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(Inside Out)
Release Date: 16th April 2016

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland


London prog rockers Haken have worked hard over the last couple of years. After receiving critical acclaim for 2013s 'The Mountain' they backed it up with a slew of touring and filled in the gap between albums with an EP of reworked older material. The hard work has paid off as a lot of the prog community have been looking forward to this album in response to a pretty well organised campaign of teasers on social media from the band.

Despite the modern world marketing techniques Haken have moved in some surprising directions with this album, including going back to the eighties. They have always had a sense of the broad sweep of influences which can be used (and accepted) under the prog banner.

'Affinity' continues the band's use of prog rock rhythms and styles mixed with a powerful metal punch but they have looked to the drum and synth sounds of the eighties which manage to give an added breadth to the sound somehow. Calling a song '1985' may be a very obvious way to make their point but it is still made beautifully with parts of it sounding like '90125' era Yes until the heavy crushing guitars remind you that time has moved on.

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All those influences are there, even the cover art looks like it is out of an eighties science fiction film. What makes this album so interesting though is that they have so successfully infused touches of eighties style with echoes of Alan Parsons and King Crimson into their sound yet they still sound like a modern prog band.

'Initiate' is jagged and intense and sounds a little like their tour with Leprous let the Norwegians flair for dramatic melody bleed over into Haken's own song writing process. 'Earthrise' is soaring melodic prog but with double kick drums from Raymond Hearne giving the sound a modern edge the old school bands never had. There's the full on prog metal of 'Lapse' which then takes a superb jazzy turn in the middle and the lush harmonies of 'Bound By Gravity' which soar onwards and upwards.


Of course this is prog so there has to be an epic and the fifteen minutes of 'The Architect' easily satisfies on that score. It comes complete with an unexpected dreamlike mid section full of inventive bass runs from Connor Green plus a guest appearance from Leprous vocalist Einar Solberg. It even includes the first growling vocals on a Haken album since their debut, although it is debatable whether that is a good thing or not.

This is an album full of invention and worth taking notice of, even in an era where there are many bands flying the prog banner and producing work of very high quality. Haken should be applauded for both their ambition and their execution and I think 'Affinity' will satisfy their fan base and make them a lot of new friends too.

Ross Jennings – Vocals
Charlie Griffiths – Guitar
Rich Henshall – guitar & keys
Diego Tejeida – keys
Conner Green – bass
Raymond Hearne – drums

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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