HAKEN — The Mountain

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HAKEN - The Mountain cover
4.46 | 74 ratings | 10 reviews
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Album · 2013

Filed under Progressive Metal


1. The Path (2:47)
2. Atlas Stone (7:34)
3. Cockroach King (8:15)
4. In Memoriam (4:17)
5. Because It’s There (4:24)
6. Falling Back To Earth (11:51)
7. As Death Embraces (3:13)
8. Pareidolia (10:51)
9. Somebody (9:01)

Total time: 62:13

Bonus tracks:
10. The Path Unbeaten (2:12)
11. Nobody (4:53)


- Ross Jennings / Vocals
- Richard "Hen" Henshall / Guitars, Keyboards
- Charles Griffiths / Guitars
- Tom MacLean / Bass
- Diego Tejeida / Keyboards
- Ray Hearne / Drums

Release Staff:

- Jens Bogren / Mixing, Mastering
- Blacklake / Artwork

About this release

Released by InsideOut Music, September 2nd, 2013.

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Metal Music Archives Reviewer's Challenge: Album selected by mlkpad14.

My introduction to Haken came with their second album Visions released in 2011. Very impressed I was too – here was a band that had the chops of Dream Theater, who were clearly an influence but were writing more interesting music than that band had released for some time. Discovering their debut later I found the quality of songwriting nowhere near as strong though it had its moments.

The Mountain is the bands third album, of four so far and it’s pretty much neck and neck with Visions for their best work. Certainly the production is excellent and an improvement having a more natural sound than the processed sound of Visions. Musically it follows in the footsteps of past work - complex prog metal with plenty of dynamics and strong melodies interlaced with the occasional quirky moment. Just listen to the mid song instrumental section on In Memoriam for a jaw dropping demonstration of what these guys are capable of and few others are. The album though is littered with many more equally dextrous moments which are rarely less than captivating. All this wouldn’t count for much though if they didn’t have the songs to carry it. Fortunately they do, vocalist Ross Jennings managing to inject plenty of melody over the complex music which can also be pretty melodic at times though at its best when they go out on a limb in the many instrumental passages. The best of these apart from the afore-mentioned In Memoriam tend to feature in the longer pieces like Cockroach King, Falling Back To Earth and Pareidolia. The light and shade moments strategically placed between these wilder moments work nicely pacing the album well and keep the band from disappearing entirely up their arse with too much musical masturbation.

The standard of playing from all is not surprisingly virtuosic but special mention goes to drummer Ray Hearne who manages to out-Portnoy Mike Portnoy with a dazzling display of dexterity and power. One of my favourite drummers playing in any genre of music today.

After The Mountain I found 2016’s Affinity somewhat of a disappointment mainly in the instrumental workout department despite some solid moments. For now I’d recommend this as the best place to discover Haken if you’re a newbie.

Haken performs a masterpiece hat trick! UK heavy prog kings Haken have always mesmirised me with their glorious blend of ambient prog and heavy instrumental blitzkriegs. Both previous albums delivered exceptional high quality prog rock and always offered a surprising array of musical styles. There was never a dull moment and overall the albums were masterfully produced. The band's lineup has not changed too much and on this latest release there is still the incomparable virtuoso musicianship of Charles Griffiths on guitars, Raymond Hearne on drums, Richard Henshall on keyboard and guitar, Thomas MacLean on bass and Diego Tejeida on keyboards. The vocals are well handled as usual by Ross Jennings, who can move from a range of octaves effortlessly. I always look forward to sitting down and being blown away by albums such as "Visions" released in 2011, so I was really hoping this new album would be something just as special, if not better.

The enigmatic Sisyphus inspired front cover is an immediate attention grabber. Obviously there is a concept involved somewhere with this. It opens with Gentle Giant nuances, a cappela harmonies, something the band returns to on songs such as 'Cockroach King'. The soundscape transforms to a heavy prog vibe as the guitars crank into life and then the crystalline vocals of Jennings chime in. 'The Path' starts off proceedings leading to the heavy approach on 'Atlas Stone'. This track takes more twists and turns then er.. Sisyphus himself. As that rock is rolled up that hill futilely and with blind purpose, the music takes on its own ambitious agenda. The keyboards are grandiose and they blaze over the incessant bass and drum rhythm machine.

