Restoration (CD-EP)

SKU: 0506942
Label:
Inside Out Music
Add to wishlist 

"It has been an eventful year or so in the world of Haken. In September 2013, the sextet released what can only be described as a masterpiece of progressive music in the form of their third album, the magnificent ‘The Mountain’. This album received almost universal critical acclaim upon its release and even led to interest from the likes of Mike Portnoy (Flying Colors, Transatlantic) and Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess. In the case of the former, it led to an invitation to play the inaugural ‘Progressive Nation At Sea’, but thanks to both ringing endorsements, the door to the American market has opened more widely of late. And if that wasn’t enough, Haken recently received no less than three nominations in the Progressive Music Awards, quite an achievement for a band so relatively young.

However, with the smooth, also comes the rough and almost immediately following the release of this ‘breakthrough’ album, bassist Tom MacLean announced his departure from Haken. An apparently amicable split, it was nevertheless a hurdle that had to be overcome at a point when the largest wave of the band’s career was about to be crested. An international audition invitation was extended and, following an extensive search, a young American by the name of Conner Green was assimilated into the Haken collective. Welcome sir!

In many ways, ‘Restoration’ a three-track EP is as much a bedding-in of their new colleague as it is an opportunity to maintain the momentum created by ‘The Mountain’ whilst a new full-length album is brought to life. That said, to consider ‘Restoration’ a stop-gap is disingenuous in the extreme. It may only contain three tracks, but when the three tracks last well over half an hour and sound this good, who cares?

The three compositions that make up this EP are very loosely based on tracks from the bands 2007/08 demo days, thoroughly re-envisioned, re-worked and re-produced in order to reflect the changing personnel and the experience gained since the demos were originally written. The result is, frankly, stunning.

Whilst it took me a good many spins and many hours of effort to get fully submerged into the world of ‘The Mountain’, the music on ‘Restoration’ is much more immediate to these ears. No less complex and challenging of course, but for some reason, the music has ‘clicked’ much more quickly here.

The EP opens up with ‘Darkest Light’, (Official video below) an energetic track that ably demonstrates the up-tempo and powerful side of Haken well. It’s an agile composition too that alters pace and timing signatures seemingly at will and pulls in influences from everyone from Dream Theater to Meshuggah. The latter is primarily due to the impressive combination of Ray Hearne’s powerful drumming, the chunky guitar tones courtesy of Charlie Griffiths and Richard Henshall and Green’s intricate bass work. Importantly however, the song is never derivative and contains everything you now expect from a band at the height of their powers. It’s a piece of music that oozes class but also offers that touch of playful cheekiness that has become synonymous with the Haken sound.

‘Earthlings’ is a completely different proposition entirely. For my money, its closest reference point would be ‘Deathless’ from ‘Visions’ in so far as it is a much more introspective track with real atmosphere and a quiet, brooding intensity that is utterly beguiling. The melodies are much more immediate, much more pronounced and the whole thing builds beautifully and stubbornly towards a fulfilling climax that pushes all the right buttons.

The undisputed star of the show however, is ‘Crystallised’. At over 19 minutes, it offers a return of the Haken ‘epic’, joining the likes of ‘Visions’ and ‘Celestial Elixir’ in an already formidable armoury. If anything, ‘Crystallised’ may be even better than the aforementioned, thereby easily taking its place among the very best that Haken has ever created.

First and foremost, the sheer ambition is staggering. The composition begins unassumingly enough but quickly reveals a more grandiose underbelly thanks to some lush orchestral arrangements. From then on, the gloves well and truly come off and Haken take us on a wondrous journey full of twists and turns, light and shade, lengthy and dextrous instrumental segments and gorgeous melodies that stay with you long after the music has ended.

There are echoes of those Gentle Giant influences and nods towards ‘Cockroach King’ et al in some of the a capella segments as well as hints of ‘Pareidolia’ at other times, thanks to that by now familiar delivery of vocalist Ross Jennings. Never once do the extended instrumental passages, led by the flamboyant keys of Diego Tejeida feel contrived or out of place; they are full of those classic progressive overindulgences, further reinforcing the importance of the likes of Yes, early Genesis and many others, but crucially, they fit in with the core of the composition and seamlessly segue from one to another perfectly.

And then, everything comes together in what I can only describe as a stunningly epic finale, the kind where the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end and you find yourself grinning from ear to ear, enveloped in a musical utopia. The melodies are so uplifting and gorgeous that, coupled with the grandiose return of the orchestral embellishments, mere words find it hard to adequately express just how good it makes you feel.

