Thursday, 3 September 2020

Haken "Virus" (2020)

Some albums demand attention. Occasionally that attentive listening seems inexhaustible. The more I spin Virus, the further I feel from writing my commentary. It takes this moment, currently immersed in its brilliance to spew a barrage of thoughts. Haken have several albums under their belt and either through maturity or deliberation they seem to have cultivated a level of excellence here. It cuts all the fat to deliver a fifty minute experience simply brimming with octane Progressive Metal. Perhaps it is the freshness of it all but so far Virus stands out as their to date.

Prosthetic opens the album with a pitch perfect snare sound to immediately illuminate the fine production as guitars come crashing in among the choppy pedal driven beats. Some of its riffs have an uncanny familiarity with the popular variety of Metal akin to Slipknot in their current more melodic era. Its a constant roll of excellent arrangements pulling no cheap tricks. Invasion bridges the mood with a gloomy darker tone and slower pace, brooding in anticipation of the coming ten minute epic Carousel.

Its around this point the lyrics distinguish an idiosyncratic quality. Phrases and sayings known culturally seem to frequent the tapestry of sentences, leaping from the stance as they peak attention with their linking themes. The albums lyrics mostly deals with themes of abuse, suffering and mental distress, a powerful weight not exaggerated through its crunching metallic template. The guitars instead craft meaty measured grooves, forging a matured atmosphere to house the lyrical vision at hand.

Even as it periodically dives into the "breakdown" realm of riffing, the compositions feel purposeful as the music sways in and out of varying temperaments often glistened by Jennings's beautiful clean vocals that soar with harmony. Being typically progressive the music ventures in all directions in a never ending liveliness that is simply put, just continuously exciting. It's typically Haken but with a keener metallic edge mixed stunningly into their colorful music this time around.

Messiah Complex stands as a seventeen minute epic split into five parts. It continues the theme on but often feels a shade behind the opening songs. That shade however is nothing to dwell on. The whole record is simply remarkable but so dense with riffs and details to engulf. I leave it for now knowing I'll be able to return over and over, discovering new intricacies and details, that is the mark of a great record! Time will tell but for now its been one of those I couldn't put down and for good reason.

Rating: 9/10