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HARDWARES

AEON ZEN

Enigma

(Nightmare Records)

Reviewed by : Kelley Simms
Rating : 8.0

UK-based AEON ZEN are a rising force in the UK's progressive metal scene. On its third full-length release, Enigma, a cornucopia of influences featuring varied elements from veteran prog metal bands such as DREAM THEATER, OPETH, RUSH and SYMPHONY X to more modern and recent prog metal newbies such as BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, PERIPHERY and SCAR SYMMETRY are on tap here. Rush, PINK FLOYD and Devin Townsend meets Dream Theater on “Warning” with its excellent instrumentation and transitions. As good as the band is, the thing that is slightly unsettling to me is that it sounds like there’s two halves to the album. It’s split between the mellower songs to the more aggressive songs with slight death metal influences. I wish they would lean toward one way or the other. It almost sounds like two different bands performing “Artificial Soul” compared to the hard-charging “Divinity,” with it’s growling death metal vocals and blazing riffs. The same can be said for the album’s two closing songs, “Eternal Snow” and “Downfall,” with their explosive bursts of power and blazing guitar leads. I guess you could call it diversity? However, the band is obviously talented and has great chops to be able to pull off this kind of challenging music in the first place. Vocalist Andi Kravljaca has an awesome set of pipes and displays a great range that compliments this brand of music. The songs get stronger as the album moves along and the production job by the band's own bassist/guitarist Rich Hinks is crystal clear and vibrant. This could be the album that propels the band into the upper echelon of the prog metal movement.



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