Three years after “Virus”, Haken returns with their seventh studio album, “Fauna”, pushing their musical boundaries and experimenting with their sound while still maintaining their signature style. The new album also marks the return of their original keyboardist, Peter Jones. To be honest, I was never a fan of the band, despite the fact that they have released some excellent songs throughout their career.
The modern, djent, and pop elements have enhanced their sound and made it more delicate, yet some older fans may not like the change as much, while new fans may find it more interesting.
The album kicks off with “Taurus”, which is easily the greatest song on the album, but after that we get a mixed bag. “Nightingale” overstays its welcome and becomes somewhat boring after a while. “The Alphabet of Me” is somewhat unlistenable… it’s like a manual of what to avoid when writing a song. These System of a Down-like vocals are a parody. “Sempiternal Beings” is simply okay, but way too long. Let me clarify that you do not need to write long songs to be progressive. Several bands think this way and end up ruining some nice song ideas. “Beneath the White Rainbow” is a very experimental track that becomes a bit messy, without reason, at times. “Island in the Clouds” has the Haken trademark sound and structure and is one of the songs that their fans will enjoy the most. “Lovebite” is a modern prog track with pop sensibilities and djent elements. I kinda like it as it blends several elements well and has a nice chorus. “Elephants Never Forget” is the longest track on the album, clocking in at over 11 minutes. It is largely influenced by Gentle Giant (it’s the simplest way to refer to plagiarism). “Eyes of Ebony” has a soft and gently side and a modern and djenty one. Not that bad.
Generally, “Fauna” is not an album that will easily please the prog metal/rock freaks. This album is likely to appeal to those who fancy more modern and djent stuff. In my opinion, the album lacks the nice melodies and it feels too pretentious. They appear to be trying to create something elegant and classy, but they inevitably fail, and as a result, they are rather lost within their inspirations, offering a mixed bag of ideas. Certainly not my thing… proceed carefully.