Fauna by HakenRelease date: March 3, 2023
Label: InsideOut Music
Haken has proven listeners that they’re going into a different path after releasing their sixth studio album, Virus. Once Diego Tejeida parted ways with the band to follow his own musical vision two years ago, original keyboardist Peter Jones returned to the form by getting their engines revved up, starting the ignitions, and blasting off into space with their latest follow-up, Fauna.
The album cover says it all. With its art deco atmosphere, and something straight out of the first two BioShock games, Fauna is one of their most grandiose, ambitious, and balls-to-the-wall releases, by proving themselves to turn the heat levels up, even more. And it becomes hotter than hell!
And those flaming fires just got even bigger throughout the several highlights on this bad boy. On ‘Beneath the White Rainbow’ the time signatures are off the charts! You get a sense that the sextet have unleashed this Frankenstein as he creates this cross-over between The Mars Volta, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and the Diablo Swing Orchestra, combined into one giant delicious smoothie.
The 11-minute epic ‘Elephants Never Forget’ is where Haken have decided to throw the rule book into the fires, and doing whatever the hell they want. There’s the pop, alternative, avant-metal, operatic twists, futuristic crunches, and tidal waving arrangements. The blistering effects that Henshall and Griffiths do on the piece, makes it even more awesome.
It’s almost as if they were chess players, playing at the tournament, knowing who will be the champion of all chess players. But throughout their fret work, top to bottom, they have each others back. From rhythms, riffs, and lead-like textures, you can tell that Brian May is in the studio watching these guys, duel with each other like crazy whilst he is smiling in the control room being in awe of the duo.
They work well together as a team while Jennings and Hearne decide when to come in, and when to come out at the same time throughout the piece. Opening track ‘Taurus’ says it all.
From its attacking introduction, which has an alarming tone, you feel as if you’re at war with your own true self in the mirror, and the situation of paranoia hits home like a ton of bricks collapsing all over you. There’s elements of the Visions album as the band return to the ‘Nocturnal Conspiracy’ universe by reprising sections of the song by bringing the story in full.
But once ‘Lovebite’ comes in, there’s elements of The Police’s Zenyatta Mondatta period, thrown into the mix. With its new wave, ska, and post-rock influences, Haken channels their love of the album by bringing in a lot of these throttling midsections with an 8-bit video game score that’s out of this world!
‘Sempiternal Beings’ is like the dance of death. They’ve created this intensive composition in the forms of a tango-like crosswalk in the middle of a highway, not knowing when the cars will these two people who made a deal with the devil.
It’s almost as if the clock itself has started ticking rapidly in the last three minutes of the song. You can imagine the band members need to save these two dancers before the clock strikes at midnight. If they don’t make it in time, they will be doomed.
Like a stick of dynamite, ready to erupt at any second, Haken have come back with more energy fuels, pumped up in the air. And they’re not backing down without a fight. Because the ammunition that’s on Fauna, it’s even bigger!