Friday, 4 January 2019

Haken "Vector" (2018)


Ive spent a couple months with this record and come to a conclusion that some things are objectively better than your experience of it. That's not to say Vector is a poor record, quite the opposite. Its a sweet, dazzling album loaded with succulent, oozing Prog to melt in your mouth. I feel guilty that I should be enjoying it more! On all fronts this record excels yet it doesn't get me fired up in quite the way Id like. I very much enjoyed the modern Progressive Metal behemoths Haken's previous records Aquarius and Visions. I was hyped, excited and they delivered but like much of this breed of Metal I am a little checked out from the whole experience when the music is mute.

Firstly, this record sounds as you would expect, modern and crisp, all instruments are slick, lush and audible. There is plenty of dense music and build ups that cram a lot of instrumentation in, the production holds up well in its most challenging moments. The aesthetics are terrific, especially the bass guitar and vocals. The bass has a broad grizzly clunk that plods and pumps its rooted notes from deep below with occasional moments upfront as other sounds part. Ross Jennings soars at the front with his high pitched and silky smooth tones that get challenged on occasion but mostly get to emanate of the musics energy and crescendo the songs most powerful moments.

Song structures are grand and fleshed out as one would expect with a typically ever unraveling feeling to the whole experience. Bursts of synthetic drums and whirling electronics spice up a recurring aesthetic, yet subtle, theme. As you might expect the album flexes its intensities from thunderous clatters of sound, monstrous math guitar grooves and Djent open close riffing all the way too stretches of calming quiets of sombre singing over acoustic guitars and soothing jazzy interludes. Its a wild ride of peaks and valleys never ceasing to evolve and unfold in its inspired complexity.

Not falling victims to the folly of over-indulged technicalities and music theory hackery, Haken forge a fantastical journey through their inspirations and vision that all its songs share with purpose. Its one big experience that can be enjoyed at the surface or sunk into. When focusing on details there is a plethora of intricacies that all feel necessary in making it come together. The record ends on a high with its best vocals and an infectious riff that keeps recurring its way into the final heart beat of the song. It ends on a stunning note as it swiftly cuts itself short. Their best album to date no doubt.

Favorite Tracks: Puzzle Box, A Cell Divides
Rating: 8/10

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