'Cockroach King' channels Gentle Giant and then Genesis vocals, till after a springy boing there is a weird section of percussive mayhem. A lead guitar freakout and some squibbly electronics take on their own life. The time sig is fractured to pieces, and there are some quirky motifs that are at polar opposites to the actual melody. Suddenly it volcanos out into chugging distorted guitar riffs and shimmering keyboards. Then it breaks and channels a vintage Yes sound, before splashing out to an odd tempo instrumental. What a wonderful homage to the sensational golden era of 1970s prog!

'In Memoriam' opens with grand piano tinkling till an ultra heavy guitar riff destroys the ambience. A Porcupine Tree style vocal and melody locks in, then it leads to a raucous chorus. The mind blowing speed metal riff dominates for a moment till it moves to a slow meandering section. It all settles down with an a cappella harmony "life is a dream" and the harmonies are absolutely brilliant, like a progressive barbershop quartet. Then a broken tempo is heard as if someone had chopped up the mix; very complex and striking in its structure. 'Because It's There' is very tranquil driven by harmonies and some odd atmospherics.

'Falling Back to Earth' is an 11:51 rocker with some blazing guitar riffs, and a range of vocal styles. When Jennings reaches the high register it reminds me of Muse. The guitar chugs with a heavy low guttural distortion. The chorus is the one I remember the most when I return to this album. It has an infectious melody but the main drawcard of this masterful track is the experimental innovation on the instrumental break. There is a section that is like some manic jazz freakout and the time sig shifts boldly into adventurous directions. The lead guitar solo features some fret melting speed licks and spasmodic tempo shifts.

Somehow the track merges back to the main melody, with Dream Theater like precision. It settles into a haunting ambient passage of layered guitars. Then there is the memorable section with dreamy flowing harmonies "Ha-aaahh" and the lyrics that focus on the crest fallen angel falling back to earth into the ocean. The heavy distorted guitars return like an old friend, and some delightful vocalisations that add to the ethereal atmosphere. Finally we are treated to a pastoral flute, then it builds to a crescendo with swathes of synths and that catchy chorus; what a mind melting masterpiece!

'As Death Embraces' is minimalist piano and Jennings melancholy voice with the protagonist pleading for forgiveness at the end of his life as he leaves his wings behind and fate's doors close over. This quiet piece feels like a transition as we catch our breath before the next onslaught of delicious prog calisthenics. 'Pareidolia' is an almost 11 minute slice of infectious heavy prog. The melody grabs hold instantly and locks into the consciousness.

There is an Egyptian flavour, as we hear of the kingdom burning to the ground, and the treasure left for whoever to find in the desert. The sound gets heavier in the chorus and then a lead guitar riff bursts from captivity. The song delves into a very choppy staccato rhythm with the drums laying it on thick over metal guitar chunks. There is a freakout of hyper guitar and speed drums and some Egyptian sounding guitars thrown in; this is intense and builds into choral chants till it breaks and all is quietened again. There are vocals layered with harmonies, echoing phrases and some King Crimson like guitar rhythms take over for a while.

'Somebody' closes the album with a 9 minute finale, beginning with a calm atmosphere. The harmonised vocals are gorgeous on the chorus that has a melody that hooks into the memory.

