Taken And They Slept

"Why should anyone like Taken?" blurts our singer and potential Matthew Lillard impersonator Ray Harkins. "Bad idea in the first place, there are so many other good CDs you should buy, seriously." And although Harkins' humour and self-deprecating modesty are refreshing in the metallic/hardcore underground, he's dead wrong. Taken's first full-length, Finding Solace In Dissension (on Goodfellow), was a strong album, driven by noisecore stalwarts but demonstrating the limitless potential inherent in Taken's contrasting sound, which possessed the ability to both comfort and confront, even while slightly too reliant on its influences. "I can see why a lot of people that have listened to our first CD [feel like that]. It's not something you listen to once or twice and you're like 'oh, sweet, dude.' It's an alright album, it sounds like sloppy Drowningman meets Converge, it's been said and that's fine." However, And They Slept easily surpasses their exceptional debut, retaining and building upon all the power and dramatic emotional upheavals so prevalent on that release, yet finding its own footing, establishing Taken's sound and seamless shifting of aggression and pathos as truly their own. Harkins agrees, "There wasn't a conscious effort, like 'hey, we need to sound different,' maybe not sound different but write more unique material, it just happened. At the time we were finishing writing songs for Solace...we had other songs being written that were different. With the sophomore release, it is always difficult, because most usually suck or are mediocre, but with this album, I feel we've developed the Taken sound." Standouts among this great album include "Never An Answer," "A Typical Cliché" and "Beauty in Dead Flowers," but it has to be asked, Ray, what's up with hand claps? "We put a part in every CD that we think is funny as hell that no one else will," laughs Harkins. "The jazz part on Finding..., it was funny to us, everyone else got pissed. I have a feeling it's going to be the same thing with the hand claps, and I can't wait to hear it because that's what makes me laugh, when people get bent out of shape because we put hand claps on a CD, give me a freakin' break!" (Goodfellow)