Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

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Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Man Of Much Metal » Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:50 am

Hi Everyone,

I'm told to keep posting my reviews, so here's my latest for the eagerly-anticipated new Haken record, 'Vector'. I hope you enjoy reading it.

https://manofmuchmetal.com/2018/10/11/h ... um-review/

All the best,

Matt
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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby introclaus » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:06 am

Man Of Much Metal wrote:Hi Everyone,

I'm told to keep posting my reviews, so here's my latest for the eagerly-anticipated new Haken record, 'Vector'. I hope you enjoy reading it.

https://manofmuchmetal.com/2018/10/11/h ... um-review/

All the best,

Matt


Great review Matt.
I’m not a Haken fan (I only have the first two albums) but since they’ll be touring here w Leprous in just a few weeks I might as well check out the new disc and your review pushed me into the “alright, let’s order it” camp ;)
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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby TROY or maybe DEBBIE » Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:53 pm

Excellent review! A few spins in, I am loving Vector. The duo of Veil and Nil By Mouth is positively amazing!
You guys are like reverse sirens...

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby ToddS » Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:59 pm

TROY or maybe DEBBIE wrote:Excellent review! A few spins in, I am loving Vector. The duo of Veil and Nil By Mouth is positively amazing!


Agree review closely mirrors my thoughts Matt.

Veil and Nil are mind blowing! Some of Hakens best work, and welcome after the light and fluffy (for the most part) Affinity.
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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby introclaus » Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:42 pm

Very nice album - so glad I bought the version that comes with the instrumental bonus disc as the vocalist by far is this bands downfall ... with a different singer I think I would love them, for now I just like them.
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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Sparky » Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:55 am

introclaus wrote:Very nice album - so glad I bought the version that comes with the instrumental bonus disc as the vocalist by far is this bands downfall ... with a different singer I think I would love them, for now I just like them.


This is me. Haken's singer annoys the shit out of me.

You won't find a tighter band than Haken - that I will NOT deny. That doesn't mean they're interesting.

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Harvester » Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:01 am

Sparky wrote:That doesn't mean they're interesting.



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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Sparky » Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:40 am

Harvester wrote:
Sparky wrote:That doesn't mean they're interesting.



Image



Here I'm really talking about Vector, which *someone* urged me to check out. If it clicks with you, I suspect it crushes your skull. It leaves me scratching my head. If you think about Haken's arc, I don't know how you can argue that they've not backed themselves into a corner. What do they do - get heavier? Not really possible.

And again, Ross is simply too light in the loafers to front this band. For me, it simply doesn't work.

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby zedowns » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:20 pm

God damn I love this. Its a lock for Top 3 in my end of the year list and very likely going to be #1. Definitely agree with the part of your review about the album's length... its so short :(

Sparky wrote:
Harvester wrote:
Sparky wrote:That doesn't mean they're interesting.



Image



If you think about Haken's arc, I don't know how you can argue that they've not backed themselves into a corner. What do they do - get heavier? Not really possible.



Not sure what you mean about Haken's arc. Are you suggesting they've gotten heavier with every album and now there's nowhere else to go? Because that's definitely not the case.

Besides, they've been around long enough now that I trust them to continue putting out amazing stuff without repeating themselves.

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Packgrog » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:49 pm

I liked the previous couple of albums, but the tracks that I've heard from this new one don't really click with me. *shrug*

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Mark » Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:42 pm

I generally like, but don't love, Haken. I think I like this new one substantially more than Affinity, though.

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby introclaus » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:44 pm

He doesn’t necessarily “annoy the shit out of me” as Sparky so eloquently put it, but Ross is one of those singers that clearly was a friend of someone in the band, just like that kid in kindergarten when they were all out of tambourines and the sole thing that was left to do was singing he was the only one raising his hand and immediately became everyone’s best friend because now at least they didn’t have to embarrass themselves.

Either way, as much shit as LaBrie has taken over the years it seems odd that with Haken we here have a band that obviously have the chops, write good songs and clearly have made enough of an impact to be viewed as the biggest new prog metal act of recent years, yet the singer is not even remotely on the same level as the rest of the band and no one same to care!?! Those people who complained for years about LaBrie should complain even harder about this dude ... Strange strange strange!

How fun would it be if Anne Robinson one day stopped by the bands rehearsal space to have a chat with the dude?

