Listening to Haken (pronounced Hay-ken) can be a complete aural orgasm if you let it. The important thing to remember while listening is that you are in for an extended journey, oftentimes within the parameters of one song! Haken has two kinds of songs – long ones and longer ones. For the sake of expediting things, we will divide these extensive live tracks into the two types. Once we understand the sheer length of the tracks, then readers/listeners will understand the need for 2 cds.
Visions and Aquamedley (the story of Aquarius), for example, are both over 20 minutes in length, especially if one considers the crowd banter with Ross Jennings (vocalist). The Architect is a whopping 16 minutes. Those three tracks together would be plenty of music for one CD. Haken being who they are, they give us that and oh so much more!
The beauty in the music for me, aside from the heavy chops, of course, is the piano. On As Death Embraces, we are confronted by a single note gorgeous keyboard piece. Throw in some excellent vocals that can be as big as the sky one minute, then plaintive and near silent the next, and you have the shortest number on board. It is even FM friendly, as it clocks in at just under three minutes!
The opening track, affinity/Initiate, is another ‘shorter’ tune (only 6 minutes!), but has plenty to offer, both heavy and mellow. Things pretty much explode at about the four minute mark, and you will understand what I refer to as you listen. Prepare yourself, dear reader/listener! The journey is just beginning. Every track contained herein is very well done, from the huge chops of In Memoriam to the shifts and dreamy midsection of 1985. Red Giant grabs ahold of you and doesn’t let go for the entire ride. Don’t let the semi-silent passages fool you — Haken are just giving you a break from the aural attack! Atlas Stone and Cockroach King are obvious crowd favorites, as is The Endless Knot. We can hear their approval as they roar at the close of each tune.
All told, we could have had a triple on our hands here. If you are a fan of classic prog rock, then you will not be disappointed in this live offering from the boys. Note: this live recording contains tracks from the final stop on their most recent European tour in Amsterdam!
2. In Memoriam
4. Red Giant
6. As Death Embraces
7. Atlas Stone
8. Cockroach King
9. The Architect
10. The Endless Knot
Playing Time: 114 minutes and 29 seconds
The fellowship of Haken includes:
Charlie Griffiths - guitars
Ray Hearne - drums
Richard Henshall - guitars, keyboards
Ross Jennings - vocals
Diego Tejeida - keyboards
Conner Green - bass
Jersen Moons - web