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FAKSM #10, by Krv.

Now, I've been wondering since I joined this still yet-to-be-renamed blog what I'd post about first. I figured a FAKSM would be a good start, but, unfortunately, my mind had been thoroughly raped by awesome music and so to pick a single song would be difficult. I'll just talk briefly about what gets me going, for those who don't know. As I'm pretty weird, anything with screwed up time signatures, ridiculous and pointless key changes, silly instrumentation, overuse of syncopation and anti-religious or conceptual lyrics is gonna get me pretty damn stiff. Bonus points if it has Hammond Organs or Minimoogs. Good example of this is Ayreon's Tower of Hope. I'm basically a prog nerd.

Truthfully, before today I was seriously leaning towards making The Meads of Asphodel's Addicted to God my first FAKSM. It fulfilled all the requirements for making me jizz in my pants and overriding my brain with utter incomprehension. They were mixing black metal with jazz and Jesus Christ Superstar. That alone was enough to help propel the wonderfully named The Murder of Jesus the Jew up to third on my yearly album list.

But that was before I heard my FAKSM.



Let me take you back to several events, four years ago.

It's late 2006, and I'm still a young metalhead purist. I've yet to discover J-pop or any of its crazy awesomeness. I'm seeing Emperor on their comeback tour in London, at the now demolished Astoria. The first support band comes and goes. Some boring as fuck Norwegian death metal band whose sole plus point was that their vocalist had a pretty rockin' afro. Then comes the second support band. Imagine my shock when they start playing what I can only describe as Jazz Fusion. Granted, it's fused with pretty awesome technical death metal that could rival Meshuggah, but their lead singer is a hot Hungarian chick instead of some shaven headed Swedish bloke. Imagine the faces of Emperor fans being treated to jazz metal before the comeback of their gods. It was hilarious, to say the least. That wasn't the least of it. Before they could leave the stage, they did an eight-minute long Lounge Jazz interlude with no metal at all, before finishing off with this awesome song. That was the only song they managed to make all the Emperor fans headbang to, but that night they'd won my heart. For the first time I understood jazz. After that, Emperor played, but nothing eclipsed To-Mera that night. I went back to school the next week, and wrote a decent essay on Miles Davis. But anyway.

I'm also a complete Star Wars nerd. In early 2007, it'd just been announced that there would be a Star Wars Celebration in Europe. In London, no less. After that, they announced that there would be a battle of the bands. One of the bands that emerged at the forefront was a band called Anchorhead. They play Darth Metal. No, I'm not making that up. Needless to say, they won a poll to play in the Battle of the Bands. They then proceded to rip through a 14 minute technical death metal version of John Williams' A New Hope soundtrack. They raped my skull. They won by a landslide, not that their competition was very strong (some idiot called Darth Elvis singing Elvis songs based on Tatooine).

Anyway, you're probably thinking something along the lines of "what the fuck does this have to do with FAKSM?"

Well, To-Mera got a new keyboardist recently, after the release of their frankly fucking awesome album Delusions. His name was Hen. Hen had another band, called Haken. He played guitar in it. They released some very well received demos in 2007 and 2008. They tapped To-Mera's guitarist Tom (the one with peroxide blond hair) and gave him a bass. Then they tapped one of Anchorhead's guitarists. The stormtrooper. Boba Fett plays in Hot Leg with Justin Hawkins (from The Darkness) if you wanted to know.

Needless to say, I was getting ready for an awesome album.

Then I forgot about them.

I went through the entirety of 2010 with only a cursory finger dipped into the metal world, almost entirely with bands that I'd followed for a while. Haken, as debutants, didn't register. So their debut came out, and went by unlistened. It missed out on my 2010 top album lists (though now I'd put it in the top five definitely).

So, the song.

It's called Streams.

[audio:haken-streams.mp3]

Compared to the rest of the album, it's actually very pop. Then again, it's not that hard to sound pop when the rest of the album sounds a bit like Devin Townsend meeting Sigh in a playground, with Opeth and Meshuggah playing hopscotch over the top.