The complexity on "The Mountain" is astounding, (how good would this be heard live!), and I admit at this point that half way through this I knew I was listening to another Haken masterpiece, who don't seem to be able to put a foot wrong. That's three masterpieces in a row for my ears and this latest release is perhaps the best in terms of musicianship and addictive melodies. Haken pour so much passion and energy on each release that it is impossible not to like if you are into the heavier side of prog while still demanding supreme complexity at the highest level, along with infectious songs that all have a unique and distinct flavour; Haken deliver every time and this is no mean feat. Somehow the band knows exactly how to hook in a listener, and they give every band member a chance to shine maintaining a strong unity with just the right amount of light and shade on every track. The Gentle Giant influences are prominent on this release, and it has its fair share of metal with classic prog influences sprinkled here and there. Haken are becoming one of the greatest prog bands of recent years because they deliver outstanding albums that are all killer, no filler. "The Mountain" gets my highest recommendations and is one of the finest releases of 2013 without a shadow of a doubt!
siLLy puPPy
I agree that this is a really good album but it just doesn't grab me as a masterpiece. It might just be my taste but the sappy piano ballad parts really make me bark at the moon and remove a star for me. As for the rest of the album there are some really great prog metal twists and turns that are really exciting but some of the influences are just a wee bit too obvious. “Cockroach King” is an good example. It's just a little TOO Gentle Giant. In fact this band relies a lot on borrowing rather than creating. That's all fine and dandy since I like similar bands such as Magic Pie and The Gourishankar who have similar sounds and approaches. HAKEN does up the ante with that formula a bit and really manages to keep it interesting and instead of floating from one genre to the other they do package it well but for all of the reasons i've already sited means this is a very good but not outstanding album for me.
This is one of those albums that so wonderfully fit in to what progressive music is about. It should not be rated out of 5 or 10 but out of 100 because the only places where I feel points could be taken off are in small pedantic considerations of personal preference. It is not that I am head over heels about every song, but even the songs that haven’t securely grabbed my attention and secured my listening intensiveness are still masterfully crafted. This is a great achievement in both progressive music in general and progressive metal. Haken mix the light with the heavy, the beautiful with the bombastic, eclecticism with a little eccentricity and create a diversified yet unified album without loosing themselves as a progressive metal band. They had an idea which they built into a concept and developed into a album. Where they needed a clever idea they found one, and where they had an idea they found a place for it. Well played, Haken. Well played indeed.

I am not familiar with Haken’s first two releases though I had been listening to samples on Amazon on and off. They were one of those bands I might have wanted to check out later. However, after I read so many rave reviews on PA and MMA I thought this new album might really be worth giving my ears and money. And oh yeah, it sure was.

Stylistically speaking, I find myself often thinking of Gentle Giant meets System of a Down with some Dark Suns added in. But Haken have made use of so many good ideas spread across the history of prog rock and metal including gentle piano and strings, pseudo-Gregorian chant and minor key barbershop quartet, quirky and bizarre musical effects, jazzy sections, and an array of other musical techniques both within and beyond the heavy metal spectrum.

Fans of less heavy progressive rock will find moments of rapture. Fans of metal will find moments for head banging. Fans of both will declare this album a modern triumph of progressive music.
Conor Fynes
'The Mountain' - Haken (9/10)

I don’t think there is a band in progressive rock today that has managed to impress me as consistently as Haken . From the release of 2010’s stunning Aquarius onward, they have filled my ears with what I might describe as a progger’s dream formula: rich, eccentric and boldly complex, yet melodic and ultimately heartfelt. Still, as enraptured as I was by the debut, Haken had left room for improvement. The narrative concept on Aquarius was hokey at best, the cheese factor was likely indigestible to the lactose intolerant, and the style took after Dream Theater a bit too much for the album to have earned top honours. In the few years since however, Haken have made audacious steps towards fulfilling their potential as the heroes of modern progressive rock. To anyone who was as disappointed by Dream Theater’s latest affair as I was, I raise you Haken’s The Mountain ; quite possibly the greatest statement in progressive metal yet released in 2013.

When I first heard Haken just over three years ago, I remember feeling a rush of excitement that signified I was witnessing the birth of something major. I was not alone either; Aquarius took the prog community by storm, and left listeners wanting more, with a handful of detractors loathing the album with equal intensity. It’s not often a modern prog album divides and inspires audiences like Aquarius did, and that reception evidently lit an impetus for Haken to progress rapidly. Especially considering the industry standard of waiting years between the release of albums, it’s a feat of its own for Haken to have unveiled a third album within three years of the first. The Mountain is indeed cut from the same proggy cloth as the debut and 2011’s Visions , but this third effort is finally seeing Haken come unto their own stylistically. Considering how impressive the first two records were, this is a cause for excitement.

