Haken at l'Astral, Nov 1 2018

On Thursday Nov. 1, London-based progressive metal band Haken brought their North American tour to Montreal’s l’Astral. They were joined by Norwegian band Leprous and Boston-based band Bent Knee.

A line gathered early at the venue for the sold out show. I kept my reputation of being first in line and managed to get a front row spot for the concert.

The evening started off with Bent Knee, an interesting and weird band that caught my attention. They have a unique sound that is like nothing I have heard before. With their weird antics and amazing stage presence I was instantly hooked. Their lead singer was fantastic and stood out among the rest.

Next band up was Leprous. Their sound combines elements of many genres into prog metal. They played a lot of material from their album Malina, released in Aug 2017. Their show includes a lot of captivating visuals and lights to accompany the music. Leprous’ sound is bass heavy. I’ve never heard so much bass at a metal show. It’s very entertaining to have you whole body shaken by music.  

Last up was Haken, who completely blew the place out of the water with their performance. They used this tour to introduce their new album Vector. They started off their setlist with “The Good Doctor” off the new album. I’ve seen many prog metal bands over the years and Haken is on that really delivers during their live performances. Their music and performances remind me of prog legends Dream Theatre. Haken’s music is very technical and their performance is high energy. While they performed many songs of their new album, they also included fan favourites like “1985” and “Falling Back To Earth” in the setlist. The new songs sound different live than on the record. I was honestly impressed by the new songs live.

What shocked me leaving the show was how long the whole thing was. Haken’s setlist included Crystallized, a 19 minute song. However, this is usual for prog metal. Overall, the three bands put on a great show

This is definitely a concert to look out for as the band complete their North American Tour. Their next Canadian date is Nov. 21 in Vancouver at the Rickshaw Theatre.