Haken – Affinity
Released: 29th April 2016
Haken Line Up
Charlie Griffiths – Guitar
Ray Hearne – Drums
Richard Henshall – Guitar & Keys
Ross Jennings – Vocals
Diego Tejeida – Keys
Conner Green – Bass
Haken are well on their way to becoming one of the biggest modern prog acts and Affinity could very well be the album that solidifies their position at the top of the ranks. The prog genre is generally quite odd and unpredictable with complex time signatures and sudden genre changes that’ll leave you questioning your very existence. Haken take this concept to the extreme and with Affinity they have truly outdone themselves. Not only with the music but even the way they promoted the album to build hype was unique. Using an old school MS-DOS looking website that asked you for a password which revealed details on the album.
Affinity will take you on a journey packed with a variety of different genres and influences ranging from ambient to djent and even D&B and dubstep. It may sound weird reading this but it all blends in perfectly, so perfectly that the entire album will have you spasming from an hour long aural orgasm.
The album starts off with “affinity.exe” which is an eerie build up for the first single released from the album “Initiate”. This song is a good example of what the band does best when sticking to the norm instead of going all out in their more lateral nature. Gentle and warm sounding guitar melodies, nice technical drums, creative bass lines and brilliantly complimenting keys create the perfect atmosphere to back up the beautiful vocals. This is the main foundation of Haken’s sound. Throw in some heavy djent riffs here and there as well as some random genre mashing and you’ve got the full Haken experience.
The 3rd track off the album really is something special. “1985” is full of 80s disco keys and electronic drums making it the most catchy song off the album in my opinion. Giving you flashbacks of Tron and Back to the Future in a true prog fashion.
“The Architect” and “The Endless Knot” are also definitely worth mentioning.
The Architect is a 15:40 long masterpiece compiled of sporadic progressions, brilliant guitar solos and some harsh vocals performed by Einar Solberg of Leprous.
The Endless Knot was the second single to be released from Affinity. This is where the dubstep comes in.. If you find it weird at first, give it time. It’ll grow on you ‘cause let’s be real, we’ve all had a bit of a dubstep phase at some point of our lives and Haken blend it into their music perfectly.
Overall I gotta say, this is one incredible album. It will definitely be one of my favourites for a long time to come. If you’re a fan of prog music, I strongly suggest you purchase or stream the shit out of this album and support these guys as much as possible. They definitely deserve it.
Review by Jackson Calcutt
New album “Affinity” Out Now