Haken

support Rendezvous Point + Arkentype
author RD date 16/06/16 venue Stengade, Copenhagen, DEN

With their album ”Affinity”, British prog metal band Haken has already left a big impression in the minds of the whole progressive scene. It is time for the band to confirm this impression with an extensive European Tour that stopped in Stengade on June 16th. For the occasion, Haken shared the stage with two promising bands of the progressive metal scene, Norway’s Arkentype and Rendezvous point.

All photos courtesy of philipbh.com

Arkentype

Arkentype opens the evening with their energetic and aggressive type of Djent. With a big presence despite the exiguity of the stage, the Norwegians catch the audience’s attention from the very beginning. With down tuned guitars for a very heavy sound and challenging rhythmic patterns, they fit the canons of the djent scene. Even if their music is not the most original in the metal scene today, the band compensate with a great energy and impressive technique. From time to time, they also depart from the genre with influences from post-rock or melodeath. Frontman Kevin Augestad has enough charisma to carry the band on his shoulders (which he did literally at some point with bass player Simen Handeland). The whole band is so attached to the idea of leaving an imprint in the audience’s mind that they play among them, dancing in the public in the middle of Stengade. By overcoming the shortcomings of their music in studio, Arkentype delivered a solid performance with a big personality that we hope they can transpose to a studio album in the future.

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Rendezvous Point

Half an hour later, right on time with the tight schedule, Rendezvous Point starts its set. The group is quieter on stage than Arkentype but singer Geirmund Hansen’s presence compensates for that. Rendezvous Point’s music is more varied that the one of their predecessor. The rhythm section in the opening track shows originality and a great intensity. Rendezvous Point’s music is more in the tradition of classic progressive metal, but the band manages to add something new to it. For example, keyboard player Nicolay Tangen Svennæs brings a nice electro touch to the tracks from time to time. His presence contrasts the more aggressive moments and extends the horizon of the band during these parts. Destructured solos from guitar and synths also bring something new as they depart from the dexterity tricks that you find often in progressive metal. With a chaotic finale, Rendezvous Point confirms it is a band to keep a close eye on in the next few years.

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Haken

It is finally time for the highlight of the evening when Haken comes on stage. The whole audience of a full Stengade is gathered in front of the small stage. The six musicians start to come on stage and the first notes of the introductory track “Affinity” can be heard. Soon enough the band explodes with the energetic riff of “Initiate”. The song matches the studio version almost perfectly and during the whole evening, the band will remain quite close to the album version of the tracks, even with the solos. The intricate nature of the music doesn’t allow much freedom anyhow. However, the music of the band gains such intensity from the involvement of the musician and the fans. The songs from “Affinity” have so many catchy parts that the guests often sing along in what sometimes sounds like real anthems (“The Endless Knot”, “Earthrise”). Even if the musicians are very concentrated on the complexity of the music, they often keep contact with the public and show a genuine involvement. Singer Ross Jennings connects a lot with the audience and his natural charisma drives the band. With “The Cockroach King”, “The Architect” and “1985” Haken has a good deal of long and complex prog metal instant classics that are the highlights of the concert. On “1985”, the bands goes all in with the 1980’s references, flashing glasses and light show included; a way to show that the band does not take itself too seriously and a nice departure from a typical prog metal attitude. Instead of leaving the stage for an encore, Ross Jennings simply asks the public if they want some more, so they conclude the evening with “Crystallised”, another great epic.

All in all, this evening with Haken, Rendezvous Point and Arkentype was a fantastic event for modern progressive metal fans. With three intense sets, the bands have proven that this scene is very much alive and worthy of interest, a great sign that the genre has something to show in the metal scene as a whole.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Affinity.exe
  • 2. Initiate
  • 3. Falling Back to Earth
  • 4. 1985
  • 5. Earthrise
  • 6. Pareidolia
  • 7. Cockroach King
  • 8. The Architect
  • 9. Deathless
  • 10. The Endless Knot
  • 11. Crystallised

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