When we wrote about the HAKEN Affinity album [in 2016] we thought it was: “Slick and generous [and] conscientiously expressive…” We’d seen the young band playing live at the first HRH PROG Festival and enjoyed their master-brew of intoxicating sounds and the “Beautiful and unifying” album titled “The Mountain”. Since then, the London-based progressive metal band have re-issued the first album Aquarius and second Visions, but the catalog lacks a “live” offering.
The transcript of their tenth anniversary concert recorded on April 13, 2017, at the legendary Melkweg — on the Amsterdam stop of their world tour — provides the first publicly available live document for fans. The concert also records the most important moments in their unique prog-rock songbook. The result is their first ever live album titled ‘L-1VE’ (Live in Amsterdam 2017) released today via InsideOutMusic.
The live audio was mixed by Neal Morse & Winery Dogs alumni Jerry Guidroz and artwork completed by long-time collaborators Blacklake.
The band was formed in 2007 by To-Mera guitarist and keyboardist Richard Henshall and school friends Ross Jennings (vocals) and Matthew Marshall (guitar). Guitar is now performed by Charles Griffiths [ Marshall left in 2008 ] with Diego Tejeida on keys, Raymond Hearne on drums and Corner Green on bass.
Songs such as “The Endless Knot” [track 10] are full of creative guitar licks, ever-locomoting bass-play and astonishing rhythms.The voices are clear and expressive, and everything has a wonderful, groovy atmosphere that’s reminiscent of Jem Godfrey’s Frost* — albeit provided with a spattering of dub-step tokens that don’t seem at all out of place.
“In Memoriam” [track 2 – shared below] has an Olympian sense of grandeur, swirls of colour, and entertaining vocal acrobatics and reminds us of the complexity and sophistication that was found in push-bands of the 1970s like the Shulman brothers project, Gentle Giant.
Haken tell us: “We’re currently getting our teeth stuck into the writing process for Album 5 and great ideas are forming and evolving as we speak. It’s still early days but there is a sense among us that Haken may take a darker path with this one. However, the playing field is still wide open and the direction this record takes could alter at any point. One thing is certain: We will endeavour to stick to our mandate of strong melodies and killer riffs…”
‘L-1VE’ is available as a 2CD/2DVD Digipak package & as digital audio download. The DVD includes 4 bonus tracks filmed at ProgPower USA 2016 that also includes Mike Portnoy’s cameo appearance on gong, as well as all of the official videos from the ‘Affinity’ album. The main show and the bonus material on the DVD are also mixed in 5.1 surround sound.
L-1VE (Live in Amsterdam 2017)
Out: 22 Jun 2018