Leon : Haigreen is the pseudonym of Maarten Heeringa, who’s always had the dream to release a solo album. And not just any solo album, one where he wrote all the music, played all the instruments, and mixed the album. Quite a challenge I must say! Apparently this wasn’t hard enough yet, so he wrote a bunch of songs that could never end up on the same album, and thus it was decided to release three records. ‘The First’ is a pop album, ‘The Second’ is a progressive rock album, and ‘The Third’ is a heavy metal album. I only received ‘The Second’ but was very curious to what I would find.
In the past, Heeringa has played in numerous bands and has gathered a lot of experience playing and writing music. Writing and recording al album all by yourself is a very different story though, you need to be really good to be able to pull that off. Even Arjen Lucassen needs the help of others to play the music of Ayreon, he knows that this is beneficial for the quality of the music. Heeringa, however, chose to do everything himself, for which I have a tremendous amount of respect, but the quality did suffer because of it. Quite frankly, there isn’t much on the album that’s enjoyable. Predominantly I find it hard to listen through the mediocre (at best) mix and the (cheap sounding) programmed drums, this makes the album sound flat, static and mechanic. If the guitar parts and the vocals would’ve been stellar I might’ve forgiven him for this, but unfortunately they’re not. The (bas) guitars are alright, and the vocals are okay, sometimes they’re decent but sometimes they’re also bad. The songs are fine, I guess, but I miss the liveliness in the sound and true instrument specialists.
Heeringa can at least take an item off of his bucket list, and I have loads of respect for the fact that he was able to achieve such a project. That said, as a music critic, I need to say that the competition has no need for worries. I have to recommend him to ask others for help, if he decides to continue with Haigreen. Get a real drummer, ask a good singer to do the vocals and, maybe most important, outsource the mixing to a professional audio engineer. I would genuinely be interested in learning what the music would sound like then.