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Aeon Zen

Progressive Metal

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Aeon Zen Self Portrait album cover
3.96 | 5 ratings | 1 reviews | 20% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Psych! (2:01)
2. Portrait (3:29)
3. Rain (5:48)
4. Demise (8:00)

Total time: 19:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Rich Hinks / guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals, alto saxophone
- Andi Kravljaca / vocals
- Matt Shepherd / guitar
- Steve Burton / drums

Releases information

CD Time Divide Records (2013 UK)

Thanks to rivertree for the addition
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Buy AEON ZEN Self Portrait Music

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Richard Hinks Music 2019
Nightmare Records 2013
$6.99 (used)
CD Baby 2014
$12.27 (used)
Face of the UnknownFace of the Unknown
CD Baby 2012
$7.98 (used)
Mind's PortraitMind's Portrait
CD Baby 2012
$6.99 (used)
A Mind's Portrait by Aeon Zen (2012-08-21)A Mind's Portrait by Aeon Zen (2012-08-21)
Time Divide Records Ltd
$33.77 (used)
Enigma by Aeon ZenEnigma by Aeon Zen
Nightmare Records/Red
$23.31 (used)
The Face of the Unknown by Aeon Zen (2013-05-04)The Face of the Unknown by Aeon Zen (2013-05-04)
Time Divide Records Ltd
$24.97 (used)
Ephemera by Aeon Zen (2014-05-04)Ephemera by Aeon Zen (2014-05-04)
Time Divine Single Edit by Aeon ZenTime Divine Single Edit by Aeon Zen
$71.72 (used)

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AEON ZEN Self Portrait ratings distribution

(5 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

AEON ZEN Self Portrait reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Self Portrait' - Aeon Zen (7/10)

At some point in every artist's career, they will generally stop t take a look at what they've already done, consolidating their position and reflecting upon the path they've taken. After releasing one of my favourite progressive metal albums of the year in Enigma, now seems like a perfect time for Aeon Zen to take a moment aside for reflection. From the band's origins essentially as a personal project of multi-instrumentalist Rich Hinks to its full-fledged current form, Aeon Zen has come a long way. Featuring a new song and three re-worked versions of compositions from their 2009 debut A Mind's Portrait, the recently released Self Portrait is a fitting demonstrator how far the band has progressed. Although the EP doesn't excel without its context as a simple indicator of the band's evolution, Self Portrait is a fine bite-sized chunk of modern progressive metal, and a welcome addendum for anyone who shared my love of their most recent full length.

Although I hesitate to use the term 'djent' when describing a band (or at least a band I like), Aeon Zen share some of their sound with the likes of contemporary progressive metal acts; their compatriots in TesseracT come first to mind. Although the instantly identifiable palm-muted tone associated with that dubious word was downplayed on the new album, Self Portrait has a distinctly djenty tone to it. Even though it's the shortest piece on the EP, the original composition 'Psych!' is my favourite song here. Built around an odd time signature, it's the sort of brimming overture that would have set a perfect atmosphere for a full-length. It's a very atmospheric take on progressive metal, similar to Devin Townsend or the latest record from TesseracT.

As for the covers here, the most notable difference is the improved musicianship and production. Although Aeon Zen started off on a great note for what was then largely a one-man act, these compositions really benefit from a full band performance. Of the three, 'Portrait' is my favourite piece, balancing ambient clean vocals with death growls and rhythmic riffs that recall Cynic. 'Rain' is a much softer track; guitars give way to piano here for the most part. While the track benefits greatly from a much improved production, I'm left wanting something more aggressive from the band; the smooth saxophone solo recalls Dream Theater's 'Another Day' and is an unexpected contribution, but doesn't work as well with the rest of the band's sound as it was probably intended to. 'Demise' has been significantly shortened from its original twelve minute length.

While Aeon Zen has been a good band from the start, their recent material is a firm step up from their origins. While I'm sure it was Aeon Zen's intention with Self Portrait to emphasize that fact, I would prefer to hear newly written material rather than revised versions of older songs. Enigma remains a favourite of mine, and has made me anxious to hear more from the band. Comparing these older compositions to the recent stuff however, it's evident to me that Aeon Zen have improved in more than their mere execution. Self Portrait doesn't hold my interest as much as an EP of fresh material would have, but it's a worthy addition to the history of one of progressive metal's most promising contemporary acts.

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