Haken: Affinity

London’s proggers continue to apply the kitchen sink approach

Haken album

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Continuing to invoke a barely controlled conflagration of opulent bursts of acrobatic musicianship, nerdy nods to impenetrable jazz, arcade effects and everything in between, Haken are clearly not for everyone.

1985 is a case in point, paying homage to its title with an indulgent sojourn into a mid-80s fantasy film soundtrack before exploding into stabs of Images And Words-era Dream Theater noodling. If you have the attention span to absorb the overwhelming assault of ideas, Affinity proves what a unique and spellbinding band Haken are, even by their genre’s lofty standards.

Lapse gives room for Ross Jennings’ dulcet vocals to really captivate, Earthrise boasts effortlessly catchy melodic hooks, while 15-minute centrepiece The Architect crams all manner of moods into its intro before heading off into mesmeric, distant plains, regal leads and tortured vocals.

Spanning the breadth of progressive music from King Crimson and Yes to Tesseract, Ihsahn and everything in between, Haken’s boundless imagination must be applauded.

Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.