Album Review : Haken – Affinity
28th April 2016, 16:30
Posted by Tristan
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Soon to be a relic of the past, the eighties have always been the unsung heroes of the past decades. Depending on the era you were born in the children of the nineties will never quite be on the same plain as those who were born in the eighties. Era of the cult film, possibly the most lucrative music has been and of course Sci-Fi. With this in mind we delve into Haken’s Affinity, exploring the other dark side of the moon with some slightly different Brits. Hang onto something!

Tracklist:

  1. Affinity
  2. Initiate
  3. 1985
  4. Lapse
  5. The Architect
  6. Earthrise
  7. Red Giant
  8. The Endless Knot
  9. Bound By Gravity

Length: 61:00
Label: Inside Out
Release date: April 29th 2016

From the off the ambience of eighties nostalgia is apparent as our intro track reads out Sci-Fi morse code in “Affinity” . Before the aptly titled “Initiate” a beautifully put together foreword. Trading their tweed trimmings of 2014’s The Mountain, this time the band incorporate more technological sounds into their pieces. Changing the overall tone of the bands sound on this outing creating a vacuum of darkened atmosphere. 

The fifteen minute space odyssey that is “The Architect” circumnavigates boredom the track sees aspects of Haken previously explored whilst venturing into uncharted territory for the band. Featuring the vocal talents of Leprous’ Einar Solberg seeing the singers often less credited shrill vocal style creating a sense of dramatic interplay between Ross Jenning’s smooth vocals. Flitting from TRON-esque soundscapes culminating in a particularly dramatic finale that would give the likes of Armageddon a run for their money.

Diego Tejeida however deserves man of the match here, retaining a sense of childlike stargazing throughout the record’s many musical wormholes. From the electro riff rock of “The Endless Knot” proves that man can hold his own against Richard Henshall and Charlie Griffiths’ boisterous guitar work. Particularly on this record seeing the band opt for an overall heavier, more technologically forward thinking sound. Yet somehow the band retain their tethering of the analogue. Perhaps created through tongue in cheek moments like the standing ovation “1985”, potential to be the band’s best work to date, encompassing eighties pop chords with the more lofty Progressive twang and featuring Jenning’s absolutely monstrous hooks which, with a nine minute tag keeps the listener entertained and smiling ear to ear for its entirety.

Though it’s not all about looking for the event horizon softer moments lie on the record “Red Giant” for example takes the lyrical direction into the region of recolonisation and with it sees Jennings’ vocals soothing perfectly. Not to mention Bogren once again outdid himself with Affinity’s mixing. Never being overpowered out of place each instrument sits in its place right up until the finale “Bound By Gravity” seeing the band return slowly into Earth’s atmosphere.

At times hitting warp speed, others blissfully gliding through time and space, Affinity is a record absolutely chock full of character. After the rather more serious The Mountain the sense of tongue in cheek the band are known for shines through just the right amount here. Celebrating their heritage whilst introducing modern day techniques much like a musical Galaxy Quest, replacing Allen and Rickman are our heroes from another nebula. Emerging across the universe, bolder, wiser and altogether infinitely better Affinity is a Progressive Metal heads dream come true. Set phasers to stun indeed.

 

Ironically surging forward using instruments of the past Haken have crafted a fantastic, utterly unique love letter to the eighties. Gleefully taking the listener with them as they jump into the void.

If you like what you read / heard then you can pick up the brand new album here!