Aeon Zen

Ephemera

Written by: BW on 29/08/2014 19:46:12

Aeon Zex have released to date two albums and an EP, with their last full record “Enigma” sounding like a progressive band coming to fruition and sounding pretty good with their nice blend of tight musical notes and subtle vocal work. Their new release is a slight departure from the rock side of things and delves a little more towards the metal, but can the band withstand such a change?

The first track from “Ephemera” is “The Entity”, which from an outsider’s point of view makes you lean towards an album delving more into something with a sci-fi feel. The actual feel of the album is a bit more rugged right from the off, with some hard drum work and a lot of double kick, as well as the occasional guitar slide, but the musical quality doesn’t slide at all. It sounds a bit like something from Dream Theater during their rocky patch in terms of the heaviness and if I had to criticise slightly it would be that Andi Kravljaca and Rich Hinks’ vocals sometimes get lost in the power and don’t quite seem to hold up against the audio barrage behind them. That blip aside though it all sounds good and is a healthy start to proceedings.

“Soul Machine” has a smashing intro to it. There is a really great amount of sinister chord work in there and the guitars from Ali Bell really do accentuate it. The song itself is a fast paced number with some interesting chorus harmony from the voice box mixed with our first batch of growling. As I said before, it is a much darker effort from the British based quintet. The mention of things like indoctrination makes me think the sci-fi thing was on the money. The soft mid section is a very pleasing break to the intensity, but just be warned that it goes off the chart as it nears its end with high notes that would even top the Dickinson scale. The guitar harmonies in particular are excellent here.

If you want an example that this is a progressive rock album though, “Life?” brings the answer to you on a silver platter, with an almost musical number at the start before bringing you back to what is expected. It does dip back into the odd with some nicely quirky accordion guided stuff, but for the most part it is a solid track, given an injection of fun with the quirky stuff.

From the weird to the generic though is a problem we have with “Unite” in that it really sounds like something anyone could have done in the genre, which is sad, especially with such a good start. The vocals, especially in the chorus are quite predictable and almost sound like a copy. This could be because I’ve listened to as much of this lately, but it is the first let down on the album, mainly because it doesn’t hold up to what I’ve heard so far. It does pick up about a minute from the end with a nice instrumental section, but by then my interest certainly had cooled a little by this point.

“Penumbra” and “The Order Of The Blind” should really be looked at together because the former is the intro to the latter. A slower track to start with, but as things go on it really picks up a lot of pace and shows just what these guys are capable of, as well as restoring my faith in the album a bit. The time signature changes are frantic near the end and help to keep you hooked. The one thing that I’ve been very pleased about throughout listening though is just how tight this lot are. The guitars are solid and work well in tandem, with the drumming side of things holding it all together well.

Pick of the bunch has to be “Rememberance” which is exactly what a progressive metal track should have. Little intricate piano sections in the middle of some heavy guitars, double kick drums in time with some proper growl work, as well as the odd Linkin Park style interruption of noise (you’ll know what I’m on about when you listen). The chords are equally good mixing some sassy minor stuff together. It’s when the chord and guitar mix that you really hit the jackpot. I’d say only the quiet vocals let it down just a little, much like it did in “The Entity” but on the whole it’s a cracking track.

With “Rebuild The Ruins” offering the last big hurrah in terms of pace and heaviness and “The Space You Wanted” closing things well enough with a slowed down, but intricately played out finale, you have a rather decent album sitting there. I think it plays fine and has some really cool bits throughout. The instruments are being played the way you like them to be and the songs themselves are well thought out, which is always nice to see. If I had only one gripe that seems to stick with me it would be that as much as Rich and Andi are good singers, their range sometimes gets lost in the heat of the moment. When they get the balance right on here it works well, but it sometimes feels like it is just a little too much for them. Listening to “Enigma” proves what can be done when it’s all mixed right, but I’m perhaps being too picky.

“Ephemera” is a solid listen though and adds a few things that some other proggers don’t think about and it results in a metal album that is easily listenable and sometimes hits that sweet emotional spot. By that I mean that certain chord change along with the right blend of audio that just makes your smile work. It needs a tweak here and there, but in general terms I can’t say it is a bad thing to listen to at all. If you need prog in your life and want something from a band who are slowly working their way up the ranks then you could do worse than this one as a starting point.

7

Download: Rebuild the Ruins, Rememberance, Soul Machine
For The Fans Of: Dream Theater, Opeth, Symphony X, Dream Factory
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 01.09.2014
Self Released


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