Haken – Vector

“Electricity” The Good Doctor tells us, is the prescription “He” needs. Perhaps, he might be brought back to society, or will an empire be brought to its knees? Who is he? Why am I reading prog lyrics this closely? How did I get into your house? These are all important questions, good questions, you may even get answers to some; and wild speculation to others. I’ll leave it to you to lift the veil and puzzle the truth from lies.

That’s right folks, HAKEN is back with their fifth effort, the insanity-laced, mental instability inspired Vector, out now through InsideOut Music. It’s shorter, punchier and heavier than ever. The promotional cycle, which conveniently highlighted the three songs that formed the basis for the album (the other four songs written afterwards), “The Good Doctor’, “Puzzle Box” and “A Cell Divides” hit everything you could want from this band.

The Good Doctor” is the heaviest take you’ll ever get on THANK YOU SCIENTIST-esque exuberance, complete with horns, slaps and funky muted guitar licks, and the signature HAKEN infectious chorus. Even after almost two months with this song, I still think “E-LEC-TRI-CI-TY” is my favorite chorus from these guys. I say chorus, because  “Puzzle Box” features a moment at the end that is definitely the most uplifting and catchy moment on any HAKEN song ever.

But it’s only played once, so I get to have my cake and eat it too. Otherwise “Puzzle Box” continues in the great tradition of the erratic intensity of “The Endless Knot” or “Pareidolia.” “A Cell Divides” then is probably the bands’ most naked tribute to their Norwegian bromance partners in LEPROUS, but still appropriate to HAKEN’S more indulgent melodic and harmonic tendencies. 

What’s left is the epic length “Veil,” definitely a product of (most of) the band’s recent run with Mike Portnoy on the Shattered Fortress Tour. That being said, Ray Hearne, who got left home gets the most obvious tribute in what I’ve dubbed the Justice for Ray drum solo. You’ll know it when you hear it. The instrumental “Nil By Mouth” maintains and in many ways crescendos the album’s ferocious intensity before the somber “Host” leads into the closer “A Cell Divides.”

HAKEN absolutely made the right call keeping this album down to 45 minutes, I think a more concise listening experience was vital for something as heavy and unrelenting as Vector. In terms of consistency this is without a doubt one their best albums, even if it doesn’t necessarily reach the, *ahem* heights, of The Mountain. It’s an excellent delivery on that thing every prog band gets the itch to do eventually; they wrote ‘the heavy album’ and did a damn fine job of it.  

STANDOUT TRACKS: “Puzzle Box”, “Veil”, “Nil By Mouth”

RATING: 9.25/10


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