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Aeon Zen - Ephemera Award winner

Aeon Zen
by YNGWIEVIKING at 06 September 2014, 4:32 PM

Without the shadow of a doubt, the best hope in the whole British progressive metal scene : AEON ZEN, once a studio project only, today the band is now stabilized with a strong line-up and a clear focus on a promising career, this is even more pretty obvious since September 1st and the release of their fourth album “Ephemera”, a CD that it marks their predicted triumphal return with another ambitious effort, where AEON ZEN mastermind Rich Hinks had on display all his skills as songwriting, as instrumentist but also as engineer and of course as producer.

Despite the title “Ephemera”, this album is a long journey through many moods and inner emotions, yet the conceptual side of the lyrics will take you down into an introspective momentum, a real way to escape your everyday routine by accessing a brand new dystopian world, the full story line is remarkably enhanced by an audio book…An eternal piece of smart Metal music.

Musically challenging, grandiose and arguably their most epic, bombastic and elegant work to date, while it shows a new wideness, a phenomenal new density, a new vision by exceeding up all the expectations and the preconceptions of the Progressive Metal style.

“Ephemera”is way superior to its predecessor "Enigma", who was already an updated version or even a departure from the earliest records. This album, also reveal a very unique personality, a fresh theatrical behavior especially obvious in the catchy “Life ?” with many vocal layers and its recurring bass lick, surprisingly now is more difficult to describe AEON ZEN, it’s not only the sum of many influences ranging from DREAM THEATER to TESSERACT, from DEVIN TOWNSEND to PAGAN’S MIND, from HAKEN to A.C.T …I still think that actually it’s much more than that !

As always Swedish transfuge Andi Kravljaca (ex SEVENTH WONDER/ VINDICTIVE / SILENT CALL / NERGARD / THAUROROD) provides an amazing vocal performance, his interpretation is tremendous, sublimated and served by a fantastic broad range, like in the sublime '’Unite’' and its great high pitched antics, or in the closing heartfelt track “The Space You Wanted”, where he’s also responsible for a special and noble delivery, enhanced with a cool guitar solo spot by guest shredder Matt Sheperd, clearly an highlight !
In the same category of excellence here is also the Gregorian choir driven “The Order Of The Blind” leading to a pompous, dramatic and apocalyptical grand final articulated around heterogene parameters like a few growls and Symphonic colors pushed at the max .

Another dark neo-classic number is the very movie score influenced “Rebuild The Ruins”, the most extreme song with an increased number of influenced elements from Symphonic Black Metal but with still an efficient melodic hook, a constant willingness in the AEON ZEN's case.

The thoughtful seven strings guitars riffs are prominent in the mix (like the Power Metallish "The Entity”), the new boy Alistair Bell on Lead Guitar unleash a few flashy lava like fills , updated with some impressive keyboards soloing interactions in “Remembrance”, and this ultra dynamic musicianship is spread everywhere, building a canvas under a solid formula with a sporadic Electronic flavor and an occasional Djent intensity (“Unite”), psychotic ambiances and a fresh method in an emphasis mode of chaotic structure (?) embellished by the obvious technical abilities of those talented gentlemen.

The best cut and the sum of everything reported above is perhaps the second track “Soul Machine” showing an unexpected stylistic progression with in its middle an unusual shift of pace, reaching the whole spectrum of the genre in an outstanding burst of glory, a dazzling climax of heaviness in a whirling environment…Ok no more Blabla yadda : run and buy it now!!!

4 Star Rating

1. The Entity
2. Soul Machine
3. Life?
4. Unite
5. Penumbra
6. The Order Of The Blind
7. Remembrance
8. Rebuild the Ruins
9. The Space You Wanted
Rich Hinks – Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
Andi Kravljaca – Lead Vocals
Alistair Bell – Lead Guitar
Tom Green – Keyboards
Steve Burton – Drums
Record Label: Nightmare Records


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