The bones of these songs may have been written many years ago in the band’s infancy. However, they have been brought back to life in the most brilliant way possible; taking everything that’s been good about the band in recent years and applying them to their early past to create something truly special. I only wish that ‘Restoration’ was six, seven or eight songs long. Mind you, if it were, I think I might have fainted from bliss before reaching the conclusion." - Man Of Much Metal blog

There are no review yet. Be the first!

Product Review

You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • Daevid Allen is back with a reconstituted version of Gong.  Part of the new lineup features Kavus Korabi (Knifeworld, Cardiacs) and Dave Sturt (Jade Warrior).  There is a great vibe to the album and it doesn't stray from the classic sound."The enduring legend that is Gong multi National, multi dimensional Psychedelic combo enters yet another new phase on their four decades plus journey with I See You, a brand new album to be released on the Madfish label.The current incarnation of Gong comprises vocalist / lyricist Daevid Allen, who, even at the age of seventy five, still radiates an incandescent creativity, the original anarchic vibe that was born out of counter culture revolution in the Paris commune in 1968. His co conspirators on I See You comprise Orlando Allen on drums, new guitarist Kavus Torabi (formerly of The Cardiacs) and the latest guitar incumbent in a band whose ranks have included the likes of Steve Hillage and Mark Hewins, horn player Ian East Wind , sinuous bass propulsion provided by Dave Sturt (the sonic manipulator), and Brazilian Fabio Golfetti who weaves his own lysergic patterns on guitar. This collective create an impressive, multi layered and irrepressible sound that creates its own world and then populates it with a series of dazzling musical gems, melodically rich, lyrically engaging and musically refreshed.I See You is both timeless and timely, a welcome antidote to an increasingly homogenised musical mainstream. Tracks such as This Revolution, a spoken piece which name checks Gil Scott Heron and picks up on the vibe of his The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, articulates the kind of concerns and theories that have always inspired Daevid Allen and informed the Gong worldview, contrasts with the ferocious inter stellar Funk of You See Me, which is sure to be a live favourite. Thank You is a heavy slab of Psychedelicised Blues, whilst Shakti Yoni Dingo Virgin is a moody, melodic instrumental piece that serves to illustrate the immense musical firepower and musical diversity that lurks within the current line up of Gong."
    $8.00
  • Somehow this one slipped past us last year but we've finally gotten it in stock now. Devil's Slingshot is the trio of Virgil Donati (drums), Billy Sheehan (bass), and Tony MacAlpine (guitars/keys). So basically this is the band that toured with Steve Vai. The material was composed by either Donati or MacAlpine. Although there is plenty of shred to go around it doesn't bludgeon you out of the gate. The tunes tend to set up a groove from MacAlpine to solo over (this isn't really a surprise). Far more tasteful music than I expected to be perfectly honest. Bass legend Bunny Brunel guests on one track.
    $15.00
  • Superb quality live recording from Radio Bremen in early '71 featuring Dean, Ratledge, Hopper, and Hyatt.
    $15.00
  • AlieNatura is the second album from this superb band playing in the classic "rock progressivo italiano" style.  The band is led by keyboardist Elisa Montaldo, who is as impressive on the ears as she is on the eyes (pardon the sexist comment).  One of the strong points of the band's debut was the inclusion in the lineup of former Museo Rosenbach vocalist Lupi Galifi.  With MR reforming he's left Il Tempio Delle Clessidre.  The obvious concern is who could fill his shoes?  Apparently the unknown Francesco Ciapica.  Truth is he does a fine job.  The guy can sing.  He has that expressive style that fits this music so perfectly.  Beautiful symphonic keyboards, liquid guitar runs, phat Moog solos - this band has the sound down pat.  The Italian scene seems to be burgeoning with new RPI bands and I would classify Il Tempio Delle Clessidre right up there with La Maschera Di Cera.  That's saying something.  BUY OR DIE!
    $16.00
  • "The Aristocrats by any measure the hottest new band in instrumental rock/fusion today rewrote their own rules for their third studio album, Tres Caballeros. After two fairly raw trio albums, guitarist Guthrie Govan (Steven Wilson, Asia/GPS), bassist Bryan Beller (Joe Satriani, Dethklok) and drummer Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani) set up camp at legendary Sunset Sound studios in Hollywood, CA, where Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Van Halen all recorded landmark albums. The result: Nine new compositions of greater sonic depth and breadth than ever before, with unique textures and lush layering augmenting the band s preternatural ability to improvise at the highest levels possible. But it s all still tempered with a steadfast refusal to take themselves too seriously, and The Aristocrats are still having more fun than a fusion band has any right to have. We ve learned a lot since we started this band four years, three studio albums, two live DVDs and about a billion notes ago! and I think our latest offering reflects this in all kinds of ways, says guitarist Guthrie Govan. The decision to road-test our new material in front of a live audience before commencing the recording process; the choice to record in a studio which had some thoroughly inspiring rock'n'roll "mojo"; our sudden urge to become more bold and experimental with overdubs rather than feeling any pressure to record exclusively in a strict trio format... all of this has had some kind of positive effect on the way the new record came out. Plus, I think the material on this album is some of the most interesting stuff we ve ever written for each other, so... here s hoping our noble listeners will like the finished product as much as we do!"
