Haken - Affinity

(CD 2016, 61:27, Inside Out Music)

The tracks:
  1- Affinity.exe(1:24)
  2- Initiate(4:16)
  3- 1985(9:09)
  4- Lapse(4:44)
  5- The Architect(15:40)
  6- Earthrise(4:48)
  7- Red Giant(6:06)
  8- The Endless Knot(5:50)
  9- Bound By Gravity(9:29)

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Affinity is 4th album of the British band Haken. And it is by far their best effort so far - man, this is a good album - that has been playing overtime in my CD player!!!

After the short intro track Affinity.exe, Haken sets the tone and the trend for this amazing album with the up tempo, heavy but also atmospheric Initiate. Follow up 1985, which clocks just over 9 minutes, is almost a tribute to the rock music of the eighties, featuring musical references to Yes, Gentle Giant and The Alan Parsons Project, mixed with modern prog metal riffs and a very addictive typical Haken chorus. The Architect, by far the heaviest track on the album (over 15 minutes) is another Haken milestone, filled with metal, prog metal and electronic elements, but unfortunately also with horrible grunting harsh “vocals” from singer Solberg from the band Leprous. Red Giant is probably the most experimental song on the album and is certainly one you need to listen to a couple of times, before you can really appreciate it. Follow up The Endless Knot is again a masterpiece and kicks off with a guitar and keyboard intro before it evolves into a funky, up tempo guitar crasher; just listen to the awesome guitar riffs, solo and melodies! The album ends with Bound By Gravity, the third epic track of the CD, and this one is a rather “soft” song, or maybe I should call it a prog ballad. A stand out track, very emotional, with lots of atmosphere and the vocal performance of Ross Jennings on this song is almost unbelievable as it gives me goose bumps every time I listen to this elegant and stately closing number of this amazing album. I almost forgot to mention Lapse (nice guitar solo) and Earthrise (short, rather poppy song) but I really was almost blown away when I first heard this album.

Affinity is Haken's most impressive album and I am sure that it will end very high in my personal top 10 album list of 2016. Haken is probably one of the best and promising prog metal bands nowadays and a must for lovers of great rock music; very highly recommended!!!

***** Martien Koolen (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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