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Released: 2013, Nightmare Records
Nightmare Records starts off 2013 with a pair of strong albums including ENIGMA the 5th release from Aeon Zen. They have been pretty prolific with four studio albums and a live album since 2009. This is the first time we have commented on this English band in our review section.
Prog albums can tend to be long, dramatic affairs yet ENIGMA is quite compact at nine songs for a running time of 45 minutes and no long songs at all. The quintet write and perform some very interesting songs, very unconventional in terms of traditional verse-chorus-verse song structure. Each piece has interesting arrangements and a wide variety of sound and sonic impact. For example the song, 'Warning' starts with a very subdued and gentle guitar line reminiscent of perhaps a Steve Vai ballad before gradually building in tone, intensity and tempo to include a hint of growled vocals and pinch harmonics.
The individual performances are good as is the production value. The keyboards and guests compliment each other nicely with little flourishes and solos scattered through the songs. There is a hint of Dream Theater to the bands sounds perhaps because of the smooth voice and varied delivery of Andi Kravljaca. Andi has been in many bands over the years (Vindictiv, Seventh Wonder) and he has a really good range. I'm not convinced the album really needs the Death growls however.
I feel that Aeon Zen carries a strong sense of the grand UK prog rock tradition as I heard hints of Magnum and other giants of the scene. ENIGMA is an excellent album for fans of Progressive Metal.
1. Enter the Enigma
2. Artificial Soul
4. Seven Hills
6. Turned to Ash
7. Still Human
8. Eternal Snow
Andi Kravljaca Vocals
Matt Shepherd Guitar
Rich Hinks Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Steve Burton Drums
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