    $13.00
  • "Italy's Odd Dimension burst on the progressive metal in 2011 with their surprising and entertaining debut album Symmetrical. Most of the intrigue came from both from their creativity and accessible complexity of their prog, generated from prior experimentation with various metal and rock genres.Their sophomore release, The Last Embrace to Humanity continues to reflect some of that experimentation. The album might even be a tale of two discs. The previous release, generally, was more heavier prog metal and so is this one, notably at the start. The Unknown King, Under My Creed, and Dissolving into the World are a rush of ambitious and blistering prog. You find this at the end as well in Far from Desires.But what's in between is a bit different. Not everything here is always heavy; it's more subtle and nuanced when it comes. It's So Late, which features Michele Luppi (Vision Divine, Secret Sphere), nears more melodic, though heavier, progressive rock. Another Time and Fortune and Pain, which follow, seems to want to invoke heavy metal but in the end turns on a stirring metal-rock fusion. The latter third of Fortune and Pain, notable in the guitar, sounds like metal-jazz fusion. The New Line of Times takes all these things, abandons the aggressive metal, and develops an epic song of pure melodic prog metal.Not dismissing the other songs, but these four songs are strength and surprise of The Last Embrace to Humanity. They also show once more the impressive talent and creativity of Odd Dimension. But we knew that already, didn't we. Easily recommended." - Danger Dog
    $14.00
  • Riverside's latest takes a bit of a swerve from their traditional sound.  Parts of the album bears the imprint of Mariusz Duda's solo work - its more laid back, more refined.  Other aspects of the album carry on with the sound that Riverside has developed over recent albums - chunky organ, trippy keyboard soloing and interstellar guitarwork.  This one is a grower.  At first listen it might not hit you but the more you scrape away at it the more you realize its dug deeper under your skin."For the past decade or so, Polish progressive rock/metal quartet Riverside set itself apart from their stylstiic brethren by offering distinguishing tones, mesmerizing atmospheres, and most importantly, remarkable songwriting. Sure, the band also infuses much of its music with the intricacy genre enthusiasts expect, but their melancholic, yet beautiful and earnest melodies and lyrics (credited mostly to singer/songwriter/bassist Mariusz Duda) have always come first. Perhaps nowhere in its discography is this more apparent than on their newest opus, Love, Fear and the Time Machine.Although it features a few complex arrangements, the record is by far Riverside’s most straightforward and accessible collection to date, showcasing a proclivity for upfront compositions like never before. While this may disappoint fans who adore the group’s more tangential, frantic instrumentation, rest assured that the album’s stunning emotionality and breathtaking arrangements more than make up for it. Without a doubt, Love, Fear and the Time Machine features some of the most gorgeous, tragic, and ultimately inspiring pieces Riverside have ever recorded, making it another exceptional entry in an invaluable catalog.According to Duda, the effort is a return to the softer, more ambient nature of Riverside’s debut, 2004’s Out of Myself. In fact, the foursome intentionally composed it “to combine the ‘70s and the ‘80s…[the songs] have never been so concise and to the point before.” Because of this new approach, the disc actually evokes Duda’s other project, Lunatic Soul, in subtle but substantial ways at times. Like almost all of Riverside’s previous works, Love, Fear and the Time Machine is also a conceptual record; specifically, it “talk[s] about transformation. About making an important, perhaps life-changing decision everyone has to make at some point in their lives…on the one hand, we’re excited by the change…[but] on the other, we fear the unknown.” Ultimately, the lesson to be learned from it is that “if we sometimes get lost in life, it is to go through something and be found again on the other side, to be reborn as someone better and more valuable.”Fittingly, then, the sequence starts with “Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened by a Hat?)”, which is arguably its best track. Duda begins by reciting a philosophical recollection over a delicate ether of keyboards and bass and guitar notes. Afterward, he launches into a catchy and charming chorus: “Come follow me / We’ll go down / Where the river flows / One day / Just you and I will find a bridge / To another land”. Duda layers his voices too, making