This is an album that I’ve been replaying for such a long time that I started resuggesting to friends because I’ve forgotten about the first time. Well, it was released in July so that’s about half a year, not sure if that’s a while or I’m just forgetful. Anyhow point is that every time I listen to it again I feel that rush of hearing something really noteworthy. Some tracks are more light, some are more heavy, some keep a steady pace, some are slower, but they are all moons orbiting around the same progressitve metal planet. I had this idea of comparing it to Tool, although it is not at all in the same vein but I’m thinking about the sophistication of it’s own prog metal sound. And in that sense Haken became one of my new favorite metal bands in 2020.
It is a fantastic nordic metal record with prog, heavy, and black elements mixed in. But whatever it is, the one track Urjotun is one mind blowing single track that is right there amonst the top 3 of 2020 for sure. Right as the synth beat and drum groove starts (and just by typing this it’s clear how non-typical this song is on the album) I get goosebumps, and then it goes into a black metal march just to go clean after a minute and get back to the synth and groove again. It is not at all a nordic metal thing, much rather some industrial rock thing on par with the best of Killing Joke, but then melts it with Enslave’s burning voice making it their own. This song is just epic.
It has a post-rock atmosphere with prog-rock elements but a metal sound. Apparently this is post-metal or prog-metal, which I’m not too familiar with as a genre, probably should be. But then again I guess Tool could fall in this category, too, I’ve just never thought of them this way. And thinking about it this way I ralize the difference between post-metal and prog-metal. Tool is more on the prock-metal side essentially coming from a prog-rock/art-rock angle just adding more metal weight to instrumentation. While The Ocean is more heavy on the post-rock vibe with epic instrumental spaces where massive and rhythm-heavy riffs bridge calm and sorrow melodic sections.
In any case, this is a fantastic record, takes me on a journey, and I definitely want to follow it up with its successor Phanerozoic II right away.
Heavy. Deep. Touching. And all that once again. And again. Powerful. This is nothing I have seen coming, and a beautiful surprise that is.
In a way reminds me of the latest Karyn Crisis record, and that is a good thing. Oh yes, that is a good thing. These records make me believe once again and again that metal is here to stay with me.