After the great experience of The Mountain album that was released on 2013, progressive metal/rock bad, Haken, coming from the United Kingdom has managed to release another masterpiece. A progressive metal/rock album where you can find anything you wish for as a progressive metal or rock fan. The album is called Affinity and it contains 9 tracks, the first track is an intro to the album.
The album is a mixture between happy atmosphere and sad/gloomy atmosphere and the latter reminds you of the Norwegian progressive metal band Leprous, which was so obvious in songs like “Initiate”and “Red Giant”. Some songs have a happy atmosphere such as “Earthshine”, 1985 and “The Endless Knot”. Initiate was a very good start of the album, it has that complex start that then takes you to a slow tempo with great vocals by Ross Jennings, which are one of the strengths of the album.
Then comes “1985”, that is influenced by the 80s, which is the first time to witness from Haken, but it made the song become catchy and more enjoyable in my opinion. Followed by “Lapse” that has a little bit sad atmosphere which appeared in the lyrics too, but you will find a beautiful solo nearly in the middle of the song.
After that there is “The Architect”, the strongest track in the album and one of their all-time best tracks they have ever made. It’s the longest track in the album too (15:40 minutes of awesomeness) but it feels like 5 minutes though as you will be busy enjoying the song without paying attention to time or anything. You can find all you would ever want in a progressive metal song in “The Architect”, the song starts with some great riffs, then moves smoothly with those beautiful clean vocals towards an ambient part that takes you to the second half of the song, when an amazing solo starts that is followed by some harsh vocals (which were the only harsh vocals in the album). Personally, I wish they make more songs like “The Architect”.
The second half of the album starts with “Earthshine”, with its happy atmosphere and one of the catchiest songs of the album, yet one of the shortest songs. It was a great track to follow “The Architect”. After that you can find “Red Giant”, which felt more like a filler song in the album, yet enjoyable but not one of the highlights of the album.
“The Endless Knot” is track number eight, one of the best tracks of the album too. Great riffs, clean vocals and an awesome solo. I also enjoyed that ambient part that started at 3:59, it’s soothing in a way that makes you feel like you are in a time machine and you went back to the past when everything was peaceful and beautiful.
The last track is “Bound By Gravity”, felt like another filler song but this one is soothing and I think it’s a good choice to end the album with, it felt like you were reading a book and this was the last chapter. I didn’t enjoy it that much musically but I didn’t mind it at all after that great experience.
The album also comes with an instrumental version of the whole album, which is so enjoyable as the album was awesome musically. It is like a summary to what happened in the book, which is “Affinity” album. Generally I’m happy with “Affinity” and it’s definitely one of the top albums of 2016 and the best progressive metal album so far.
I give it an overall rating of 8.5/10
Nabil Hossam / Metalheads Forever Magazine