it even more gripping, and in-between his passages, guitarist Piotr Grudziński issues his signature soaring accompaniment as the composition evolves. Drummer Piotr Kozieradzki keeps things steady throughout, while keyboardist Michał Łapaj gets the spotlight during the final seconds. Ultimately, “Lost” exemplifies the magnificent succinctness that makes Love, Fear and the Time Machine distinctive in the Riverside canon.Later on, “#Addicted” truly feels like a progressive rock take on the Cure in several ways, such as its dominant bass lines, starry guitar lines, and wistful singing which finds Duda channeling a silky falsetto he’s never really attempted before. There’s also a brief acoustic guitar arpeggio at the end that’s very enjoyable. Lyrically, it serves as a commentary on how social media can transform people into egocentric users who base their self-worth on their digital populiarty. In this way, both its lyrics and music find Riverside stretching slightly beyond its comfort zone, but the result is undeniably, well, addictive.“Caterpillar and the Barbed Wire” feels more traditional, with Duda’s sorrowful confessions and counterpoints perfectly complemented by sharp guitar riffs, aching solos, enveloping percussion, and a moving layer of synthesized splendor. Honestly, it’s like a heartbreaking and somewhat more colorful missing track from Shine of New Generation Slaves, whereas “Saturate Me” contains the sleek yet eccentric tones and virtuosic yet blunt balance that made up the best moments on Rapid Eye Movement. Of course, its sad ponderings, such as “Am I Invisible? / Or alive? / I don’t want to feel like I’m no one anymore”, are archetypal Riverside sentiments, and the interlocking musical patterns (especially near the end) are equally touching.The most commercial segment on Love, Fear and the Time Machine is surely “Discard Your Fear”; however, despite that typically negative connotation, the song’s approachability doesn’t get in the way of its worth. Rather, it’s uplifting message and relatively simple and familiar construction could earn Riverside an entirely new camp of fans. It’s actually quite cathartic, as is the dreamy and tasteful “Toward the Blue Horizon”, which begins and ends as a luscious ode (with lovely piano chords) while transforming into a progressive metal workout in the middle.Both of the record’s final two pieces—“Time Travellers” and “Found (The Unexpected Flaw of Searching)”—are wonderful. The former is an exquisite acoustic ballad about past possibilities and the unforeseen future. Its winding melodies and spaciousness are the standout features, as the rest of the band lets Duda’s voice lead the way, resulting in a simple but commanding experience. In contrast, the latter is more elaborate, impactful, and conclusive, with a strong sense of closure and acceptance, as the speaker realizes the importance of his or her experiences, uncertainties, and decisions. The music builds with great pacing, adding more beautiful layers as the chorus (“It’s a lovely life / You have gone so far / Don’t give it up / Oh, it’s a lovely life / Gotta go with what you think is right”) repeats with sleek harmonies. By the end, listeners are left in awe, reevaluating their own sense of purpose and optimism.Love, Fear and the Time Machine is likely the most polarizing record Riverside has made, as it could be considered both the band’s strongest and weakest full-length effort. Fans hoping for virtuosic jams and unexpected sounds won’t really find them here, while fans looking for more of Riverside’s token elegant instrumentation, affective melodies, and poetic, rich singing will be satisfied beyond measure. Either way, Love, Fear and the Time Machine definitely finds its creators reaching for new, if marginally different, heights, which is commendable in and of itself. Roughly ten years on, Riverside remains as special as ever, and Love, Fear and the Time Machine is, in several ways, its truest work of art." - Pop Matters
    $12.00
  • "Founding members of the Rock In Opposition movement, Univers Zero have continued to change and grow and develop over their entire career, while still keeping a ensemble sound and spirit that is easily recognizable. Relaps presents something that Univers Zero's fans have been hoping for for decades; a peek into the recorded archives of one of the greatest avant-rock ensembles since mid 1970s! This CD documents the final 1980s line-ups of Univers Zéro before the band's long sabbatical from recording and touring. The live sound is excellent throughout and the CD features a 16 page booklet with a informative history of the band during this time period as well as rare, never-seen photos. The line-ups featured on Relaps are the quintet who recorded UZED and the septet who recorded Heatwave. The material is drawn from those two albums, with the live setting providing some different arrangements and even greater fire to the pieces; I found the pieces taken from Heatwave to be particularly inspiring and outrageous. There is also a short, otherwise unheard composition included here. While UZ continue to play truely awesome gigs and develop the material that will be found on their next studio album, Relaps provides a chance for the listener to catch up with some never-released and exciting recordings from a truly classic band"
    $15.00
