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Haken’s The Mountain: U Jam?

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Haken The Mountain

Even metal dudes who aren’t into prog may have heard about Haken, this UK prog sextet whose third album The Mountain came out Tuesday. It’s not that the band’s hype is huge, but that it’s sorta pervasive amid the ongoing Dream Theater news cycle. The proximity of their records’ release dates means that comparison is natural, so many recent DT news items are trailed by comments about Haken and The Mountain‘s suitability for DT fans. Many suggest gently (lol) that it’s superior to Dream Theater (out Tuesday).

That’s debatable. The Mountain surely feels fresher (especially to ears that’ve endured DT’s 32 albums), and its foppish-UK-cheese is less embarrassing than DT’s new-age-greeting-card cheese. A bonus for prog dudes is that The Mountain is a chore, an overlong, indulgent, and occasionally annoying odyssey — and a proggist is happy to loudly reject immediacy. Still, fans of Porcupine Tree and Katatonia will love The Mountain‘s moody melodies, if not its flights of wankery. The latter will tantalize those in a mood for Petrucci-type fun, though unsatisfied they will be with the infrequency of heavy riffage. It’s basically just barely too heavy to be mistaken for Cairo. But not too heavy to open a co-headline tour of Devin Townsend and Zamfir.

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