Restoration (Vinyl/CD)

SKU: 0506941
Label:
Inside Out Music
Add to wishlist 

"It has been an eventful year or so in the world of Haken. In September 2013, the sextet released what can only be described as a masterpiece of progressive music in the form of their third album, the magnificent ‘The Mountain’. This album received almost universal critical acclaim upon its release and even led to interest from the likes of Mike Portnoy (Flying Colors, Transatlantic) and Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess. In the case of the former, it led to an invitation to play the inaugural ‘Progressive Nation At Sea’, but thanks to both ringing endorsements, the door to the American market has opened more widely of late. And if that wasn’t enough, Haken recently received no less than three nominations in the Progressive Music Awards, quite an achievement for a band so relatively young.

However, with the smooth, also comes the rough and almost immediately following the release of this ‘breakthrough’ album, bassist Tom MacLean announced his departure from Haken. An apparently amicable split, it was nevertheless a hurdle that had to be overcome at a point when the largest wave of the band’s career was about to be crested. An international audition invitation was extended and, following an extensive search, a young American by the name of Conner Green was assimilated into the Haken collective. Welcome sir!

In many ways, ‘Restoration’ a three-track EP is as much a bedding-in of their new colleague as it is an opportunity to maintain the momentum created by ‘The Mountain’ whilst a new full-length album is brought to life. That said, to consider ‘Restoration’ a stop-gap is disingenuous in the extreme. It may only contain three tracks, but when the three tracks last well over half an hour and sound this good, who cares?

The three compositions that make up this EP are very loosely based on tracks from the bands 2007/08 demo days, thoroughly re-envisioned, re-worked and re-produced in order to reflect the changing personnel and the experience gained since the demos were originally written. The result is, frankly, stunning.

Whilst it took me a good many spins and many hours of effort to get fully submerged into the world of ‘The Mountain’, the music on ‘Restoration’ is much more immediate to these ears. No less complex and challenging of course, but for some reason, the music has ‘clicked’ much more quickly here.

The EP opens up with ‘Darkest Light’, (Official video below) an energetic track that ably demonstrates the up-tempo and powerful side of Haken well. It’s an agile composition too that alters pace and timing signatures seemingly at will and pulls in influences from everyone from Dream Theater to Meshuggah. The latter is primarily due to the impressive combination of Ray Hearne’s powerful drumming, the chunky guitar tones courtesy of Charlie Griffiths and Richard Henshall and Green’s intricate bass work. Importantly however, the song is never derivative and contains everything you now expect from a band at the height of their powers. It’s a piece of music that oozes class but also offers that touch of playful cheekiness that has become synonymous with the Haken sound.

‘Earthlings’ is a completely different proposition entirely. For my money, its closest reference point would be ‘Deathless’ from ‘Visions’ in so far as it is a much more introspective track with real atmosphere and a quiet, brooding intensity that is utterly beguiling. The melodies are much more immediate, much more pronounced and the whole thing builds beautifully and stubbornly towards a fulfilling climax that pushes all the right buttons.

The undisputed star of the show however, is ‘Crystallised’. At over 19 minutes, it offers a return of the Haken ‘epic’, joining the likes of ‘Visions’ and ‘Celestial Elixir’ in an already formidable armoury. If anything, ‘Crystallised’ may be even better than the aforementioned, thereby easily taking its place among the very best that Haken has ever created.

First and foremost, the sheer ambition is staggering. The composition begins unassumingly enough but quickly reveals a more grandiose underbelly thanks to some lush orchestral arrangements. From then on, the gloves well and truly come off and Haken take us on a wondrous journey full of twists and turns, light and shade, lengthy and dextrous instrumental segments and gorgeous melodies that stay with you long after the music has ended.

There are echoes of those Gentle Giant influences and nods towards ‘Cockroach King’ et al in some of the a capella segments as well as hints of ‘Pareidolia’ at other times, thanks to that by now familiar delivery of vocalist Ross Jennings. Never once do the extended instrumental passages, led by the flamboyant keys of Diego Tejeida feel contrived or out of place; they are full of those classic progressive overindulgences, further reinforcing the importance of the likes of Yes, early Genesis and many others, but crucially, they fit in with the core of the composition and seamlessly segue from one to another perfectly.

And then, everything comes together in what I can only describe as a stunningly epic finale, the kind where the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end and you find yourself grinning from ear to ear, enveloped in a musical utopia. The melodies are so uplifting and gorgeous that, coupled with the grandiose return of the orchestral embellishments, mere words find it hard to adequately express just how good it makes you feel.