  • "Now We Have Light is the third Sanguine Hum album, following on from the acclaimed albums Diving Bell and the Weight of the World. Now We Have Light is a double CD concept album. Unusually with this record, it is also something that the band have been working on for over a decade, and its roots go right back to the days of Antique Seeking Nuns, which was the earliest project that guitarist Joff Winks and keyboard player Matt Baber collaborated on. During this time they hatched a truly bizarre conceptual story to hang even more music around - a work that perhaps was too ambitious for them at the time, and one which took the formation of Sanguine Hum to make it a feasible challenge to complete. Somewhat like a twisted mix of Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, Frank Zappa's Joe's Garage and the Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Now We Have Light is a future parable set in an entirely possible scenario, in which entirely impossible events start occurring.Although a core group of songs were written for this album as far back as 2002, the band were inspired by the most recent Sanguine Hum material to revisit the old tunes and where needed develop and rewrite what already existed, whilst also creating a large amount of brand new music at the same time. Ultimately, it has come to represent a definitive cross section of all the work that they have made as Antique Seeking Nuns, Joff Winks Band, Nunbient and Sanguine Hum thus far. Recorded once again in Oxford, at Evolution Studios, the double album features alongside Joff Winks and Matt Baber, original bassist Brad Waissman and, making his second studio appearance with the band, Henry Fool and No-Man drummer, Andrew Booker. Also, the band invited renowned UK jazz vibraphone player, Jim Hart, to perform on several tracks, which marks the first time that a guest musician has appeared on a Sanguine Hum album. The package comes wrapped in a striking cover of illustrations from graphic artist Meriel Waissman.Now We Have Light is arguably the finest album to date from Sanguine Hum, one of the most innovative bands in modern Progressive music." 
    $19.00
  • This is a limited edition release that combines the regular 2 CD live set with a complete DVD (NTSC format) of the concert!In addition to a load of bonus material the DVD concert features the following tracks:Intro/Lift OffSet Your ControlsHigh MoonDreamtimeEyes of TimeSongs of the OceanDawn of a Million SoulsThe Dream SequencerKeyboard soloInto the Black HoleActual FantasyValley of the QueensIsis and OsirisAmazing Flight in SpaceBass soloIntergalactic Space CrusadersCastle HallThe Eye of RaStarchildThe Two Gates 
    $17.00
  • "Not just a lazy remix of Traces, so different it sounds like a completely different album. Some truly astounding reworkings on here, each one a very distinct, yet worthy, departure from the original. In particular, check out the Red Earth version of Threads, shivers all down my spine!!! This will definitely be on my personal playlist for a long time. The original version was one of my favourite releases of this year, now the Falling to Pieces EP has meant a superb end to what has been a sterling year for great Prog releases. So, don't hesitate about waiting for a new Nine Stones Close album, it's already here and just waiting for you to fall in love with it!!!" - ProgArchives
    $3.00
  • "Four years after their first, the mighty band of Oakland, led by guitarist / vocalist Wally Scharold, presents its new production, with a renewed line-up that keeps faith with its distinctive style reaching a full maturity in avant-garde rock. The complexity of the melodic lines, broken and involving the whole ensemble (with a substantial role for the wind section), the incessant rhythm characterized by continuous changes of measure, the “dirty” vocals by Scharold alternating to that of saxophonist Jamison Smeltz, make this release a new milestone for lovers of RIO and the avantgarde."
    $18.00
  • Third album from this New Jersey symphonic rock band.  All of the band's albums are conceptual pieces based around literary works.  In fact the band's name is derived from a Ray Bradbury story.  On A Dark And Stormy Night is based on Madeleine L'Engle's fantasy novel of the same name.  The album is a wet dream for any fan of symphonic prog.  As I make my way through the album I'm frequently reminded of some similarities to Glass Hammer.  This is very keyboard driven music with a healthy amount of guitar leads.  There are even some nice Mellotron sounds popping up now and then.  These guys dream big and hit the mark.  Highly recommended.
    $11.00
  • A new release from Causa Sui is like money in the bank.  The new Live At Freak Valley is no exception.  The live milieu is where the band really shines.  If you are unfamilar with the band you should know that the band's origins date back to the stoner scene but they evolved into something different - something more psychedelic - more organic.  The quartet features Jakob Skott (drums), Jonas Munk (guitar), Jess Kahr (bass), and Rasmus Rasmussen (keyboards).  The band goes off on looooong instrumental jams.  Munk's guitarwork has a beautiful fluidity that plays off of Rasmussen's keyboards which tend to surge to the forefront like waves on the ocean - or sit back and become a nice supporting backdrop for Munk's lead work.  I love when Munk burst out with a chunk of heavy riffage that recalls their stoner days.  Reminds me of vintage Zeppelin!  Highly recommended.
    $23.00