Haken - Restoration

(EP 2014, 34:02, Inside Out)

The tracks:
  1- Darkest Light(06:46)
  2- Earthling(07:52)
  3- Crystallised(19:24)

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Haken call this latest release an EP. When I was a lad an EP meant 4 tracks lasting a total of sixteen minutes. This one is only three minutes shorter than Yes's Close To The Edge album. Restoration is comprised of three reworked and updated songs which originally appeared on their 2007/08 self produced demo. They have been mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios. Instead of just redoing the demos they have used them as a basis to elaborate on the songs and take them in different directions.

Vocalist Ross Jennings explains; “Redoing a few of our favourite tracks from the demo is something we've talked about doing for ages and the fans have been asking for it constantly. We were also excited about working creatively with our new bassist Conner Green, so this seemed like the perfect way to welcome him aboard”. Guitarist Charlie Griffiths continues; “Merely rerecording the demo songs would have felt musically redundant and dishonest, since three of us didn't play on the original recordings. The band's sound has evolved considerably in the last few years so we used the demo tracks as a starting point and gave ourselves free reign to re-imagine them and make them relevant to who we are today. These are now the definitive versions and we couldn't be happier with how they turned out”.

The three songs are all different to each other. The first track; Darkest Light starts heavy and finishes heavy. With crunching guitars and fuzzed bass the songs drives along at a steady pace. Earthling starts with ambience and soft high vocals. This is a total contrast to the first track. The melody is one of Haken's finest. But the best has been saved for last. Crystallised starts with synths setting a bass pattern and until the band come in with some power chords leading to a complicated time signature riff. This is the proggiest track on the EP. As the song develops, there are plenty of musical moments before we get to the vocal interplay that featured so well on The Cockroach King from their last album The Mountain (2013, see review).

This is a good release and stands the band in good stead for their next full length release.

**** Dave Smith

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