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Mardoch » Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:47 pm

introclaus wrote:He doesn’t necessarily “annoy the shit out of me” as Sparky so eloquently put it, but Ross is one of those singers that clearly was a friend of someone in the band, just like that kid in kindergarten when they were all out of tambourines and the sole thing that was left to do was singing he was the only one raising his hand and immediately became everyone’s best friend because now at least they didn’t have to embarrass themselves.

Either way, as much shit as LaBrie has taken over the years it seems odd that with Haken we here have a band that obviously have the chops, write good songs and clearly have made enough of an impact to be viewed as the biggest new prog metal act of recent years, yet the singer is not even remotely on the same level as the rest of the band and no one same to care!?! Those people who complained for years about LaBrie should complain even harder about this dude ... Strange strange strange!

How fun would it be if Anne Robinson one day stopped by the bands rehearsal space to have a chat with the dude?

Image

LaBrie is good, excellent even, when he's doing things other than DT. DT doesn't write for LaBrie's strengths. It seems like they write to spite him. It took me a good number of years to recognize this situation.

I can understand not liking Ross, but the "out of tambourines" line is uh...that's a nope from me. On Aquarius he hadn't quite figured out what was up, but he's gotten significantly better every album.

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby LarryD » Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:32 am

LaBrie is good, excellent even, when he's doing things other than DT. DT doesn't write for LaBrie's strengths. It seems like they write to spite him. It took me a good number of years to recognize this situation.


*** I'm going to disagree with this.... but this is a Haken post, so I'm stopping here.



I can understand not liking Ross, but the "out of tambourines" line is uh...that's a nope from me. On Aquarius he hadn't quite figured out what was up, but he's gotten significantly better every album.


***This I absolutely agree with ....... I remember when I first talked about Aquarius, the first thing I said was, " the singer could be better" ..... Fast forward to Prog Power, when Haken played the entire "Visions" show...... not only was it a magical show, Ross was on point and nailed it all. He has come a long way - and at this point, I cannot hear another voice fronting Haken.

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Nos » Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:32 am

[quote="Mardoch"
LaBrie is good, excellent even, when he's doing things other than DT.[/quote]

I totally agree. He sounds fantastic on his last two solo albums.

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Nos » Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:32 am

Nos wrote:
Mardoch wrote:LaBrie is good, excellent even, when he's doing things other than DT.


I totally agree. He sounds fantastic on his last two solo albums.

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby RickyRock » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:42 am

I absolutely love Haken. And one of the main reasons is the voice of Ross Jennings. Everyone has an opinion on what kind of vocalist would best suit an individual band, for me I just love the smooth delivery of his voice and something about it makes me want more. I don’t listen to the instrumental only discs because I find myself adding Ross’ parts in my mind. Make no mistake I would still like the band if they were instrumental only because they are indeed tighter than a gnats ass, but with Jennings they stand out as my favorite band at this time. Wouldn’t want anyone else fronting this band! And by the way, I love Vector. The drums on this are beyond incredible.

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby ToddS » Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:49 pm

RickyRock wrote:I absolutely love Haken. And one of the main reasons is the voice of Ross Jennings. Everyone has an opinion on what kind of vocalist would best suit an individual band, for me I just love the smooth delivery of his voice and something about it makes me want more. I don’t listen to the instrumental only discs because I find myself adding Ross’ parts in my mind. Make no mistake I would still like the band if they were instrumental only because they are indeed tighter than a gnats ass, but with Jennings they stand out as my favorite band at this time. Wouldn’t want anyone else fronting this band! And by the way, I love Vector. The drums on this are beyond incredible.


This!

Drums are sick on here!

Singers can be quite polarizing, but Ross has really gotten so much better over the years. He was just ok early for
me, but now I’m with you, I don’t want another singer fronting Haken.
The last couple of times I saw Haken live, Ross was incredible! As was the entire band.

For my money, Haken is the best thing going in prog right now. The playing is ridicules. Every record is different and quite interesting (Sparky you lost your mind on this one :p).

Vector is a killer release! It just needed one more epic to be perfect. Or maybe I’m just spoiled from them putting out 70 min records?

