Remixes: Borealis and Haken

In the last few weeks, I’ve receiving promos for three different re-releases of albums that I love.  While I don’t want to review the music, I do want to offer my thoughts on the new sound that each album has.  The music in all three of these albums is amazing and I’ve heard the albums dozens of times.  It is a little strange, though, to hear them in a new light.



Borealis is a progressive power metal band hailing from Canada.  I’ve been listening to them since 2011 when they released their sophomore album “Fall from Grace”.  Recently, though, they were signed to AFM Records and released a third fantastic album.  Their debut album, 2008’s “World of Silence”, had sort of been forgotten, at least as far as live performances were concerned.  The debut, though, has been resurrected by the label, much to my joy.

Of the three albums here, this one sounds the most different.  The reason behind it is that the band has completely re-recorded the album.  So, that means it has the tone and sound of their most recent album, “Purgatory”.  How do I feel about this, though?

“World of Silence” was, for me, perfect.  I know that the production values were pretty low, and I know the band was young, but there was a massive amount of passion and energy along with a distinctive growl to the guitars.  However, it is that sort of sound that I remember so well in the album, and that sound is missing from this re-release.


Does that mean I’m disappointed?  No, not at all.  The album is still wonderful, but it does sound different.  The guitars are smoother and missing that growl, and Matt’s voice is obviously more mature.  I feel like he did change some of the vocal melodies, but he is amazing at crafting them, so they are always great to hear.  Additionally, I feel like the keys sound better than ever; featuring a huge, swelling tone.  Drums and bass are also much richer.

My verdict?  The album has lost a bit of the nostalgia I have for it.  The vibrancy seems lost to the standard metal sound right now, but the album still has plenty to offer and there are definitely improvements to the overall sound.  For me, though, I’ll probably continue to listen to my original copy.




Haken needs no introduction.  Their output has been top-notch from their debut until now.  Their debut, “Aquarius”, is one of my favorite albums of all time.  There’s just something about the watery, epic tone that I love, along with the messianic story.  It’s a masterpiece, for me.  I did not, however, own a physical copy because, by the time I felt the need to have one, they were pretty much unavailable, unless you want to pay some jerk $100+ for a used copy online.

Inside Out is finally getting ready to re-release this wonderful album in February 2017.  It has been completely remixed by the legendary Jens Bogren, and the results are fantastic.  The drums on the original were a little hidden in the mix, but now they have satisfying oomph and just a general richness to them.  Ross’ voice sounds more detailed than before, and some of the effects on his voice are much more noticeable now.  I, for one, am glad they didn’t mess with the harsh vox on “Streams”, as I love them how they are.

One of the biggest things I noticed about the remix is the watery sensations have been elevated.  The accents and sounds in the background are much clearer.  There are, in fact, sounds that I hear now that I never realized were there at all!  The experience, as a whole, feels much more in tune with the wet sadness of the album.

My verdict, then?  This will be the version I listen to in the future.  I ordered the clear vinyl, too, so that will be an amazing experience, I’m sure.  This is the definitive version of one of the best debuts from a band ever.




Set for release alongside “Aquarius”, Inside Out Music is also re-releasing Haken’s sophomore album “Visions”.  I’m a big fan of this album, as well, some days just much as “Aquarius”.  Much like the other album, “Visions” sounds great in its remixed state.

There honestly isn’t much more to add about this album, as compared to “Aquarius”.  I do feel like there is less change in this remix, as everything from drums to guitars sounds pretty much the same.  Ross does sounds significantly better, though.  And, much like the debut, the more ambient parts of the music benefit greatly from the remix, at least more than the heavier parts.  The background noises here are more psychedelic and atmospheric, and they come across even more strongly than the fluid feelings of “Aqaurius”.

The verdict?  This is not as improved as “Aquarius”, but that is because it didn’t have as much room for it.  The album comes across as much more ghostly and even more ghastly, and I love it because the personality is cranked up way more than I expected.  I definitely need to order a vinyl of this one, too.



Buy these remixes:

AFM Records

Inside Out Music

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