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Aeon Zen - Enigma CD (album) cover

ENIGMA

Aeon Zen

 

Progressive Metal

3.81 | 53 ratings

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Rivertree
Special Collaborator
Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
4 stars AEON ZEN are from the UK, headed by multi-instrumentalist Rich Hinks. This time - in contrast to the former albums - it looks like that he has formed a real band for the recordings, and the live performances in the same way. Two years in the making 'Enigma' turns out to be an ambitious workout. Initially released on the band's own label Time Divide Records in 2012, this effort was adopted by famous metal label Nightmare Records recently - a praise per se - and will be out at the end of January 2013. My writing is based on a promo download actually, not the physical CD which additionally includes two bonus tracks.

The promo sheet references several bands from the tech/extreme and melodic prog metal front, to name Dream Theater, Symphony X and Cynic or Between The Buried And Me for example. That suits in some way, no question - but Aeon Zen are Aeon Zen, not a copy-cat band. Stylistically a proper bandwith is to state while comprising crashing eruptions and growls in the same way as haunting ballad-esque moments. Those parts where they turn into a more experimental direction - though definitely being in the minority - do not affect me too much, I'm more at home on the melodic prog metal playground here, to make it clear.

The short opener Enter The Enigma - literally meant of course - arises from an orchestral synth arrangement where Artificial Soul - among other things - shines with great vocal management, safe to say, for the benefit of agressive and enchanting voices which compete and complement here. That said, I mean it was worthwhile really to invite some additional singer ... well, not intending to downplay Andi Kravljaca's role as the main vocalist of course. Also considering some excellent song-writing qualities and extraordinary sense of melody this is the album's highlight definitely. The following Divinity goes wild then apparently, sinister growls included.

Like 'Anna Lee', known from DT's 'Falling Into Infinity', Seven Hills immediately follows as a charming ballad with pop appeal, yeah really! This by now makes it clear, here we have an achievement that presents great variety, many metalheads - no matter which subgenre they prefer - will find something which appeals, I'm sure. The entry of keyboarder Shaz seems to be a great benefit overall. Due to piano excursions as well as orchestral string implementation, the keys are partially rather symphonically tinted. Expectedly the guitars are playfully appointed - shredding here and empathic there like to experience at the very start on Warning for example. Turned To Ash unfolds to a really tricky song after a while.

Some pieces are skillfully placed with repetition on this album ... 'Rising And Falling From The Ashes' ... which leads to some appealing recognition value ... and even sing along yearning after a while. Let me also mention Eternal Snow which shows an excellent flow (huch, some particular rhyme here). where the nicely arranged vocals, inclusive growls, once again attract attention. 'Enigma' is a fine new album by AEON ZEN which grows with every round. Great variety to state, though far away from any patchwork attitude this sounds completely rounded. Even some saxophone contributions are successfully implemented within two songs. So this deserves 4 stars now finally.

Rivertree | 4/5 |

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