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Aeon Zen - A Mind's Portrait CD (album) cover

A MIND'S PORTRAIT

Aeon Zen

 

Progressive Metal

3.75 | 32 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars AEON ZEN consists of multi-instrumentalist Richard Hinks and drummer Lloyd Musto.They're both 20 years old and went to the same university in London to study music. So they've been creating and playing music together for several years now. They have some high profile guests helping out on vocals, keys and guitar. I must say right off the top that these two guys not only play amazingly well but these songs they've created are brilliant. A very talented duo.The album's title "A Mind's Portrait" gives us a clue why there is so much variety on this album. Very cool album cover as well.

"Existence" opens with pounding drums as synths roll in. Vocals from Andi Kravijaca (SEVENTH WONDER) arrive as it calms down. A heavy sound kicks in after a minute as the tempo continues to shift. Guitar comes to the fore before 3 minutes and he starts to light it up as drums pound. We're warmed up now. "Time Divine" features the vocals of PAGAN'S MIND singer Nils K Rue. This is without a doubt the greatest vocal performance on this album. Some guest guitar from Matt Sheppard (TIMEFALL). I love the way this song starts (hard and fast). Nils comes in powerfully (he is freaking amazing!). I can't say enough about his singing on this track. Everytime he sings on the chorus it's really emotional for me. Then the band kicks back in wreaking havoc. Some blistering guitar after 3 minutes that turns into a gorgeous solo. "Blinded Rain" features Andi on vocals again. Tasteful guitar to open as reserved vocals come in. Piano before 1 1/2 minutes.The song is more powerful a minute later but it's brief as it calms right down with some nice bass and piano. The guitar starts to grind away. Vocals return with the earlier soundscape. Some beautiful guitar late.

"Hope's Echo Pt.I" and "Pt.II" has Andreas Novak (MIND'S EYE) on vocals.The first part is a ballad with vocals and piano leading the way.This is my least favourite track which is no surprise considering I have an allergy to ballads. The second part is more like it. The drums and guitar are outstanding as the heaviness comes and goes. "A Mind's Portrait" reminds me of OPETH's "Damnation" album. It has a similar dark and melancholc sound with reserved vocals. It kicks in before 3 minutes before waves of sound come in late as it blends into "The Circle's End" which is really the instrumental conclusion of "A Mind's Portrait". This is simply a fantastic instrumental. Drums lead the way early then the guitar comes in ripping it up. So impressive ! "Heaven's Falling" opens with piano and drums as vocals come in. I like when the sound gets fuller before a minute. It then changes completely to an OSI- like ("Free") style which includes kicking some ass. Back to the chorus before it settles. I like the atmosphere before 4 minutes.Some chunky bass too. A blistering keyboard solo a minute later from Cristian Van Schuerbeck (ALL TOO HUMAN), then the chorus returns.

"Into The Infinite" features some prominant drumming 30 seconds in as synths come in then vocals. A powerful soundscape 2 minutes in. Here we go again before 3 1/2 minutes, it sounds like a runaway train ! Killer track ! I should mention that Andi does the vocals and guitar on this one. A calm 4 minutes in before it kicks back in late. Nice. "Goddess" is an instrumental that opens with piano with some violin joining in. The full orchestral sound after 2 minutes is so moving. It then settles back down to the opening soundscape. "The Demise Of The Fifth Sun" is the final track and the epic at 12 1/2 minutes. Check out the vocals from Elyes Bouchoucha (MYRATH) from Tunisia. The piano to start is blown away quickly by a thunderous soundscape. My God ! Lloyd is beating the hell out of his drumkit as vocals come in.This guy can sing man ! A rampage 4 minutes in with some growls. Some nice guitar a minute later when it settles. Complex and aggressive music 6 minutes in.This is great. Organ 8 minutes in. Vocals and synths before 9 1/2 minutes followed by an outstanding drum display with some brief growling.

This is a must-have. I'll be interested to see where they go from here. With all the guest vocalists and the variety of music on here they really don't have their own identity and sound yet. That doesn't matter right now because this is flat out amazing ! Tough to pick a favourite but "Time Divine" with Nils' vocals might be the one, although "A Mind's Portrait", "Into The Infinite" and "The Demise Of The Fifth Sun" are all at the top for me.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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