Strong record of the year candidate.
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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Chris R » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:48 pm

Many of these mind of prog bands seem to have a unique style of vocalist that ends up giving the band an unique stamp.
Even going back to Rush with Geddy Lee.
Ross is a perfect fit
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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Digital Man » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:58 pm

I want to like this band so bad. I've tried for a long time, but the vocals are like nails on a chalkboard to me. Similar situation with Leprous, for some reason the vocals just don't work for me. As Todd said, vocals are very polarizing and very personal. I can't explain why I like Geddy Lee & John Arch, yet can't do Haken or Leprous. In the early days I liked Labrie, but he gets on my nerves today too. It sucks, because I do recognize that Haken and Leprous are the new prog superstars and I'm missing out.
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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Nos » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:03 pm

Chris R wrote:Many of these mind of prog bands seem to have a unique style of vocalist that ends up giving the band an unique stamp.


The cynical (and somewhat true) take would be that's because the good singers want nothing to do with prog.

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Paul of the Hills » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:26 pm

Well, here are my two cents, as a casual fan.

I don't own any physical discs, but I've heard a little of the Mountain, a lot of Affinity, and have spinning Vector for a few days. The musicianship is certainly stellar. As for the vocals, I'm with those who aren't thrilled with them. I think his tone is clean and pure, but also lacks power. My favorite singers tend to be dramatically powerful. They can sing melodically but with BIG BALLS. Like Dickinson, Dio, or Warrel Dane. But I really like how integrated the layered vocals are on the Affinity album.

I've tried to get into Leprous but the vocals make me cringe. I literally couldn't stand them for long. That helps my appreciation of Haken, because Ross sounds pleasant in comparison. :lol:

Nevertheless, all these opinions could change in 24 hours as I'm seeing the first show of the Haken/Leprous tour tonight!!!

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Sir Exar Kun » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:37 pm

Nevertheless, all these opinions could change in 24 hours as I'm seeing the first show of the Haken/Leprous tour tonight!!!


ENJOY!!!! I REALLY thought about coming up for this one (my in-laws live in Lake Orion, about 15 minutes from the venue) but I have had multiple work trips already this month and couldn't really justify being out of town AGAIN......
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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Chris R » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:45 pm

Digital Man wrote:I want to like this band so bad. I've tried for a long time, but the vocals are like nails on a chalkboard to me. Similar situation with Leprous, for some reason the vocals just don't work for me. As Todd said, vocals are very polarizing and very personal. I can't explain why I like Geddy Lee & John Arch, yet can't do Haken or Leprous. In the early days I liked Labrie, but he gets on my nerves today too. It sucks, because I do recognize that Haken and Leprous are the new prog superstars and I'm missing out.


My girlfriend is trying to get into the more metal side of prog(being a huge Marillion fan because of her parents and then finding Anathema,Riverside then Kingcrow)
Fates,Redemption and Evergrey are hits because the vocals.
She is trying to desperately get into Haken and Leprous as she plans on coming down to fla to see me(and see this show)
I'm pleasantly surprised Haken hasnt turned her off(in started her out with Afinity so probably that's why)and she can tolerate Ross' vox (favorite songs are the songs most hate here like Red Giant,lol)
Unfortunately Leprous is a lost cause,hates the vox(yet I think they have a really cool unique style that fits the music as well)

But you are so right about vox
I'm the outlier here that cant stand Arch yet loves every style Devin Townsend has.
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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Mardoch » Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:27 pm

Paul of the Hills wrote:As for the vocals, I'm with those who aren't thrilled with them. I think his tone is clean and pure, but also lacks power. My favorite singers tend to be dramatically powerful. They can sing melodically but with BIG BALLS. Like Dickinson, Dio, or Warrel Dane. But I really like how integrated the layered vocals are on the Affinity album.

At this point this is the same thing that I lament about Ross' vocals. He doesn't have an explosive power of any sort that we've seen. He's just consistently nice (pure and clear are exactly the words I use for his tone as well). I kind of long for a bit of that Emeril style BAM every so often.

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Mardoch » Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:28 pm

Nos wrote:
Nos wrote:
Mardoch wrote:LaBrie is good, excellent even, when he's doing things other than DT.


I totally agree. He sounds fantastic on his last two solo albums.

It's good to not be alone, lol.

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Sparky » Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:57 am

Said it before, and I'll say it again: I can marvel/giggle at how obscenely tight a brand is without being the least bit interested in what they're doing.

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby ToddS » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:44 pm

Sparky wrote:Said it before, and I'll say it again: I can marvel/giggle at how obscenely tight a brand is without being the least bit interested in what they're doing.


