Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Aeon Zen-Enigma


As I tackle my first post-Christmas promo I am enjoying my afternoon coffee and the return of my children (they spent the holidays with my ex-wife). What I am not enjoying is the first few inches of the 6-10 inches of snow that we are expected to get dumped on us over the next day or two. Thankfully, the past few days have seen plenty of new albums come my way both physical and digital. As I type this album I'm well aware that I keep looking over at the list of albums I hope to review over the next couple of days. Something tells me I'm not going to get to all of them so I'll just do the best I can. The first album on my list was Aeon Zen. This progressive metal band formed in 2008 and have released three albums now. The first album by Aeon Zen was 2009's "A Mind’s Portrait" followed by their second album, "The Face of the Unknown", in 2010. "Enigma" makes album number three for the band and features guests such as Nate Loosemore (Lost In Thought), Atle Pettersen (Above Symmetry) and Jonny Tatum (Eumeria). Produced by the band's own Rich Hinks (Guitar, Bass, Vocals) it's also the first Aeon Zen album which I had ever had the pleasure of hearing. Being a progressive metal band some of the influences should sound familiar. Dream Theater, Symphony X and Genesis were all listed in the promo, but some Rush could be added on too. If that sounds a bit on the lighter end of things that was my first thought before I first went to listen to "Enigma". Had I paid a bit more attention before hand I might have noticed the other influences listed such as Opeth and Megadeth. I'm glad I didn't as it allowed me to be surprised. More often then not I will only briefly look at any promo material. When listening to promos (especially from bands I'm unfamiliar with) it's more interesting to go in blind with very little knowledge so you can form your own opinion. Too often then not (when I first started off) I would read over any promo material and then I'd listen to the album. The more you expect to hear any/all bands listed as either influences or reference points the more often you'll find yourself let down in this business. It's better to just hit play and let the dice fall where they may. Aeon Zen are one of those bands when you can hear the old (Genesis, Symphony X) mixing in with the new (the band's recent influences are said to be bands such as Between The Buried And Me, Cynic, Periphery, Jørn Lande and Scar Symmetry). While some of those secondary/new influences might not be new it's kind of obvious that the band's take on it is. Since this is a band that is trying to branch out and try new ideas most of the music worked really well while other times you could sort of tell this was a band trying to find a firm footing on some of new influences. Had those influences been spelled out to me ahead of time I would have been justly let down. While Aeon Zen's pulls in some of those influences effectively their sound is still more progressive rock/progressive metal then   anything else. Even so, Aeon Zeus still have their own unique sound and, for the most part, as they go off in pursuit of  a new identity they seem as if their heading in the right direction. 

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