Rarely has a progressive metal fusion album been released with so little anticipation, praise, and attention while deserving so much of these. Enter Hago and their self-titled debut album. The Boston band is, as they put it, “a melting pot of progressive metal, jazz, and Middle Eastern elements”, and I couldn’t have said it better – they also call it “falafel djent”, but let’s not go there. Their group consists of the usual instrumental metal and jazz quartet of guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums, while also having a full-time saxophonist on top.
Rooted inside the Berklee College of Music, the core trio of the band writes music that is undeniably professional and connoisseur. All the members, however, play exquisitely, and this makes Hago sound like a true masterpiece! Amidst proper prog metal sections will intervene genuine jazz sections, effectively thimblerigging your expectations. It’s none of that “jazzy interlude” culch, as many modern “prog fusion” artists use, but aside from the real metal and the real jazz on the album, there also are moments of pure crossbreeding between the genres, which often lead to the most inspiring parts.
Some highlights of the album are the sung “Shdemati”, the blaze of percussions on “Gefilte Kabab”, and the electronics-infused “Dawn of Machine”, but choosing a few best moments is next to impossible, as the album is filled to the brim with jaw-dropping instants. Just drop what you’re doing now, and listen to that album in its entirety!