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Visions

Visions

25 Oct 2011
4.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Haken's Second album after the excellent Aquarius, Visions carries on from where that album left off, but has a definate sent of refinement over that first album. The guitars take the lead more on this album, which really allows the two guitarists to spread their. wings. The riffs on this album are awesome.

Like a lot of "Prog Metal" Dream Theater is an obvious reference point, but this is not just a Dream Theater clone. They have less of the mechanical technicality of Dream Theater, but have a degree of warmth and feel that calls more to bands like Porcupine Tree or Tool. This gives the album a real sense of depth and emotion that can be lacking in more technical prog music.

Highlights of the album are the final two tracks - 'Deathless' and the 22 minute epic 'Vision. Both these songs really showcase the musical ability of this band, from the precussion through to the guitars and vocals. It's great to see a band that has ambition to try something complex and different in a musical landscape of sameyness.

It's not perfect - 'Shapeshifter' is easily the weakest song on the album, and while not bad is just a bit plodding and doesn't really go anywhere. And at times the precussion seems a little low down in the mix, which removes some of the heavyness from the album. But these are small nigggles on an otherwise great album, and considering this is only album #2, I can see great things ahead for this band.
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Format: Audio CD
Released roughly one year and a half after Haken's debut Aquarius, Visions is a tighter, more guitar-focused album. Like its predecessor, it is a musical journey well worth taking, though the concept behind it is rather obscure and hard to make sense of (something about a boy who has a vision of his own death)
A little bit about Haken's music: they oscillate between heavy and melodic parts, with solos and some experimental moments thrown in. It reminded me of Symphony X and Dream Theater, but their style is very recognizably their own. As a consequence of their originality and complex compositions, their albums might take a few listens to love and a whole lot more to truly appreciate all that the band has achieved in it.
One of the such achievement is how structured and balanced the album is. Listening to the whole album at once is a much more enjoyable experience than simply listening to individual songs.

1- Premonition - The album's overture, a joy to listen to.
2- Nocturnal Conspiracy - One out of many album highlights, an epic with some extremely melodic moments.
3- Insomnia - A good song, releases the steam after Nocturnal Conspiracy.
(Tracks 4 to 6 are a suite of sorts)
4- The Mind's Eye - Catchy, inspired and with great progression.
5- Portals - Instrumental, guitar-focused, somewhat hypnotic.
6- Shapeshifter - The album's weakest song. Still, it has some memorable moments.
7- Deathless - Absolutely beautiful. A soft, perfect song.
8- Visions - 22-minute epic, a magnificent conclusion to this amazing album. After listening to this song about 15 times in the past week, there's nothing that I would change in it. The brilliant ending just makes you want to start the album all over again.
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
I am going to try and be as impartial and objective on this review as possible (but I will most likely epically fail as I go along). I am not normally driven to write reviews but having known of this band for a little while, and very much liking their first major effort, Aquarius, I feel I have no choice. Quite simply Visions is a stunning album. The highlights are simply too many to mention, and after my second listen I am continuing to find more, such is the complexity and intricacy of this album. That said I think it is a more accessible album than Aquarius, and to me that is a huge compliment as to make an album that will appeal to die hard fans of the genre as well as the more casual listener shows that all involved are demonstrating an immense talent in both musicianship and song writing. If pushed on a favourite track at this stage it would be 'The Mind's Eye', some of the riffs and guitar work from Charlie Griffiths and Richard Henshall are quite frankly epic. And throughout the album you have some beautiful keys work from Diego and simply one of the best bass and drum/percussion combinations in Tom Maclean and Raymond Hearne that I have heard in a very long time (up there with some of the best, Tool, Dream Theater, you name it). Combine those elements with inspired use of a string and horn section and wonderfully judged and delivered vocals from Ross Jennings and you have an album that will continue to reward you listen after listen. Lastly there has to be a mention on the production and mixing of this album: superb. Listen to this through good headphones or speakers and it will stun you.

I'm looking forward to the third album and a gig in Dublin, hopefully soon.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Firstly I'm some what surprised that there are not more reviews of this wonderful CD. The music flows
beautifully-is melodic,edgy,soaring-certainly grabs you. I've played this Cd several times now and the enjoyment factor never diminishes on the contrary it gets better. I also got their first CD Aquarius which was also excellent, however, I prefer Visions. To me it's more mature and has a togetherness which I felt Aquarius lacked some what. This is stunning music played by highly talented and creative musicians.
Go ahead buy, and enjoy!
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