Certainly. It just surprises me you're not into them.

"It leaves me scratching my head. If you think about Haken's arc, I don't know how you can argue that they've not backed themselves into a corner."

This makes me scratch my head. They have done something at least somewhat different with each release. They can do whatever they want at this point. Band is mega talented. i'm sure they will come up with something. Canvas is blank really.

Singer kills it for some, I totally get.
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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby sez » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:11 pm

Mardoch wrote:At this point this is the same thing that I lament about Ross' vocals. He doesn't have an explosive power of any sort that we've seen. He's just consistently nice (pure and clear are exactly the words I use for his tone as well). I kind of long for a bit of that Emeril style BAM every so often.


We've been listening to the new Haken and the new Seventh Wonder back to back in the office for a bit now (one of the guys I work with reviews for the Prog Mind, so we sometimes get to hear review copies early). I think it's interesting that people complain about Ross's vocals lacking power, but nobody ever complains about Tommy, who also has a very clean voice. I definitely prefer Tommy over Ross, but it's because of his God-given tone coupled with the techniques he uses. One of those he can control (techniques), and one of those he can't (the voice he was born with).

Do you think some of the problem people see with Ross is his straight delivery? Because that's basically what he does: he hits notes straight, without any embellishment. It's almost like his voice is a sample played by pressing a key on a keyboard. It's very pure, and he never sounds like he's struggling (like LaBrie), but it's just very straight.

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Mardoch » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:43 pm

sez wrote:Do you think some of the problem people see with Ross is his straight delivery? Because that's basically what he does: he hits notes straight, without any embellishment. It's almost like his voice is a sample played by pressing a key on a keyboard. It's very pure, and he never sounds like he's struggling (like LaBrie), but it's just very straight.

I think that's a pretty fair assessment. Not much drama in Ross' delivery whereas I find Tommy delivers a good bit of it.

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby LarryD » Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:29 pm

Yeah, we're getting into a singer debate - I love it ......... but to be honest, we are talking about two completely different singer styles. I agree with everything that everyone has said here - but the difference between the two is definitely the delivery. Tommy, with the dramatic / melodic style that just melts - and Ross, with the monotone, just bring the words to the front........

I also think that the difference is the music --- Seventh Wonder being the dramatic, heartwarming style of music - and Haken being the more technical, less melodic style that doesn't need a dramatic singer approach ....... That's the difference to me ......

That said -- I never thought that Russ was a great singer - but, seeing him perform the entire "Visions" set at Prog Power, made me a believer that he is the guy for this band........ I couldn't believe how good he was at that show ........again, not my favorite singer, but for this band - he is excellent.........

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Chris R » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:20 pm

Live now in Tampa

Ross sounds amazing
Band is killing it!
See this if it comes near you
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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby introclaus » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:59 am

Chris R wrote:Live now in Tampa

Ross sounds amazing
Band is killing it!
See this if it comes near you


They played here Wednesday ... Bent Knee was great, Leprous was mindblowingly amazing (best I’ve ever seen them), left before Haken as I just couldn’t imagine making it through an hour+ of that vocalist ...
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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Scott B » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:39 am

Just to throw in a couple of pennies here, having seen the Haken\Leprous gig in Tampa last night.

Leprous just owned the evening. Flawless. The vocals were just jaw-dropping. Absolutely perfect.

For Haken, I will say that between the two latest releases, I have probably given Vector more play time. I thought the vocals were perfectly fine on the albums. Live...they were not that pleasant. They seemed off frequently. Larry described the delivery as monotone--this can never be a good thing. The instrumental part of the gig was amazing (as was Leprous).

Two bands off the bucket list in one night!

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Re: Haken - Vector - my track-by-track review

Postby Chris R » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:53 am

Scott B wrote:Just to throw in a couple of pennies here, having seen the Haken\Leprous gig in Tampa last night.

Leprous just owned the evening. Flawless. The vocals were just jaw-dropping. Absolutely perfect.

For Haken, I will say that between the two latest releases, I have probably given Vector more play time. I thought the vocals were perfectly fine on the albums. Live...they were not that pleasant. They seemed off frequently. Larry described the delivery as monotone--this can never be a good thing. The instrumental part of the gig was amazing (as was Leprous).

Two bands off the bucket list in one night!


Me and Sumeet were there
I thought Haken qas quite incredible but Leprous did take it to another level...
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