Even if Dream Theater hasn’t been particularly consistent recently, they laid down a brilliant framework, the likes of which countless bands have tried to copy. Haken weren’t as cookie-cutter as some of the clones out there, but there remained the impression that they were still lurking underneath the shadow of the tired gods of progressive metal. Not only is The Mountain darker in atmosphere and tone than its predecessors; Haken have also placed an emphasis on the weird and eccentric end of their style. Not only does their craft sound more focused here, they have also widened the range of their sound. Although they remain rooted in a framework of melodic progressive metal, Haken are so often over the map that the music never gets boring. For instance, “Atlas Stone’s” uplifting atmosphere and epic scope give way to “The Cockroach King”, an experimental piece that finds identity in its unsettling barbershop vocals and creepy whimsy. The epic “Falling Back to Earth” brings the progressive metal front and centre, before giving way to “As Death Embraces”, an emotional zenith of the album that weaves soft piano and haunting vocals together beautifully. “Pareidolia” has everything from Middle-Eastern ambiance (à la Orphaned Land ) to blastbeats and groove-centred rhythms. At the very least, these examples should serve to convey what a rich variety of sound and style Haken is drawing upon.

Better still is how effectively The Mountain mixes this variety together. Granted, some of the choruses feel a little shoehorned within the context of the compositions, but Haken has taken some great steps towards smoothing out their proggy segues and detours. Although they’re still weighted towards complex arrangement and strict composition over the merits of more conventional songwriting, there are plenty of hooks to stave the album from dryness. “Atlas Stone”, “Pareidolia”, and the gorgeous “Somebody” are all fine examples of how progressive rock can be made melodically sound and relevant. Haken’s skill with melody is only amplified by the vocal talents of Ross Jennings, who owns a voice perfectly suited to the band’s sound. Jennings’ vocals are uncompromisingly melodic and graced with grace, but impressive above all else is that his delivery is distinctive and even unique. Progressive metal is filled with prodigy soundalikes, and it takes a distinctive voice like Jennings’ to really impress me.

Even as their grasp of melody improves, Haken’s best side still comes out in the form of their proggy instrumentals. The influence of bands like Dream Theater and King Crimson are undoubtedly evident, but Haken have finally claimed ownership of a sound unto their own with The Mountain. In terms of pure ‘progginess’, Haken are already two steps further ahead than Dream Theater ever dared to venture. The instrumental segment in “The Cockroach King” is wonderfully puzzling, and “Falling Back to Earth” features a salvo of off-timed riffs and oppressive textures worth consideration even by the most seasoned progsters. Although it’s practically a requirement of the progressive metal label these days, Haken’s virtuosic capability as musicians cannot be underrated, and unlike Dream Theater , Haken sound like they’re still trying to push their own envelope.

As per usual, Haken’s weakest link comes in the form of their lyrics. Keeping with the tradition imposed by the previous two albums, The Mountain takes shape as a conceptual piece. Unlike the first two however, it doesn’t assume the form of a narrative, instead building itself around a vaguer theme of the human struggle for worth and meaning. It’s a lofty concept to be sure, but the lyrics tend to feel as cheesy and heavy-handed as they have always been. “The Cockroach King” offers a welcome exception to this rule lyrically, with some sharp wordplay to bolster the Ross Jennings’ eccentric a cappella. Others have written that “The Mountain” is a far more personal sort of concept album than what’s usually seen progressive rock. While I’m still not feeling Haken’s lyrics on a gut level, it’s a marked improvement from the ridiculous fish-questing lyrics on Aquarius , and the decision to cut past the sci-fi/fantasy banter in exchange for something more sincere and mature has made for an excellent move on the band’s part.

