Album Review: Haken – Virus (InsideOutMusic)

Since releasing ‘Vector’ in October 2018, Haken have completed headline tours the world over, played sold-out shows across Europe and North America as support for Devin Townsend and picked up a Progaward for their efforts too! All the while, they have been quietly, secretly working on the follow-up album, entitled ‘Virus’.

Captured at SECC on 09December,2019 by Max Taylor Grant

Drummer Ray Hearne reveals:

Since releasing ‘The Mountain’ in 2013, one question has been asked of us time and time again, ‘who is the Cockroach King?’. This is something we were interested in exploring more deeply too, so we essentially did that through our music; elaborating and expanding upon the intervallic, harmonic, rhythmic and lyrical themes of that song. The end result is in an arc which spans across two albums: ‘Vector’ and ‘Virus’”.

Virus will be released on June 5th 2020 via InsideOutMusic.

Fast, heavy and with some flair… Haken come roaring out of the gates with an eerie and exciting opener. Prosthetic has the riffs flying, the melodies dark and nailing a progressive edge to keep things sounding very sharp.

The eclectic monotone nature of Invasion is very unsettling but the track really comes into its own with bursts of energetic guitars. The way in which it develops is truly outstanding but the broad-minded effort that is Carousel is where Haken truly excel. The jerky riffs, the jabs of drums and excellent vocals are outstanding but the evolution of the track as it goes on (over 10 minutes long) is what most will remember.

It almost seems like a step back with The Strain, that is until Haken just throw everything at the wall to see what sticks. Unsurprisingly it is a hell of a lot. Whereas Canary Yellow is surprisingly up-lifting. The melodies filling the heart and soul will light.

Then we have the five parts of Messiah Complex. An epic and very unique journey that begins with a flurry of riffs before switching it up with some mellow tones and capping it off with a strong chorus (Ivory Tower). Which follows into the furious fretwork of A Glutton for Punishment and without breaking a sweat into Marigold. Although here things go off the rails somewhat, aside from the incredible thump of the percussion.

Like their madness is growing and getting deeper, The Sect is 2 minutes of insanity. The screeching saxophone and chip-tunes will be enough to convince you of that. Hold on to your faculties though as Haken then deliver an absolute head-banger with Ectobius Rex. The final part of the stunning Messiah Complex series.

It’s not the closing track of the album though. No, that comes in the melodramatic form of Only Stars. A soft and emotive outro.

One of the most unusual but thrilling releases of 2020.

Haken – Virus Full Track Listing:

1. Prosthetic
2. Invasion
3. Carousel
4. The Strain
5. Canary Yellow
6. Messiah Complex i: Ivory Tower
7. Messiah Complex ii: A Glutton for Punishment
8. Messiah Complex iii: Marigold
9. Messiah Complex iv: The Sect
10. Messiah Complex v: Ectobius Rex
11. Only Stars


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Haken - Virus (InsideOutMusic)
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