The bones of these songs may have been written many years ago in the band’s infancy. However, they have been brought back to life in the most brilliant way possible; taking everything that’s been good about the band in recent years and applying them to their early past to create something truly special. I only wish that ‘Restoration’ was six, seven or eight songs long. Mind you, if it were, I think I might have fainted from bliss before reaching the conclusion." - Man Of Much Metal blog

There are no review yet. Be the first!

Product Review

You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • Gorgeous remastered edition featuring a killer bonus track - a 19 minute live version of "Homage To The God Of Light", recorded at the Marquee Club in 1974.
    $12.00
  • "A Hauntingly Beautiful and Dark Sophomore Effort. Get it before the darkness comes...Anais Nin said "we don't see things as they are, we see them as we are".That is the absolute truth - in life and in great art, literature, and music. It speaks to you in a deeply personal way. The artist's specific intent, the story behind the story, matters not. What does matter is that when you interact with what the artist has wrought, you feel something. You feel as if it was created especially for you, about you, your life, your life experience. It speaks to you. It makes you stop in your tracks and forces you pay attention. It touches something deep in your soul."The Final Breath Before November" is that album. Edison's Children is that artist. Artists is more accurate. This masterwork showcases vocalists and multi-instrumentalists and Eric Blackwood and Pete Trewavas, drummer Henry Rogers, and backing vocalist Wendy Farrell-Pastore, who also designed the release's haunting artwork. The album was mixed by a virtual Who's Who of Progressive Rock including King Crimson's Jakko Jakszyk, Marillion's Mike Hunter, It Bites' John Mitchell, Robin Boult, and Pete Trewavas.Yes. It is a ghost story. But, that is the most simplistic view of what it is.It is a love story. It illustrates the power of love. It drives us to do crazy things. It endures after death. It endures across time and space. It reminds us that people never really leave you. They linger in the ether, in your heart, in your mind. Their essence stays behind to watch over you.It is also a cautionary tale. It is a warning not to act harshly or rashly. Don't do things that you can not come back from. Don't make mistakes you can not fix. Once things have been done (or said), you can never take them back. You can never get back to the place where you once were. You can never go home again. No matter how much you want to. No matter how hard you try. You just can't.It is a reminder that we have to let go of the pain, hurt, anger, regret and whatever else we have pent up inside ourselves. If we don't let go of all those things, we become stuck and can't move on. We remain in the same place all of our lives. The same physical place. The same emotional place. The same spiritual place. Stuck. Never growing. Never changing. Never becoming who or what we were supposed to be. We remain a shadow of ourselves, forever trapped in a darkness of our own making.It is a reminder that we have to face our demons. They will come at us over and over again until we do. If we don't, they will be back and they will try to pull us down to even darker places. Over and over again. We will be stuck in the mire for our lifetime, for eternity if we don't.What this album says to me is that love is a powerful thing. The most powerful thing in the Universe. But, in the end, you have to let go of those you love. People change. People die. Relationships change. Relationships end. If you keep holding onto someone who is no longer with you, then you can't move on. Not until you let go. You can't be truly happy. You can't feel the sunshine. You can't walk into the light. You destined to live in a hell (or a purgatory) of your own creation. Unless you let go." - ProgArchives.com
    $12.00
  • "An often misunderstood and underrated album, 1986's Seventh Star was never intended to be a Black Sabbath release, as the band had effectively broken up following its disastrous 1984 tour in support of career low point Born Again. Instead, Seventh Star was conceived as guitarist Tony Iommi's first solo project, and it was only record company pressure that forced him to resurrect his longtime band's moniker at the last minute. With this in mind, one can better appreciate both the record's more blues-based, often un-Sabbath-like songwriting and the contributions made by journeyman singer Glenn Hughes (ex-Trapeze, Deep Purple, etc.), whose incredibly emotive and soulful vocal style was completely at odds with the deadpan delivery of Sabbath's most recognizable singer, Ozzy Osbourne (a discrepancy that would spell his quick exit when the necessary classics were wheeled out for the ensuing world tour). Still, within the unique circumstances of Seventh Star's creation, Hughes' fiery tunefulness made aggressive hard rockers like "In for the Kill," "Turn to Stone," and "Danger Zone" uncommonly catchy, and gorgeous ballads such as "Angry Heart/In Memory..." and "No Stranger to Love" all the more heart-rending. Tellingly, his efforts fell resoundingly flat on the bluesy aimlessness of "Heart Like a Wheel" and the gothic menace of the title track, making it possible for keener observers to foresee the troubles ahead. Yet, in light of the even more traumatic difficulties that preceded it, Seventh Star -- for all its uncharacteristic sonic qualities -- actually represents the turning of a corner for Black Sabbath's lengthy career, which steadily regained momentum in the years that followed." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • Caamora is a new musical collaboration between Pendragon/Arena keyboardist Clive Nolan and Polish vocalist Agnieszka Swita. The results have been manifested in an all-star neo-progressive rock opera based on the H. Rider Haggard adventure novel "She". This is a 2 CD set featuring Clive Noland and Agnieszaka Swita on vocals as well as Alan Reed (Pallas) and Christina Booth (Magenta). Musicians on the album include Hugh McDowell (ELO), Clive Nolan, Mark Westwood (Martin Orford Band), John Jowitt (IQ), ao. This is the limited edition digipak with one bonus track.
    $20.00
  • Excellent US neoprog that will appeal to fans of Marillion and Iluvatar.
    $3.00
  • "In 1977 ZAUBER recorded an album to be named "Phoenix" but never got the opportunity to release it until some 15 years later. ZAUBER play a highly involved progressive rock with stong allusions to that of ELP while maintaining a highly original and classic Italian influence. One of the most immediately recognizable "Zauber'isms" is the voice of Liliana Bodini who brings a new dimension forward in their music (she has a great voice). Instumentation is varied with flute, moog, mellotron, electric piano, triangle, organ etc. Songs are performed with high instumentation skill and is truely a wonderful little album. Album also contains 2 bonus songs recorded in 1991 to mark the re-formation of ZAUBER." - ProgArchives
    $17.00
  • "Despite the rumors, pre-fusion acid jazz-rock is alive and well, living it up in Southern California. Psicomagia is the joint forces of leading members of noted prog and stoner-rock outfits Astra and Radio Moscow. The band serves up a mixture of the same essence that Soft Machine, Tony Williams Lifetime, and Magma pioneered during that magical period just seconds before progressive electric jazz was grabbed by the institutional jazz scene. A formula thought lost until this day, when seemingly out of the blue, the relentless force of Psicomagia appeared. Spearheaded by multi-instrumentalist and producer Brian Ellis' roaring saxophone, constantly interplaying Tyler Daughn's franticly screaming organs and synthesizers, the soul of Psicomagia is in the endlessly permutated bursts of energy of the two. The relentless heart, however, is kept going by drummer Paul Marrow (Radio Moscow), who carves out a constantly brooding and shifting rhythmic base along with the heavy, travelling bass of Trevor Mast. Together they balance a line between an insanely tight and rhythmic notion of progress, as well as transgressing each instrument's carved path on this cataclysmic journey of musical events. Imagine, on top of that, two poets, repeating obscured mantras, rumbling bells and gongs, and you're getting closer to playing your own Jodorowsky-does-jazz movie playing in your head via Psicomagia. If Psicomagia sounds like a thing of the past, it's simply because they have inherited a unique quality lost in music today: grabbing onto a wide array of genres, and permuting them into their own distinct musical landscape. "
    $23.00
  • Brilliant classically influenced Italian prog album. Pierrot Lunaire was a trio led by keyboardist Arturo Stalteri.  Delicate music that easily fits into the "Rock Progressivo Italiano" movement.  One of the great ones.
    $15.00
  • Second album from DIM finds them leaving Metal Blade and finding a more appropriate home in Napalm Records. This Spanish band is very much cut from the cloth of Epica and After Forever. In fact the production team is Sascha Paeth and ex-Epica's Ad Sluijter. Mark Jansen of Epica also guitars. With Paeth at the controls expect nothing less than a huge symphonic sound and he delivers. While I heard more of a Within Temptation sound on their debut, this one really emphasizes the "beauty and the beast" element driving the connection to Epica home. Not original at all but well done for the genre.
    $12.00
  • "Dawn of a New Era is the third album by the female-fronted French Progressive/Melodic Metal band Venturia, and finds them returning after a couple personnel changes. In 2009, the band parted with singer Mark Ferreira for personal reasons, with their guitarist, Charly Sahona, taking on the role of the lead male vocalist. Then in 2010, Venturia lost former drummer Diego Rapacchietti and replaced him with Frederic Marchal, a long-term friend of the band. In this album, Venturia have also developed their style less towards complicated arrangements and more towards the melodies. There are still elements of the previous albums with the multi-layered vocals, technical playing, and synth-y keyboard sound, and there are still subtle uses of compound time signatures, but they have really toned down on the complicated instrumentals and compound rhythms. For this reason I am sure some will complain that the band is leaning more towards a commercial sound, with others praising them for being more accessible. In any case, I will say that Venturia are not your typical female-fronted metal band. They combine hooky-melodies with technical playing and a progressive background, trading off between female and male vocals as well as full vocal harmonies, technical heavy guitars, and a rich, atmospheric keyboard background." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $14.00
