Haken – Fauna – Album Review

Haken – Fauna – Album Review

8th March 2023 0 By George Simpson

I often think of prog-rock albums as taking the listener on a bit of a journey. You sit back and let yourself be carried along as the music takes you off into the musical stratosphere, before you arrive back in the here and now an hour or so later. Brit Prog Rock standard bearers Haken‘s new album Fauna leads you through the wardrobe door into Narnia, where you encounter more than you ever imagined. 

When starting this album, they approached it with a ‘no limits’ attitude. Nothing was off limits, and boy does that show here. I’ve never known so much to be crammed into an hour of music in my life. Each song is packed with numerous influences, genres and tempo changes, you can’t take it all in on one listen. The beauty of this approach is that you discover something new with each listen. It all makes for a compelling listen.


Though not a concept album per se, there is a theme running through the album. They decided at the beginning of the writing process that each song would be about a different animal. However, this has developed so that some songs are about the animals’ relationship with man, and others act as metaphors instead. If that sounds bonkers, wait until you hear the music…

Album opener Taurus opens the album in pounding alt-metal style, and is, by comparison, one of the more straightforward-sounding tracks on offer here. But don’t let that fool you, it’s a great slice of prog metal to get things started. From there we get the first musical smorgasbord of the album in the shape of the majestic Nightingale. As with a few songs here, there is a big jazz influence on this track. Initially, it sounds like a metallic Frank Zappa, before returning to their prog metal roots in the middle. With a memorable vocal over the top, it makes for a great listen.


Next, we get taken on another musical hand break turn with The Alphabet Of Me drawing heavily on modern pop and R’n’B for its’ first few minutes. Don’t let that put you off here, we’re a million miles from guff like BTS and that ilk here when things pick up at several points mid-song. There’s even a trumpet on this in the background! It’s a great song, and clearly, the sign of a confident band following the muse, rather than any expectations they may feel are on them. 

That confidence really shines through on the album’s high point to my ears. The epic eleven-minute Elephants Never Forget has got to up there with the best tracks they have done thus far in their seven-album career.  It’s like the album crammed into one song, such is diversity contained within. Opening with what sounds like a homage to classic Queen, it soon heads off into jazz, prog rock and metal and keeps you on your toes throughout. You never know where it’s going to go next. Imagine Dream Theater covering Frank Zappa, and you’ll get the idea. Gloriously bonkers.

They do simplify things to great effect later in the album on the excellent Lovebite. It’s a powerful melodic track that boasts a subtle The Police vibe. Indeed, it even has Sting esque “oh way oh” chants at several points throughout. A close second in the song of the album contest for me. The album ends on another high point, with the excellent Eyes Of Ebony. Like much of the album, it features numerous style and tempo changes. In keeping with the animal theme, there’s even a guitar effect that sounds like an elephant in the middle section. The dynamics at play here are superb, loud one minute, quiet the next, ending the album in a fitting style. 

To cast off all inhibitions, and create an album as good as this in the process, is something that we must congratulate Haken for. It was a brave move, as we could’ve easily ended up in Jazz Odyssey territory had they gotten it wrong. But they haven’t. In fact, in keeping with the album’s theme, they’ve created a beast of an album! 


Score:  8.5/10


1 – Taurus 

2 – Nightingale

3 – The Alphabet Of Me

4 – Sempiternal Beings

5 – Beneath The White Rainbows

6 – Island In The Clouds

7 – Lovebite

8 – Elephants Never Forget

9 – Eyes Of Ebony

Release date: 3rd March 2023

Label: InsideOut Music 

For all things Haken, click HERE and to purchase the album, click HERE

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