Having been a fan of this band since the debut, it’s remarkably satisfying to hear Haken having come so far from their roots. Aquarius may have wowed me at the time, but with The Mountain, I’m truly sold on their sound. Solid arguments could be made for each of Haken’s three albums as to which one is the ‘best’, but one thing is for sure: The Mountain brings to the table what the other two sorely missed; a sense of standalone identity. At this point, Haken are rivalled only by Norway’s Leprous as the brightest stars of modern progressive metal. Haken haven’t yet achieved progressive metal perfection with The Mountain, but their dedication to constant self-improvement and exploration means it can’t be far away.

Progressive rock and prog metal bands, are of course, often expected to experiment with their sound a little - the clue's in the word "progressive", right? - but even so this often is more the result of a gradual evolution rather than sudden creative leaps, especially when a band has already established a solid reputation with their previous sound and the very real risk of turning off their established fanbase mitigates against wild experimentation.

Haken, I'm glad to say, have shown the courage to take their sound in an intriguing new direction; the Dream Theater and other conventional prog metal influences I heard on their previous albums are scaled back dramatically (as, indeed, is the metal aspect of their sound - there's still plenty of metal here but it's competing with a wider range of influences this time - a bit of ethereal wave here, a bit of jazz-rock there, a bit of symphonic prog over there...), and in the compositions that make up The Mountain they engage in a series of interesting vocal experiments, playing around with harmony, rounds, and other complex intertwined vocal modes. They also incorporate a lot more piano and keyboards too; fans of up-and-coming piano prog duo iamthemorning may find the intro to Atlas Stone, for instance, reminiscent of that outfit's work.

Delving into these experiments to an extent unmatched by any other prog band I can think of with the exception of Gentle Giant and their imitators (and even then, they don't sound much like Gentle Giant here), Haken are clearly following their own blueprint here, and I suspect they might lose a few fans who prefer the more conventional prog metal sound of their previous albums as a result, but hopefully most prog listeners will recognise true originality when they hear it. Haken have grown on me rapidly with successive releases and with The Mountain I think they've finally begun to live up to the hype which surrounded their earlier albums.
Kev Rowland
I was sat at my desk the other day when I was asked if I had yet played Haken’s ‘The Mountain’. When I responded by saying that it was on my list and hadn’t got to it yet, I was told that I needed to. So, when I got home that night I made the time to actually play it for the first time. It was a lot later when I was asked if I was actually going to go to bed, as I had just sat there in awe, taken away into a new musical world. To say that this is one of the finest albums to ever come out of the prog scene is something of an understatement, but accurate. I’ve just had a quick look on PA to see what others feel about this and note that there are two collaborator/expert reviews, both of whom give it 5*’s, and I am convinced that the only reason they have done that is because we’re not able to give it any more.

This is absolutely stunning stuff, arguably taking Spock’s Beard to a whole new level. But, that argument would in itself be flawed as they have instead looked to one of SB’s influences, the incredible Gentle Giant (surely still one of the most under-rated British prog acts ever, and I know that they are rated highly, just not highly enough), and have moved on from there. Honestly, I have no idea where to start with writing about this. The vocals and harmonies are incredible, and they go from full on metallic monstrosity to a cappella in a way that should never be possible, but somehow with these guys it makes total sense. Metallic riffs combine with harmonies, strong bass with ‘out there’ keyboards, and the feeling that here is a band very much in control.

It is just not possible to fault this album, everything they do is accomplished and polished yet never loses that feeling of spontaneity and rawness that is so important. Unlike some progressive acts, there is nothing here that sounds contrived, the music just oozes honesty and passion. This is not something created by navel gazers in a sterile environment to prove how clever they are, but rather is the product of a band that are not going to conform to any pre-conceived ideas of what they should be producing but instead are out to do whatever they damn well please. I mean, what on earth is a prog band doing starting a song with a barbershop quartet? (“Because It’s There”), but within the feel of the album as a whole it makes total sense with what they are doing.