  • "he power struggle within Van Halen was often painted as David Lee Roth's ego running out of control -- a theory that was easy enough to believe given his outsized charisma -- but in retrospect, it seems evident that Eddie Van Halen wanted respect to go along with his gargantuan fame, and Roth wasn't willing to play. Bizarrely enough, Sammy Hagar -- the former Montrose lead singer who had carved out a successful solo career -- was ready to play, possibly because the Red Rocker was never afraid of being earnest, nor was he afraid of synthesizers, for that matter. There was always the lingering suspicion that, yes, Sammy truly couldn't drive 55, and that's why he wrote the song, and that kind of forthright rocking is evident on the strident anthems of 5150. From the moment the album opens with the crashing "Good Enough," it's clearly the work of the same band -- it's hard to mistake Eddie's guitars, just as it's hard to mistake Alex and Michael Anthony's pulse, or Michael's harmonies -- but the music feels decidedly different. Where Diamond Dave would have strutted through the song with his tongue firmly in cheek, Hagar plays it right down the middle, never winking, never joking. Even when he takes a stab at humor on the closing "Inside" -- joshing around about why the guys chose him as a replacement -- it never feels funny, probably because, unlike Dave, he's not a born comedian. Then again, 5150 wasn't really intended to be funny; it was intended to be a serious album, spiked by a few relentless metallic rockers like "Get Up," but functioning more as a vehicle to showcase Van Halen's -- particularly the guitarist's -- increasing growth and maturity. There are plenty of power ballads, in "Why Can't This Be Love" and "Love Walks In," there's a soaring anthem of inspiration in "Dreams," and even the straight-up rocker "Best of Both Worlds" is tighter and leaner than the gonzo excursions of "Panama" and "Hot for Teacher." And that's where Hagar comes in: Diamond Dave didn't have much patience for plainspoken lyrics or crafting songs, but Sammy does and he brings a previously unheard sense of discipline to the writing on 5150. Not that Hagar is a craftsman like Randy Newman, but he's helped push Van Halen into a dedication on writing full-fledged songs, something that often seemed an afterthought in the original lineup. And so Van Hagar was a bit of an odd mix -- a party band and a party guy, slowly veering into a bourgeois concept of respectability, something that eventually sunk the band -- but on 5150 it worked because they had the songs and the desire to party, so those good intentions and slow tunes don't slow the album down; they give it variety and help make the album a pretty impressive opening act for Van Halen Mach II." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • No sophomore slump for this Austrian band. Stylistically it's still a bit of a balancing act between the power and prog side of metal with a definite leaning towards power. The symphonic element seems to have been amped up a bit lending comparisons to Kamelot and Sonata Arctica. Once again Georg Neuhauser's vocals are a standout (at least for my taste). He has a great way of communicating emotions elevating the music beyond the standard prog/power fare.
    $12.00
  • Well Steve is done resucitating the Genesis catalogue and back to concentrating on fresh solo material.  The new album Wolflight is a bit of a loose concept album and I find it to be one of his strongest releases in years.  The album is filled with lots of guests (including Chris Squire) contributing exotic instruments to the mix adding an old world sound.  Steve's trademark sound is locked into place so if you are looking for the wailing guitar, liquid runs and acoustic delicacy you won't be disappointed.  His vocals has never been my favorite part of a Steve Hackett album but either I've mellowed in age or his voice has - not sure which.  Regardless it fits the music just fine.  Classic Hackett and nothing less.  BUY OR DIE!Please note this is the US edition that arrives in a digipak.  Its a 2 disc set.  Disc 1 is the standard CD.  Disc 2 is actually a Blu-ray.  Tontent includes hi-res stereo and 5.1 mix of the album, 2 bonus tracks not on the standard CD (in hi-res no less!), and extensive interview footage with Steve Hackett.
    $14.00
  • "Released on 16/11/09. CD1 – Thunder Steel. This 1988 album takes everything that was metal at the time and is a classic combining thrashing guitars and pounding percussion indicative of the underground thrash movement of the time. It has more riffs than Anthrax and undertones of the hair metal that was riding the charts at that time. It is a classic and has everything that makes metal great! CD2 – The Privilege Of Power. This 1990 album saw the band augment their state-of-the-art heavy metal sound with horns, courtesy of the Brecker Brothers and Tower Of Power. It also features guest vocals by Joe Lynn turner (rainbow). The album employs 10 complex tracks that work as a single unit."
    $16.00