Haken - Affinity

Haken Affinity cover
InsideOut Music
Haken seemingly are gaining popularity on the prog scene, with a string of good albums that prog snobs just love. Their chops are undeniable, but the way in which they mix some 70s influences with 80s soundscapes, all quite technical but always relying on some poppy and frankly wimpy vocal to be the hook, it sorts of ends up being quite underwhelming, bringing to mind the less successful and more introspective efforts of Marillion and the like, with a bit more aggression but without the same amount of finesse.
If I could not get the “genre” at all, I’d be glad to acknowledge that, but the combination of poppy vocals with quite void and repetitive patterns, no matter how complex does little to create a connection with the listener. Sure one might be impressed by the instrumental side of things but there are countless album and bands out there to rival that. Haken are progressively falling into a trap; they seem to be unable to craft interesting enough compositions other than “Initiate”, “Lapse” and maybe “Bound by Gravity” making “Affinity” their least enjoyable album by a wide margin.