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Haken: L-1VE

British progressive metal act Haken have been one of the darlings of the scene since their arrival in 2010 with the album Aquarius, and now after four excellent studio albums (soon to be five with the soon to be released Vector) the band have unleashed their first live album, L-1VE, recorded on April 13, 2017, at the Melkweg in Amsterdam during their 10th anniversary tour that same year. Featuring songs drawn mostly from their last two albums Affinity and The Mountain, but also dipping even further back, this live set is a thrilling cross examination of all that is Haken, performed spectacularly by the band in front of a loving audience.

Complete with jaw dropping musical passages, wonderful vocals, heavy riffs, and impeccable melodies at every turn, L-1VE is a classic live album that is either a special treat for the longtime Haken fan or a feast for someone who has yet to take the journey into the bands music. "1985" just crackles with metal fury, proggy atmosphere, and pop melodies, while "Aquamedley" pulls together an assortment of tracks from the bands debut album Aquarius into a nice neat package. Standouts from The Mountain are here in a big way, from "As Death Embraces", to "Atlas Stone", "In Memoriam", and "Cockroach King", vocalist Ross Jennings showing once again why he is one of the better singer in prog/metal today. Guitar & keyboard solos abound throughout, but all played tastefully and majestically by this extremely talented band- no endless noodling here!

Alongside Fates Warning's awesome Live Over Europe, L-1VE is easily one of the best progressive metal live albums I've heard here in 2018, and if you get the deluxe set you'll also get a DVD with additional video material not included in the standalone CD edition. Either way it's a win-win for fans!

Track Listing
01. affinity.exe/Initiate (Live in Amsterdam)
02. In Memoriam (Live in Amsterdam)
03. 1985 (Live in Amsterdam)
04. Red Giant (Live in Amsterdam)
05. Aquamedley (Live in Amsterdam)
06. As Death Embraces (Live in Amsterdam)
07. Atlas Stone (Live in Amsterdam)
08. Cockroach King (Live in Amsterdam)
09. The Architect (Live in Amsterdam)
10. The Endless Knot (Live in Amsterdam)
11. Visions (Live in Amsterdam)

Added: September 5th 2018
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 897
Language: english

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Haken: L-1VE
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2018-09-06 04:43:42
My Score:

Since I first heard the heavy prog rock of British band Haken I knew they were something special. Their first release Aquarius in 2010 was a groundbreaking achievement taking a myriad of influences like Rush and Kansas and putting a unique, sometimes eclectic spin on their complex and heavy progressive rock. The band followed up Aquarius with Visions (2011), The Mountain (2013) and Affinity (2017).

This concert video was filmed in Amsterdam on April 12, 2017 during the band’s Affinity tour. The entire show is included as well as a second DVD of the band’s ProgPower performance from 2016. To put it succinctly, this is a fantastic performance. This band is so tight and the grooves are simply sublime. Haken’s music has always been a little hard to pigeonhole and here it is no different with selections taken across their discography. Prog, metal, jazz, avant-garde, this band supplies a little of everything under their quirky brand of progressive rock.

The concert begins with “Affinity.exe/Initiate” featuring great riffs and a spot on vocal arrangement. The mellower sections lend well to Haken’s sense of light and shade and when the band breaks down into heaviness it is that much more dramatic. Really cool keyboard and guitar interaction punctuate the prog rock workouts of “1985”, taken from the Affinity album. The keytar solo is a feast for the eyes and ears. Outstanding musicianship and high drama makes “Atlas Stone” an excellent choice and of course what recent Haken concert wouldn’t include “Cockroach King”, featuring one of their most imaginative vocal arrangements as well as some ripping solos and jazz tinged arrangements. Another great track is “The Architect” emphasizing the dark and moody side of the band. The filming and light show are very well done as all the band members are touched upon. It’s quite an intimate setting and the energy is almost palpable.

On the second DVD four tracks are taken from the band’s ProgPower appearance in 2016. “Falling Back To Earth” has all the quirkiness and masterful musicianship we have come to expect as the band puts in a fabulous and innovative performance. The vocal arrangement is an absolute highlight. One of the catchiest songs from either concert has to be “Earthrise” featuring great guitar work and superb lead vocals. The guitar and keyboard workouts in “Pareidolia” are equally as captivating.

Really, every song is a winner as Haken look and sound great live. A very professional production from one of the best bands in progressive music today.

An Inside Out Music release.

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