|Review: Haken - Visions|
Label: Sensory Records
Year released: 2011
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: January 28, 2012
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Rated 4.5/5 (90%) (4 Votes)
If the mention of "Progressive Metal" immediately brings to mind sprawling compositions, challenging arrangements and unusual sounds then Haken's Visions is an album you should check out. It reminds me of Dream Theater, especially DT's longer songs ("The Count of Tuscany" comes to mind), but it also owes a lot to Progressive Rock pioneers like Genesis. I mean, when is the last time you heard a Theramin on a Metal album? While Visions relies heavily on keyboards and synthesizers, the guitars and drums are not forgotten. They aren't present in sufficient quantity to please the more casual fans of Progressive Metal, but they are there.
Visions has a distinctly "Rock" vibe. There are a lot of slower, pensive parts in many of the songs. Synthesized strings and keyboards dominate in these instances. There is also a lack of major hooks on Visions. The band is definitely talented and the songs well written, but even after several spins there is just nothing that sticks in my head. A great hook, like the chorus of Dream Theater's "Pull Me Under" or even Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway," would give listeners a focal point from which to explore the rest of the album. The closest thing is the opening guitar riff on "The Mind's Eye."
Visions' production is top notch and the album sounds great. I can't knock the band's abilities but their songwriting is a little too self-indulgent. In spite of their shortcomings, Progressive fans will definitely want to check out a band on the way up.
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