Haken – Visions

A Re-release of the second album from the Prog Metal band Haken. Easily one of the leading bands in the prog world at this time, for good reason.

“Premonition” Opens the album as almost an overture kind of keeping it simple, heavy, and orchestral, while hinting at major themes that will end up reoccurring throughout the album.  It sets the tone for the album and leads right into the next track almost seamlessly.

“Nocturnal Conspiracy” Starting off slow and eerie, this song builds up little by little following a somewhat predictable song sequence, with minor variations on the same parts to get you hooked and paying attention, but then bursts into a heavy orchestral break with lots of rhythmic chunk and drone on top. Following this you get lots of interesting prog parts with solos thrown into the mix as well. It resolves into familiar territory. settles down and becomes completely symphonic, and gradually builds up to a new vocal sections which could almost be a separate song. The track picks back up with heavy chugging, soaring vocals, and heavy orchestration. Overall the track is extremely dynamic with a great blend of melody and technical prowess, giving you an idea of the trend that will follow throughout the entire album.

“Insomnia” Very syncopated, yet catchy. Utilizing the idea of building on a harmonic and rhythmic theme little by little, this track in my opinion is one of the standout moments of the album. There is a very quirky break in the middle of the song that almost hints at super Mario bros, while continuing into a guitar/keyboard solo tradeoff with a bit of a neo classical feel leading back into the main theme to wrap things up.

“The Mind’s Eye” Pretty standard song structure here. Very nice melodies happening here, and lots of space for the vocalist to shine. There are a lot of subtle layers overlapping that keep the song from being just “simple” and add a lot of great overall texture.

“Portals” Starting with a cool synth melody that continues for some time, this track allows the band play around with some cool dissonant and melodic sections, with a lot of tension and release. Almost the opposite of the previous track. Some pretty ripping keyboard solos here, followed by really noodley guitar solo’s that still manage to maintain a good sense of melody pulling you directly into the next track.

“Shapeshifter” Somewhat reminiscent of Nocturnal Conspiracy from a structural standpoint, This track utilizes reoccurring themes and parts, that continue to have different variations on them. Always maintaining the feeling of a flowing song while utilizing heavy chunking. A very melodic solo comes in followed by a very haunting bridge where the vocals almost put you into a trance, followed by chunk, more soloing, a chorus, and the some big orchestrations with a beefy droning rhythm behind it, and drifts off into a dream like part that sets the tone for the next track.

“Deathless” A very light track. Very dynamic and emotional. The vocalist really shines on this track. Halfway through the song goes into a proggy break with tons of great overlapping textures and layers that truly manage to create a relaxing feel while being intricate at the same time. Another standout moment of the album, that showcases the versatility of this band.

“Visions” Well, let’s put it this way… This closing track is 22 mins. Everything that you’ve heard on the album, leads up to this moment. A true epic composition here. This track ties tons of themes together from the whole album. All the dynamics are here. Great song writing, mixed with Technicality. You’ll hear tons of prog sections. I won’t give it all away, but let’s just say every trick in the book gets thrown at you in this track. A very good way to finish the album, and pulls everything together.

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