For those of you who aren’t familiar within up and coming British Prog band Haken, (and I assume that is the majority of you) let me enlighten you. They already have two fantastic albums under their belts (Aquarius and Visions) and third album The Mountain seems to have gained more attention as it is being released through Inside Out Records. And rightly so in my opinion, as Haken have musical prowess in abundance, and skills beyond the reach of most mortal men.
On to the song, and with serious progressive music I have an internal checklist which often gives me an indication if I’ll like what I’m about to hear, and it goes like this:
– is the track sufficiently long?
– does it have a name which I do not fully understand?
– will the instrumentalists blow me away?
Safe to say Haken’s Paeidolia gets three big ol’ ticks in each of those categories. The song starts of quietly with a nice Spanish feel (woo Phrygian Dominant music fans!), before exploding in a lush mix of distortion and percussion. Once the vocals come in there are immediate similarities with Dream Theater, which is no bad thing, but it is the note choices vocalist Ross Jennings uses which really sets it apart from their quite clear influences.
Like all good prog songs, the many transitions do not feel rushed or too sudden, Pareidolia flows majestically through its many sections and themes, intertwining monster riffs and leads from Charlie Griffiths (who I had the pleasure of being taught by occasionally at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance), with lush mellow sections.
Some more casual listeners may be put off with the song length or complexity of songs in this nature, and Pareidolia is no exception, but for me the song length isn’t a chore it is a pleasure and the complexity isn’t indulgent it is perfectly constructed.
This song had me smiling from start to finish – and that’s no mean feat considering its just shy of 11 minutes! Recurring themes are aplenty and there’s even a mandolin solo courtesy again of guitar maestro Charlie. There is just so much to say about every aspect of the song, I literally cannot describe everything that happens in this behemoth of a track.
For me this song has it all, and as a band Haken are criminally underrated. Hopefully The Mountain will see them rise side by side with some of their idols, rightfully respected at the top of their field, along side the Dream Theater’s of this world. Incidentally I’d imagine some would argue Pareidolia is more ‘Dream Theater’ than some of the prog titan’s recent releases, but that is neither here nor there.
The Mountain is released on the 2nd of September (my 21st birthday no less) through Inside Out Records, and needless to say I’m eagerly awaiting this release so I will give Haken the honour of having a 5/5 rating.