My album of the year, of any genre, is Clive Nolan’s ‘Alchemy’ (yes I know it’s only September, but given how often I am playing it I just can’t imagine anything else getting even close). But, although that features many famed progressive performers, it is in fact a theatrical musical production as opposed to a prog epic. When it comes to prog, I am convinced that I have found my album of the year and am listening to it now, as this is one of the most exciting and vibrant pieces of work that I have ever come across. The way that they can go from complex bombast to restrained and simple beauty, such as on “As Death Embraces” where the vocals and piano interplay is quite different to what has gone before, but still contains a compelling majesty.

Looking at reviews that have been posted in various places I note that not everyone shares my opinion, but life would certainly be boring if everyone had the same view on everything. However, if you have never heard Haken then the time to do it is now, and if you have, then you can rest assured that these guys have kept pushing the envelope to create something which is stunning, just stunning.
The Mountain (2013) is the third full-length album by UK progressive metal act Haken. If you haven't heard of these guys by now then I'm sure you're either a newbie to metal and/or progressive music or been living under a rock for the last few years. Ever since they released their debut album Aquarius (2010) the band has been going down a storm in most circles, which continued with the release of Visions (2011). Sure, like all the biggest bands out there they've got their share of detractors but I've seen more people acknowledging Haken as one of the best progressive metal bands of their generation. Having rated both their previous albums with top tier scores that's definitely an opinion this reviewer shares. Logic says that at some point Haken is going to deliver a release that doesn't make it up to the standard they've set for themselves and here they are in 2013 with a new album that bears a new logo and very different art style to its predecessors. Are these changes merely cosmetic or do they reflect that the music itself has changed in some way? Well, the answer is yes and no.

Let's start with the no. No, the music found on The Mountain is still very recognisable as the work of Haken. But also yes, because although they've never be afraid to mix and match their progressive metal with other genres, most notably the obvious candidate of progressive rock, The Mountain represents their most balanced work between the light and heavy music that they've released thus far. Of course, depending on who you ask, you could get told that Haken was always like that or perhaps even that they aren't a metal band at all (which is complete twaddle which likely stems from the metal elitists). They've always been an opinion divider on just about every level imaginable. The Mountain is however much less obviously metal orientated than their past work. But like Visions before it wasn't Aquarius II, The Mountain isn't Visions II, but another step on Haken’s musical journey. This is, and I believe others will agree with me here, one of the most important reasons that Haken have earned the high regard that they enjoy. They've never had to rehash their prior work to put out a new album, each one so far feels fresh and more exciting than other longer running progressive bands could hope to be (as much as I love them I’m looking primarily at Dream Theater here).

To continue along this train of thought the most major difference is that The Mountain is less symphonic than either Aquarius or Visions. Elements of symphonic metal can still be heard here and there though. The heavy riffs of the album sound heavier than ever when they hit despite the increased presence of progressive rock in the album, and as always the band draws on various ideas outside their business as usual including a cappella vocals in Cockroach King and Because it’s There, the latter of which they even sounds like some sort of hymn. There’s also a minor return of the growls heard on Aquarius albeit in backing vocal form during Pareidolia while musically you can also expect to hear orchestral and jazzy bits.

These descriptions seem to have been building up to saying that in the quality sense Haken hasn’t changed. But this is a yes and no answer as well. While I would easily count the majority of the album as some of their best work, with special mention to the epic Cockroach King as well as Atlas Stone and Pareidolia, there are also a few songs that only really work when taken in context of the whole album, whereas the songs of Aquarius and Visions worked in whatever way you wished to take them. The songs I’m referring to are mostly the shorter ones like opener The Path or As Death Embraces. Nice enough songs but they seem like filler next to the others. I also haven’t been able to appreciate closer Somebody quite as much as the choice cuts.

So back to the yes and no; yes because this is still overall a really awesome album from Haken that continues to show their progression as a band, but also no, because it’s the first full-length that has fallen (ever so slightly, mind) short of my standards for a top tier rating, although I have to be fair, in some senses this is their best album, so it’s a difficult one to rate. Haken didn’t quite reach the peak of their mountain, but as they climbed up most of the slope the album isn’t disappointing in any way. But at the end of the day I have to settle for a higher end exceptional tier rating. I love it, and I’m sure anyone who loved their past work will love it too, but as with many albums we love there are some minor flaws which suggest that it isn’t quite as good as it could be.


