Haken - Virus

(CD 2020, 51:53, Inside Out Music)

The tracks:
  1- Prosthetic(5:58)
  2- Invasion(6:40)
  3- Carousel(10:30)
  4- The Strain(5:35)
  5- Canary Yellow(4:10)
  6- Messiah Complex I: Ivory Tower(3:59)
  7- Messiah Complex II: A Glutton For Punishment(3:38)
  8- Messiah Complex III: Marigold(2:25)
  9- Messiah Complex IV: The Sect(2:02)
10- Messiah Complex V: Ectobius Rex(4:51)
11- Only Stars(2:05)

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Virus, the new album by Haken portrays an ascent to power, tyranny and subsequent endgame.

The opening track of Virus (a rather appropriate title by the way..) Prosthetic forms a bridge to their previous album Vector (2018, see review). It is a fantastic opener, also the 1st single, featuring brutal; riffing distorted vocals, head banging stuff and some bombastic parts as well. Follow up Invasion starts with an almost a cappella part before it evolves into a typical Haken song, full of staccato riffs, quiet passages and lots of melody as well. The first milestone of this album is called Carousel, which clocks over ten minutes, and it really is an awesome track, still very complex with lots of tempo changes and even some Opeth-like passages, but it really is an addictive song which you have to explore very carefully and very often. However, Haken saves the best for last with the monster epic called Messiah Complex, which is actually divided into five parts and I can truly say that this song is the most ambitious and challenging track that Haken has recorded and composed so far. You just have to give yourself to this track completely and you will be lost for almost 17 minutes in the prog metal world of Haken. Can it get any better than this?

Haken has proved that they definitely belong to the prog metal elite of this world with Virus; check it out, not to be missed!!!!

**** Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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