Virus (Haken album)

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Yellow square with the "HAKEN" and "Virus" written near the top and a silhouette of a Bacteriophage in the center.
Studio album by
Released24 July 2020 (2020-07-24)
StudioThe Crypt (London)
GenreProgressive metal, progressive rock, djent
Length51:54 (International release)
55:59 (Japanese release)
LabelInside Out Music
Haken chronology
Singles from Virus
  1. "Prosthetic"
    Released: 3 April 2020 (2020-04-03)
  2. "Canary Yellow"
    Released: 1 May 2020 (2020-05-01)
  3. "Invasion"
    Released: 22 May 2020 (2020-05-22)

Virus is the sixth studio album by British progressive metal band Haken. It was released on 24 July 2020 (postponed three times, first from 5 June 2020, then from 19 June 2020 and finally from 10 July 2020) through Inside Out Music.[1][2][3] According to the band's singer, Ross Jennings, the album is loosely connected to their 2018 release Vector.[4] As well as the latter, Virus was mixed by ex-Periphery bassist Adam "Nolly" Getgood and the artwork was created by long-time collaborators Blacklake.[5][non-primary source needed] It is the last album featuring keyboardist Diego Tejeida, who left the band the following year.

The first single, "Prosthetic" was released on 3 April 2020, along with a music video.[6]


Haken had been secretly writing the music for Virus and all the initial ideas were created back when they were writing Vector at the end of 2017. The album title generated surprise as it was announced during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Jennings said it was just coincidental.[4] The singer also remarked that "whilst Virus can absolutely be enjoyed as a stand-alone work, it is thematically and conceptually linked with Vector. The band comments:[5]

Prosthetic was the first song we completed during the Virus writing sessions and we always felt it would be the perfect opener for the album. It's a very guitar heavy track with its roots in 80s thrash riffing, but with the unconventional rhythmic twists and turns we often like to explore in Haken. We sadly never had a Jeff Hanneman and Robert Fripp collaboration, but this song at least draws on inspiration from them both! Lyrically the song is a bridge between our two albums Vector and Virus. The message was brilliantly brought to life by video director Vicente Cordero, who also beautifully captured the live energy of the band in a way that both enhances the song, and perfectly sets the scene for what's to come.

Drummer Ray Hearne adds:

Since releasing The Mountain in 2013, one question has been asked of us time and time again, 'who is the "Cockroach King"?'. This is something we were interested in exploring more deeply too, so we essentially did that through our music; elaborating and expanding upon the intervallic, harmonic, rhythmic and lyrical themes of that song. The end result is in an arc which spans across two albums: Vector and Virus.

Guitarist Richard Henshall about the production:

Using Nolly again was a no-brainer, as we wanted the two albums to be sonically connected. But having just spent a day mixing with him in his studio, it's obvious that this album will be an evolution of the Vector sound. These songs seem to allow a lot more freedom of creativity with the production, so we're excited to see where it leads.


The themes present in the album are institutional abuse,[7] physical and mentally abusive relationships, anxiety, depression and suicidal tendencies.[8][9]

Track listing[edit]

Original release
4."The Strain"5:23
5."Canary Yellow"4:14
6."Messiah Complex I: Ivory Tower"3:57
7."Messiah Complex II: A Glutton for Punishment"3:38
8."Messiah Complex III: Marigold"2:24
9."Messiah Complex IV: The Sect"2:02
10."Messiah Complex V: Ectobius Rex"4:57
11."Only Stars"2:10
Total length:51:54
Japanese edition bonus track[10]
12."Canary Yellow" (Acoustic Version)4:05
Total length:56:05


The album has received generally positive reviews from music critics.[11][12] According to critic Thom Jurek it successfully challenges tropes from progressive metal, and lauds the harmonic and rhythmic complexities of the tracks.[11]

Multiple critics also note the musical similarities between the album and the works of bands like Meshuggah and Dream Theater.[11][12]



  • Ross Jennings – vocals
  • Richard Henshall – guitars
  • Charlie Griffiths – guitars
  • Diego Tejeida – keyboards
  • Conner Green – bass
  • Raymond Hearne – drums

Additional personnel

  • Pete Jones – additional keyboards on "Messiah Complex", drum programming on "The Strain", production and arrangement on "Only Stars"
  • Pete Rinaldi – acoustic guitar on "Prosthetic" and "Messiah Complex"
  • Adam "Nolly" Getgood – bass solo on "Messiah Complex"

Production and design

  • Adam "Nolly" Getgood – mixing, drum engineering
  • Anthony Leung – drum engineering
  • James Stephenson – drum editing
  • Chris McKenzie – assistant vocal engineering
  • Ermin Hamidovic – mastering
  • Blacklake – art and design
  • Corey Meyers – logo
  • Jeroen Moons – web design


Chart performance for Virus
Chart (2020) Peak
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[13] 25
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[14] 66
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[15] 48
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[16] 30
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[17] 12
French Albums (SNEP)[18] 142
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[19] 12
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[20] 33
Italian Albums (FIMI)[21] 63
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[22] 99
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[23] 7
UK Albums (OCC)[24] 91


  1. ^ "HAKEN".
  2. ^ "HAKEN".
  3. ^ "HAKEN".
  4. ^ a b "HAKEN - Virus (Album Announcement)" – via YouTube.
  5. ^ a b "HAKEN".
  6. ^ "YouTube" – via YouTube.
  7. ^ "INSIDE OUT MUSIC - Haken".
  8. ^ "HAKEN launch video for 'Canary Yellow'; second taken from 'Virus' – Kronos Mortus News". 2 May 2020.
  9. ^ "HAKEN".
  10. ^ "「ヴァイラス」- ヘイケン". Sony Music Japan. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  11. ^ a b c "Virus - Haken | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  12. ^ a b "Virus - HAKEN". 3 June 2020.
  13. ^ " – Haken – Virus" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  14. ^ " – Haken – Virus" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  15. ^ " – Haken – Virus" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  16. ^ " – Haken – Virus" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  17. ^ "Albumit 30/2020". IFPI Finland. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  18. ^ "Top Albums (Week 31, 2020)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  19. ^ " – Haken – Virus" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  20. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 2020. 31. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  21. ^ "Album – Classifica settimanale WK 31 (dal 24.07.2020 al 30.07.2020)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  22. ^ "Top 100 Albumes – Semana 31: del 24.7.2020 al 30.7.2020" (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  23. ^ " – Haken – Virus". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  24. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 31 July 2020.