(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/haken-the-mountain-t3186.html)
Haken are a band I've avoided the past few years. Whether this was due to my slowly disdain towards the newer prog metal scene or whatever, I have kept these guys at bay for a while. So, being as stubborn as I am, I decided to give these guy's new album a listen.

Musically the band are completely on par. They play very complex music with ease and constantly are able to keep their listeners on their tones. They also aren't afraid to experiment with a lot of different genre and sounds. These guys aren't just a metal band, because a lot of their influences come from prog rock bands, instead of prog metal bands, so expect a wide palette. The band also use a lot of contrapuntal vocals, which give off a Spock's Beard vibe to certain sections in their songs.

Ross Jennings, the band's vocalist is definitely one of the reasons to get into the band. While most prog metal vocalists seem very forced, but Ross seems very comfortable with his range. In many ways, his vocals remind me of Vincent Cavanagh's from Anathema, but with a higher range.

One of the biggest highlights on the album, oddly enough is the artwork. It's been a long time since I've seen an albums artwork and have been spellbinded by the artwork inside the booklet. The artwork is also a perfect companion with the music of the album.

The opening track “The Path” reminds me of a Muse intro. A beautiful piano arrangement with some brilliant vocals from Ross.

“Atlas Stone” is probably the weakest song on the album. It does have some pretty moments, but compared to the rest of the album, it doesn't hold up. Still worth a listen I reckon.

One of the oddest songs on the album has to be “Cockroach King.” With musical moments that would have Frank Zappa impressed, the song is just one absolute crazy piece of music. The use of contrapuntal vocals is also an impressive feat as well.

“In Memoriam” could have been the single of the album. Definitly one of the heaviest tracks on the album. In fact, if these guys where to make a music video, I would love to see one for this song.

“Because It's There” is a composition mainly based on vocals. The use of contrapuntal vocals in the arrangement is brilliant.

The album's longest composition “Falling Back To Earth.” Split into 2 parts, the song has a brilliant chorus. The second part of the song is the real highlight, with a lot of recapitulation of the themes of the track.

“As Death Embraces” is a very beautiful piano ballad, which wouldn't be completely lost on a more recent Anathema album.

One of the most epic moments on the album comes in the form of “Pareidolia.” With a rather middle eastern sounding riff the song explodes and implodes with technical riffing and epic overlaying vocals.

The album closer “Somebody” is a pretty epic way to ending the album. Instead of being your standard ballad, the song has a lot of dark twists and turns and really is an interesting listen, and a brilliant way to end the album.

In conclusion, I was blown away by this album. 9 tracks which in total make up one brilliant experience. This album is one of the reasons I love music presented in 'albums.' Even though every song is as different as the last, they all flow together incredibly well. I'm not sure if this is there best album, mainly because I haven't their first 2, but if so, please tell me if the other 2 are worth a listen.


Members reviews

With their third album, Haken has taken a Gentle Giant pill to add a further sense of quirky eclecticism to their sound. Unfortunately, the end result is a less impactful album than their masterpiece, Visions. Haken doesn't pull their stab at transcendence on this installment, but it ultimately falls short of its goal. The trademark Haken use of wildly eclectic genres is still present; everything from video game noises to blast beats crop up on The Mountain, but the actual song-writing and album structure prevent them from reaching the summit that they are after. Sometimes, it feels like the band is trying to do too much and fails to adequately develop their ideas. Even though there's effective repetition of musical themes throughout the album, they never seem to build on each other in a meaningful way. The concept behind the album is moving on a human level, and there are some moments of isolated brilliance on The Mountain, but as an album it doesn't quite reach its mark.

When reviewing The Mountain, I may have sounded more critical than I would for another band, but with all the praise this album has gotten and with Haken's previous release as a comparison, I don't think The Mountain travels as high as it intends. That being said, it's still an excellent album from one of the best modern progressive rock bands, and it's definitely worth picking up after listening to Visions.

Rating: 7/10

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