We had a listen:
After the morse-coded beginnings we get into the gristle of the album.
For example, “Initiate” has an imperative rhythm and some astonishing bass-play.
If you can manage to deal with the fact that this sounds like English rockers MUSE … perhaps with vocals by Joseph Williams … then you will surely enjoy it. Just like RUSH, this band continue to evolve… bravely.
And that’s what fine music is all about. Growing up and experimenting. This is slick and generous.
“1985” is a stand-out track. With sparkling sharp riffs and buzzing bass-notes. The rhythms are complicated without being unneccesarily avante garde. The synth is reminiscent of early 1980s Genesis. This is considerably powerful and completely convincing.
So is the haunting track “The Architect.” An inauspicious dawn heralds a scramble of irregular scrapes and dashes… before a clever interjection of harpsound.
The drums are clear and conscientiously expressive. This is probably the most “Dream Theater” of all the tracks on Affinity. Too good to waste — you will put this on your repeated listening list.
“The Endless Knot” perhaps belongs to the “high-djent” pigeon-hole (if there is such a thing)… The high-tone palm-muted guitars are far superior to anything you would expect from, say, Meshuggah. The vocals stream out like a burst of butterflies and all that instrumental-work is incredibly rich.
Where long-time fans will be puzzled, bemused and baffled is during the dub-metal Pendulum-style portions on this track. Though long-term prog-metal fans might soon be beckoned back into the song by the loquacious guitarwork and that magnificent synth-play. Good for HAKEN to try something (relatively) new… we applaud it … But the dubstep idea could be a move too far for die-hard proggers.
This is a remarkable album, rich and notable. For lovers of Dream Theater/Leprous and/or lovers of second wave 1980s prog.