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Music / Haken

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Top Row: Charlie Griffiths, Diego Tejeida, Raymond Hearne; Middle Row: Conner Green and Richard Henshall; Bottom Row: Ross Jennings

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 sixth full studio album, Virus, will be released on July 24, 2020.


  • Enter the 5th Dimension (2008 - Demo)
  • Aquarius (2010)
  • Visions (2011)
  • The Mountain (2013)
  • Restoration (2014 - EP)
  • Affinity (2016)
  • Vector (2018)
  • Virus (2020)

Current Members:

  • 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-)


Former Members:

  • 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".
    • Virus has its title dropped in "Carousel".
  • 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.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Ectobius Rex", the last part of the "Messiah Complex" suite from Virus. Ectobius is a genus of cockroaches, and "rex" is Latin for "king". Thus, "Ectobius Rex" translates to "Cockroach King" - which is appropriate, given that it (and the album as a whole) features prominent Call Backs to that song.
  • 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, as well as companion albums Vector and Virus.
  • Continuity Nod: The melody from "The Path" is repeated throughout The Mountain. "Messiah Complex" contains many nods to previous songs on Virus and Vector, as well as to "Cockroach King" (off The Mountain).
  • Darker and Edgier: After their metal elements were toned down for The Mountain and Affinity, Vector and Virus brought them back in force.
  • Downer Ending: Visions.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Ross occasionally makes use of death growls on the demo and Aquarius. All of their subsequent studio releases have Ross doing exclusively clean vocals - when the growls briefly returned for a verse of "The Architect", they were done by guest vocalist Einar Solberg (Leprous), 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)
    • Virus has "Carousel" (10:29) and the 5 part "Messiah Complex" suite, which clocks in at 17 minutes total.
    • 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", and Virus also has "The Strain" into "Canary Yellow".
  • 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: Depending on the release. Aquarius, Visions, Vector, and Virus are their more metal releases, while The Mountain, Restoration, and Affinity lean a little more toward Progressive Rock (although they are not without their share of heavy songs).
  • 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.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Ross does most of his backing vocals in the studio. Live, the rest of the band will fill in.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Visions reveals that the boy's killer is himself from the past.
  • 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".
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Diego has a few lines of lead vocals on "Pareidolia". In a downplayed example, the entire band performs backing vocals when playing live that Ross does alone in the studio.
  • 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: As expected from a Progressive Rock/Progressive Metal group.

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