Haken is a British Progressive Rock/Metal band formed in London in 2007 by To-Mera guitarist and keyboardist Richard Henshall and two of his school friends, Ross Jennings and Matthew Marshall. The band's albums have been met with critical acclaim, and they've achieved a high level of popularity within the Prog community.
A lot of their songs feature an intense level of instrumental and vocal virtuosity, philosophical lyrics, longer song lengths, and a generally quirky attitude. They gathered some attention to themselves with the help of their video for "Cockroach King", which features a muppet-themed parody of Bohemian Rhapsody's famous music video. They've garnered the respect of a few of the larger names in the Prog community, including Jordan Rudess and Mike Portnoy, who have both praised their music. The orchestral tribute group Symphonic Theater of Dreams is also currently making a symphonic tribute album to the band.
In 2014, the band released an EP titled Restoration containing updates of a select few songs from their demo, Enter the Fifth Dimension. Their fifth full studio album, Vector, was released on October 26, 2018.
- Enter the 5th Dimension (2008 - Demo)
- Aquarius (2010)
- Visions (2011)
- The Mountain (2013)
- Restoration (2014 - EP)
- Affinity (2016)
- Vector (2018)
- Ross Jennings - lead vocals (2007-)
- Richard Henshall - guitars and keyboards (2007-)
- Raymond Hearne - drums, tuba (2007-)
- Charles Griffiths - guitars (2008-)
- Diego Tejeida - keyboards (2008-)
- Conner Green - bass (2014-)
- Thomas MacLean - bass (2007-2013)
- Matthew Marshall - guitar (2007-2008)
- Peter Jones - keyboards (2007-2008)
Haken provides examples of the following tropes:
- A Cappella: Used in parts of "Cockroach King", the opening of "Because It's There", and the half-way point of "Crystallised".
- Affectionate Parody: The video for "Cockroach King" is one of the video for "Bohemian Rhapsody".
- Album Title Drop: Done once in every album but Restoration.
- Aquarius is mentioned in "Aquarium".
- Visions appears in, well, "Visions".
- The Mountain is a line from "Falling Back to Earth".
- Affinity appears in the lyrics to "The Architect" in several places, as well as the title of the opening instrumental "affinity.exe".
- Vector appears on a line from "A Cell Divides".
- Apocalypse How: Aquarius has a variation of a Type 4. It ends with the world being flooded and presumably all land-based-life dying out, but humanity living on as mermaids.
- Bittersweet Ending: Aquarius ends with the world being flooded and the mermaid dying to provide the solution, but humanity manages to live on as mermaids, with the implication being that the original mermaid was reincarnated.
- Book-Ends: Visions ends with the main character discovering that the person who killed him and has been haunting him his entire life is himself from the past. Which occurred in the second track, "Nocturnal Conspiracy".
- Concept Album: Aquarius and Visions.
- Continuity Nod: The melody from "The Path" is repeated throughout The Mountain.
- Downer Ending: Visions.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Ross occasionally makes use of death growls on the demo and Aquarius. When the growls briefly returned for a verse of "The Architect", they were done by a guest vocalist (although Ross still does them live).
- Epic Instrumental Opener: Used VERY frequently, especially in their longer songs.
- Epic Rocking: The average length of their songs currently stands at 8:44. Each album has several songs that hit above the 10-minute mark:
- Enter the 5th Dimension has "Blind" (11:40), "Sleeping Through the Wake" (12:07), and "Snow" (13:11).
- Aquarius has "The Point of No Return" (11:27), "Streams" (10:14), "Aquarium" (10:40), and "Celestial Exilir" (16:56).
- Visions has "Nocturnal Conspiracy" (13:08) and "Visions" (22:25).
- The Mountain has "Falling Back to Earth"" (11:51) and "Pareidolia" (10:51).
- Restoration has "Crystallised" (19:22)
- Affinity only has "The Architect" (15:40) above ten minutes, but "1985" (9:09) and "Bound By Gravity" (9:29) come close.
- Vector has "Veil" (12:35)
- There's also the 22-minute "Aquamedley" on their live album, which combines parts of 6 of the seven songs on their debut album into one epic track.
- Fading into the Next Song: Aquarius and Visions, naturally, being Rock Operas. The Mountain also has "The Path" fading into "Atlas Stone".
- Icarus Allusion: "Falling Back to Earth".
- Instrumentals: "Premonition", "Portals", "Nil by Mouth", and the bonus track "The Path Unbeaten".
- Lighter and Softer: The Mountain is a subdued version of this. It still has quite a few heavy songs, but as a whole the album is lighter than the last two.
- Lonely Piano Piece: "As Death Embraces".
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Visions and Aquarius are usually around a 7 or 8, The Mountain is around a 6 or 7, with a few songs hitting 8. Some songs can get as heavy as 9 (i.e. the growled parts of Aquarius and the heavier parts of "Falling Back to Earth"), or as low as a 1 ("As Death Embraces").
- Mind Screw: Visions.
- Murder Ballad: "Nocturnal Conspiracy" and "Visions" have shades of this.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: They've incorporated elements of Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock, Folk, Jazz, Film Scores, A Cappella, and Glitch Hop in their music. Sometimes within one song.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: The mermaid in Aquarius is a mutant.
- Progressive Metal
- Progressive Rock
- Rock Opera: The band has two to this date:
- Aquarius is about a fisherman who discovers a mermaid, sells it to the local carnival, and eventually discovers that her blood is the only thing that can save them from a global flood.
- Visions is about a young boy who has a vision of his own death, and spends the rest of his life trying to avoid his death and kill the man responsible for it.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Visions
- Soprano and Gravel: Ross Jennings provides a one-man version of this on Aquarius and the demo Enter the 5th Dimension, going from his usual tenor to death growls at the drop of a hat.
- Spoken Word in Music: Used at the beginning of the song "Visions".
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "As Death Embraces" and "The Path", which are mostly just piano and vocals.
- Tomato in the Mirror: The protagonist of Visions turns out to be the killer that haunted his entire life.
- 20 Minutes into the Future: Aquarius is set sometime towards the end of the 22nd century.
- Uncommon Time