What a relief for eardrums that usually get beaten by brutal riffs and blastbeats... and the more often I listen to this album, the more I like it. So if you are exclusively into Thrash/Death/Black Metal or Hard-/Metal-/Grindcore, you can stop reading here.
All the others, who enjoy musical adventures of a different kind should give the third output of this band a try. The Brits name Dream Theater as (obvious) influence, but also Opeth and Genesis – which is evident in the Electronic-Pop intro of “Artificial Soul”. When they feature epic-melodic orchestra parts, I cannot avoid thinking of Kamelot or Rhapsody... It´s not easy to describe this musical trip through various genres, as there is a common factor but still every song has something specific. “Divinity” for example features evil growls*, and although the overall impression is “melodic, soothing”, you should not expect any kind of “easy listening” music. However, those smooth tunes lure you into listening to the album a bit more closely over and over again...
“Seven Hills” in particular is such a track, first sounding like a pop song with beautiful almost kitsch-vocals, but then after a saxophone comes in it driftes onto Prog-shores. “Warning” opens like an epic Saga-song, but is then dominated by a hypnotic rhythm guitar – which reminds me of a classic of The Gathering; combined with epic harmonies and dramatic vocals a la “Rockmusical”, this song just grabs you – it´s my personal highlight of this CD.
The second half of this album is rougher and more experimental, and fans of the legendary Savatage will probably cry tears of joy about a track like “Still Human”. After that it´s getting rather pop/electronic – well, in the beginning, because “Eternal Snow” develops into an orgy of massive riffs and evil growls, a sound-storm calming down shortly before “Downfall” mixes all mentioned elements, adding some Jazz, to provide an epic intense finale. Great (Prog-Rock/Metal) album, buy it!
AEON ZEN are:
Rich Hinks - Guitar, Bass, Vocals
Andi Kravljaca - Vocals
Matt Shepherd - Guitar
Shaz - Keyboards
Steve Burton - Drums