Vector is the fifth studio album of the English progressive metal band Haken and is their heaviest album by far. Furthermore it is a concept album based around an inmate in a mental hospital and the band has drawn inspiration for this concept from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, A Clockwork Orange and maybe even from Queensryche's masterpiece Operation MIndcrime...
This amazing album kicks off with a very weird track called Clear, a two minutes church organ intro that is not really representative for the rest of the album, in fact, to me Clear is utterly redundant. Then Vector really starts with the first single of the album called The Good Doctor, a very impressive up-tempo heavy song filled with great riffs and melodies. Follow up, Puzzle Box, the second single, by the way, is a complex song, clocking over seven minutes, and here drummer Raymond Hearne and vocalist Ross Jennings really shine, making this a real killer song in the veins of Primus and a modern version of Gentle Giant. Next up is the longest track of the album called Veil, clocking over twelve minutes; a very heavy, complex progressive metal gem, which kind of reminds me of Dream Theater, another prog metal super band. After this amazing prog metal roller coaster the listener is treated to the absolute highlight of this album, being the instrumental song called Nil By Mouth. This track is even more complex and heavier than Veil, as Nil By Mouth is aggressive, fast, melodic and utterly awesome with exceptional brutal guitar riffs and solos by Charlie Griffiths; can it get any better than this? No, actually, that is sheer impossible, as the last two songs, Host and A Cell Divides, are also great musical experiences, but not of the high level of Nil By Mouth. Host even starts almost jazzy with a trumpet solo before it evolves into a ballad-like prog song, while the last track called A Cell Divides is “funky” with lots of melody and power metal characteristics.
Conclusion: Vector is Haken's heaviest album by far, but it also features great melodies and instrumental highlights, making this album one of the best prog metal albums I have heard this year. Highly recommended, play it loud if you can!!!!!
**** Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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