Written by: RD on 15/04/2016 15:51:05

British band Haken has built a strong reputation over the years in progressive metal circles and “The Mountain”, released in 2013, had got numerous positive reviews and expanded the horizon of the band. The next challenge for them in 2016, is to manage to confirm the hopes and expectations of progressive metal fans with a new album “Affinity”.

With its title and artwork, “Affinity” gives a little indication of the direction the band chose, a revival of 80’s music. If, like me, you thought that we’ve had enough of this uninteresting, self-indulging movement that only looks towards the past, you’ll have a nice surprise when discovering this record. The thing that strikes the most when listening to “1985” is the amount of references, because 80’s music is not the only reference in this record. Indeed, King Crimson, classic prog metal, black metal, electronic music, pop… all of these are contained in the 61 minutes of “Affinity” and Haken manages to make this work. First of all, it is because they keep their personality. Every reference is also used with intelligence and relevance, and the quality of the composition reaches a very high level. Think about “Affinity” as a Quentin Tarantino film, for example, full of references, homages and gimmicks but with its own stylistic coherence.

The complexity of the music is never a goal in itself, intricate solos and complex rhythms make the music of Haken very meaningful and give stake to the beautiful melodies. From beginning to end, “1985” never cease to amaze, it unveils its rich details through time. There is no doubt that this exhilarating record will become an instant classic and put Haken at the center of the prog metal scene, where they belong.

Not only is “Affinity” an excellent metal prog album, but it is probably one of the best albums that has come up from this whole nostalgia movement that permeated the music scene in the last few years. The reason is that it looks towards the future. The use of all the references is like a playground for Haken, is it the base on which the band builds something new and exciting. It is even more of an achievement when you think about big established bands like Opeth, who have lost themselves into making homage albums. All in all, “Affinity” is a truly accessible and enjoyable, post-modern metal album.


Download: "Initiate", "1985", "The Architect"
For The Fans Of: Leprous, Between the Buried and Me, Dream Theater
Listen: facebook.com/Haken

Release date 29.04.2016
Inside Out

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