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Aeon Zen - Inveritas Award winner

Aeon Zen
Inveritas
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 08 May 2019, 12:15 PM

AEON ZEN is a band that is defined by the contrast of opposing musical ideas and creativity. Merging modern metal with complex song structures and a broad range of styles, “Inveritas” contains just as many hooks as it is complex, with songwriting always being at the forefront. The album explores diverse lyrical themes ranging from domestic violence to video games, but brings them together to create a cohesive yet stimulating album.  Founding member, Rich Hinks, also produces and plays with Canadian thrash metal titans ANNIHILATOR and brings this expertise to “Inveritas” through both his playing and production. It is the first AEON ZEN album to be written collectively by all band members and also features the talents of Vadim Pruzhanov from DRAGONFORCE on the album’s title track, showing how different points of view and diverse musical opinions can be used to make AEON ZEN’s strongest statement to date. The album contains eight tracks.

“Rebel Theory” opens the album. Slowly gathering strength through some building background ambiance, leading to a main riff that is choppy and weighted. The vocals have an odd cadence, but the harmonized parts are nicely done. Guitar and bass continue the choppy assault underneath it all. A nice ambient passage helps to break up the assault with dreamy vocals. “The First and Only Line” has a nice keyboard opening and then the bass comes Djenting in. Guitars join the fold in tight unison and the chorus is full on. The song has a darkness to it for sure, but at times it crosses over to the light. You really have to keep your bearing here because it shoots off in several different directions.

“Another Piece that Fits” opens with some dissonant and ominous guitar chords, followed by a groovy bass line that hops the fence and heads out. The instrumentation keeps a raucous pace while the vocals are done fairly softly overtop. Towards the end is takes a sharp right into Jazz territory. “The Last Alive” features some skillful musicianship and dexterous shifting of meters. One thing that the band has for sure is very tight musicianship. The bass guitar is featured prominently again…something you don’t often hear. The harmonized vocal parts are great as well. The band seems to think of everything, including vocalist Andi Kravljaca’s stellar wails. “The Treachery of Images” is an instrumental with some choppy and staccato guitars and bass, working so well in unison. The lead guitarist is really flexing his chops here, and this piece is all about adept skills and dexterous shifting.

“Disconnected” features some dissonant riffing with clean, easy vocals overtop. The weight of the instruments is perfectly balanced by the airy vocals, but again a darkness creeps in that is hard not to notice. They play with the meter as the big man does with the cosmos. “The World without Sky” is the song I have been waiting for on the album…a light, airy and melodic sound that shows the more tender side of the band. The Djenty rhythms are still present but dialed back just a notch to let the melody shine. “Inveritas” closes the album, with a heavy and aggressive edge, and some firey guitar leads. The vocal screams bring another dimension to the album.

Overall, this album was an expert clinic on outstanding musicianship and dexterous shifting. The band exudes confidence in every song, mastering an ever-changing meter alongside titan acts like DREAM THEATER and HAKEN. The album takes on crazy directions and leaves no stone unturned. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the way the bass guitar is featured as well…many great bands don’t allow it to shine as brightly as it does here. Kudos to Rich Hinks here. If you are in the mood for a Progressive Metal feast, this is your album.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Rebel Theory
2. The First and Only Line
3. Another Piece that Fits
4. The Last Alive
5. The Treachery of Images
6. Disconnected
7. The World without Sky
8. Inveritas
Lineup:
Andi Kravljaca – Vocals
Rich Hinks – Bass, Vocals, Keyboards
Alistair Bell – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Steve Burton – Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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