Hadoken: Illuminating for the Last Time

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Fans of ambient and crushing post rock may have been missing out on one of the hidden gems of the genre, and unfortunately said group only has one more release left to share. Hadoken was a post rock band operating in Western Massachusetts for a number of years, until deciding to disband some time ago. Fans of this truly unique band were pleased to hear, though, that although the group is officially no longer playing together, they banded together to release one more album, and this one promises to be their most powerful record to date.


Hadoken went into the studio many months ago to record their third and final full-length record. Over the past few months, they’ve teased fans on Facebook with clips of throat singing and photos of track lengths (one of the tracks looks to be almost 20 minutes long), but overall haven’t released more than vague clues about the upcoming album. It seems that they are taking time with the record, which makes sense, given the detailed composition of their previous tunes and the perfection they probably desire for a final release. If time spent and previous releases are any indication of what’s to come, it is rather certain album #3 will be nothing short of Homeric in stature.


To date, the band has released two mighty post rock records. The first is The Ancient Machine, a beautiful first album with gorgeous, sweeping melodies and buildups, mature songwriting chops, and a thunderous moments. It’ll definitely get you hooked, and it’s only their first foray into exploring the genre. Much of it can be compared to the Explosions in the Sky generation of instrumental rock, some influence also deriving from bands that became Hadoken’s contemporaries, like Caspian and, to an extent, Constants.


Their second album, Luminary, is just that: musically and thematically illuminating. Luminary is a piece of sonic art worthy of much praise and hyperbole. A rich and textured work, Hadoken’s second album is an epic and captivating adventure, as poetic in nature as the best concept albums, and even more enjoyable. Personally, I’ve listened to Luminary over a hundred times through, and each time you discover more about the record.


Highlights of the album, and of Hadoken’s music, before their new release of course, are the second track, “The Ballad of Floating Fire,” and the final epic, “Time and the Observer.” “Ballad” is a contemplative, multifaceted tune with intricate guitar work, a heavy rhythmic backline, and a beautiful shift toward the end of the song. This track hooks you right away, and showcases how creative the group can be while also being fundamentally simplistic in their construction. The violin work adds a fantastical atmosphere, as well.


“Time and the Observer,” though, is the band’s crowning achievement. Clocking in at just under 16 minutes, the tune should be placed among other great rock epics, the piece proving how well post rock is able to blend rock instruments with classical music composition. There are moments just as pensive as the most relaxed movements of an Explosions in the Sky tune, as well as crunchy, powerhouse riffs reminiscent of Irepress. As a journey into new generations of post rock, it’s nothing short of a masterpiece, and concludes one of the most stunning post rock albums of the 2000s.

Fans of post rock, or any music at all really, should head to Facebook, Myspace, of any of the other websites Hadoken’s placed their music, and listen to this remarkable band before their new album. Follow them on Facebook for updates about their new album, due to come out this year. It should be worth the wait.

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