Haken – “Fauna”

Perhaps this is where Haken and I part ways. While their new album “Fauna” will receive a ton of glowing reviews and be welcomed by their fans, it’s more weeds than actual flowers. The first three songs are singles released ahead of the album and each had some potential to them but each have the band fighting against things they do well. Why? I really don’t know. So my hope going in was that maybe these were outliers. Maybe the rest of the album was more like the Haken I liked in the past. Then again, this might just be how they are now. The theme is fauna so each song is based on an animal. A cool idea but how good are the songs?

“Taurus” has obnoxious djent riffing that derails it from the start. “Nightingale” start off SO good before it sounds like the band decided to ruin a good song with random riffs. “The Alphabet of Me” is pure gimmicks in the guise of a song. “Sempiternal Beings” is akin to “Nightingale” in that there is a good song that the band adds way too many random heavy riffs to. And what I mean by that is, these are cool complex riffs but lacking in hooks. They sound cool but after a while, you get lost in what the song was supposed to be. And it just continues, “Beneath the White Rainbow” has some great melodies in the verse and great potential. But Haken can’t help but djent it to the ground. The mid-section is very cool but sounds like it was shoehorned into the song to make sure it was considered “prog.”

“Island in the Clouds” is slick and synthy but sounds good…by the middle it’s no longer the same song. It’s like they forgot what they were doing. By the time “Lovebite” comes along, I am just waiting for it to fail. It’s the best track to this point but that could be more a case of being so disappointed to this point. The “oh-way-oh” parts are silly and pointless, but the chorus is awesome and more like what they are capable of. Still, it’s no where near the quality of anything off of “The Mountain” or “Affinity.” Then comes the lone epic “Elephants Never Forget” which clocks in at over 11 minutes. They are back to showcasing their love of Gentle Giant on the verse. While it’s obvious, they are good at it so I can’t be mad at that at all. It’s of course very over the top but I think with more space in a longer track, Haken don’t have to rush to get every single idea at the listener all at once. This track is the saving grace of “Fauna.” Not enough for me. “Eyes of Ebony” closes out the album. And it starts out really cool. But will they sabotage it? A bit yes. The section at 2:30 sounds like a different song. A poor segue and a very tedious part, before it almost wanders back to where it should be. And then the awkward djent riffs. Oh well.

This is a band that could use a top line producer to take them to the next level. They can PLAY. That’s never been an issue. Self indulgence is great in prog if it makes sense and doesn’t sound like a band trying to show off or just lose the listener. That’s where Haken are now. They used to let the song breath. Now they jam so much shit into each one, they lose their impact. There is too much hitting the listener over the head. But like I say, this will go down well with fans that just like complex riffs with great vocals. I prefer giving a song a chance. Do some weeding, guys. There are some actual flowers in here.

Rating: incomplete. There are good parts but too many not so good ones.
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: 3 March 2023

About Rob

I have been a fan of progressive metal and progressive rock for most of my life. My music collection is insanely large. My passion for life is music...progressive music!
This entry was posted in djent, modern prog, progressive metal and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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