7. Messiah Complex ii: A Glutton for Punishment
  8. Messiah Complex iii: Marigold
  9. Messiah Complex iv: The Sect
  10. Messiah Complex v: Ectobius Rex
  11. Only Stars

Label: Inside Out Music

Genre: Progressive Metal

Release Date EU: June 19th, 2020

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