Consider if it was a good promotional idea to call an album “Virus” in the times we live in might be worth discussing. The album cover will pierce your eyes with yellow and the title… Let’s clarify if it’s really worth the purchase.
As a matter of fact, Haken fans love everything the band does. The band is living out everything that the “prog” style promises. Some people claim that there’s nothing new to discover within the genre, but obviously Haken has found a way to keep on evolving. Their fans are praising the “Virus” album for the little details… having new tiny gimmicks to discover during every new listen.
The opening track “Prosthetic” surprises the listener with almost Meshugga-ish vibes. A really bustling opener piece that contains whiffs from several other subgenres of prog and metal. With a wild headbang ending sequence the song qualifies for upcoming live gigs (let’s all hope there will be some in the future again). The next song “Invasion” lyrically puts essential and philosophical questions that go deep within the heart of those, who have questioned themselves already: “When did we give up believing in beautiful minds that begin to fail? How is there always a different path waiting for every road we stray? When did we give up the ghost as a trade for a heart that begins to break? Why is it we aren’t learning from all the mistakes we ever made?” The band is able to underscore the lyrics with intensity in the melodies and the composition. The third song “Carousel” leaves no doubt about the virus that’s portrayed in the album being Mankind. Haken dives deep into the human soul and surprises with clenching lyrics. “Do you mourn the lost souls from your pale high horse?” Just like this song, the next track “The Strain” offers a wide range of stylistic variety and much freedom within song structures, but never forgetting a certain feeling being put into them. “Canary Yellow” convinces the listener with balladesque moments and a lot of softness. But the true highlight of the album is yet to come. It’s a whole entity called “Messiah Complex”, consisting of five parts. Whilst listening it’s getting obvious that, again, Mankind is called out as the ones having the Messiah complex, feeling like never having enough although they have already plundered this Earth. The songwriting is very sportfully and astounding. These parts are really going into detail and surprising with those little escapades into foreign sound fields. And the fifth part “Ectobius Rex” leaves no doubt about wanting to build a bridge in regards of the Cockroach King.
The album fades out with the slow and very sentimental song “Only Stars” that marks not only the end of one’s life lyrically but also the end of this very manifold and subsisting album.