In fact, Streams sounds more similar to Spock's Beard or Alcest. Or Red Hot Chilis in their pop stages. At first anyway. About halfway through it gets pretty fucking evil. But yea. Buggered me sideways when I heard it, this album. From the beginning to the end it throws more spanners in the works than any other album I've ever heard. This is what Transcending Bizarre?'s frankly rubbish Misanthrope's Fable could have been, but no, they decided to go back more Black Metal instead of finding weirder sounds. So I guess Haken have now taken their place alongside Unexpect, Meads, Ephel Duath and Le Grand Guignol as the most fucked up metal bands around.

Nevertheless, I'd recommend picking up the album based on any single track on this. Streams just happened to catch me slightly more unawares. After the heavy and severe riffage and mindfucks in The Point of No Return, I was expecting something just as crazy. Instead I got Streams, which was way too fucking nice to believe. Then went evil on me. Then the rest of the album was just as fucked up. The guitar playing is fucking mental, the synths and keyboards are all over the place, the random added instruments are obscure and thus awesome. And the singer is actually pretty good at doing a decent range of styles.

Thus it's a Fucking Awesome Kickass Song of the Moment.

2 comments:

  1. Congrats on your first post here, and sorry again for the delay in the new name! Hope it's acceptable. :P

    Anyway, haven't heard the song nor the band before, but great choice for a FAKSM. This track is really prog in the true sense of the word -- or at least, it is with my definition of prog. My definition basically being, like... well... Änglagård's or "Hybris", or Premiata Forneria Marconi's "Per Un Amico." Not that this track sounds anything like those two albums, but shit. I'm sure you know what I mean. Prog is prog.

    In any case, welcome again, and thanks for the sweet tune! Will check this band out for sure.

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  2. WAAAA~! YAYZ @ TO-MERA!!!

    Man, you picked a good one. To-Mera has been in my list of unsung tech-prog-metal artists for quite some time now. Henkka did you right by bringing up Anglagard in his reply. Sounds like you and I have similar tastes/interests, so here's some runners up I've been considering for a FAKSM this month. I don't think I'll be going with any of them, so it's fair to post them here:

    Planet X - "The Thinking Stone" (can't really find a good link to this one): This is fusion at it's statistically densest and it's loads of fun. The inimitable Virgil Donati on drums and a guitar solo by the legendary Allan Holdsworth. This is the stuff that scares normal musicians.

    Canvas Solaris - "Adaptive Optics" (http://youtu.be/Y_Z3MUH7_2Y): I only recently found these guys. I'm pretty amazed so far.

    Animals As Leaders - "Song of Solomon" (http://youtu.be/VixG3b-C7Fk): Man, what can I say about this. One guy, all instruments, totally original and absolutely new. This will be legendary down the line; I can sense it. 1:18 for the WIN!!!

    Blotted Science - "Brain Fingerprinting" (http://youtu.be/CHAUQNTwYZo): This is currently my favorite metal band. Consisting of one part Behold the Arctopus (check 'em if you don't know 'em), one part Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse fame (fuck yeah!), and one part mad genius Ron Jarzombek, these guys do EVERYTHING I want to hear. If you want to know how much of a mad genius Ron is, consider that this entire album was composed using a radial twelve-tone relational system invented and implemented by the man himself. This guy is the real shit. More good news for those who care: the band is currently working on a project sync'ed perfectly with clips of disgusting insects and other creepy creatures. Mwahahahahaha!!

    I know, I know, all of the above would make for a perfect FAKSM. But, I promised myself that my next entry would be either Zappa or Stravinsky. Right now, I'm thinking Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" (I may end up dedicating a single FAKSM to the concept of Zappa in general; there's just too much).

    Anyway, thanks for getting me excited and I'll see everyone in an upcoming post. Laterzzzz

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