Album review: HAKEN – Affinity

HAKEN - Affinity

Inside Out [Release date 29.04.16]

Haken return with their fourth album and have a high bar to reach after their last album, the excellent ‘The Mountain’. The album also marks the first full length studio album to feature new-ish bassist Connor Green who joined the band in 2014.

The band are never one to sit in one style and their last album harked back to the 70′s prog rock of Gentle Giant. This time we move forward to the 1980′s for much of the musical inspiration and in interviews the band have been praising Yes’s ’90125′ album which will give you some idea of what to expect. Well a little idea, as only the aptly named ’1985′ is a an 80′s pop/rock prog wig out. This song has lovely 80′s style drums and wave, upon wave of keys and the soaring vocals of Ross Jennings.

The title track is truly a thing of wonder and let me explain why…it is the sheer musical variety on display from the guitar solos, keys and rhythm section interplay and the soaring musical emotions contained within the piece. On top of that just after the ten minute mark the growling vocals of Einar Solberg of Leprous fame take the listener by surprise.

Shorter treats can be found in ‘Initiate’, a melodic beast of a tune and ‘Bound By Gravity’ featuring wistful vocals and calming music, another musical wonder from Haken (heck they even throw in some church bells!). This song has real crossover potential as fans of say Coldplay would enjoy this one.

Haken have taken another musical trip, building on their strengths – strong melodies and impressive musical arrangements – adding in more to the pot like the band’s love of 80′s commercial prog rock. An album of the year contender for certain.  ****1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

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