1st September 2014 – Nightmare Records
01. The Entity
02. Soul Machine
06. The Order of The Blind
08. Rebuild The Ruins
09. The Space You Wanted
Continuing the trend of excellence that has been emerging from England of late, and led by guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and founding member Rich Hinks, Aeon Zen have been creating interesting, modern progressive metal in the vein of a much groovier, djenty Devin Townsend since 2008. They’ve released three albums in that time – with 2013’s Enigma fairly well acclaimed – and hot on the heels of that is Ephemera, their fourth.
There are some definite influences from the burgeoning British djent/groove prog metal scene, especially on the songs “The Entity” and “Unite”; both of which have giant rhythmic riffs to open up. “Unite” especially is a monster; it hits the listener with the force of a goddamn hurricane made out of wrecking balls, and is quite reminiscent of Monuments‘ The Amanuensis released earlier this year. “Soul Machine” is a particular gem; a heavy, aggressive song that journeys through several styles, from melodic to blast-beats. There’s also hearty prog meat to be found in the glitch-groove drive in “Remembrance”, and the more symphonic prog that comes in “Rebuild The Ruins”
The clean vocals, provided by frontman Andi Kravlijaca, are excellent. On “Unite” he proves his melodic chops are among the best, and works perfectly with the style of music that Aeon Zen play. His work in the chorus of “Soul Machine” has a cool, dark sort of feel to it too, and the melodies are all very interesting and memorable.
The bass work on Ephemera is incredible, and is probably the most impressive individual instrument on the album. There are a lot of really neat bass fills all over, and even its rhythm parts are quite well done. The guitar parts are a bit less interesting for the most part; sometimes sticking to just chugging on a chord, which is fine, just not really stand out. Some riffs jump out at the listener really well though, and the tone is superb, with just the right amount of distortion: not so much that it seems to be a distorted mess.
There are a couple weaker moments on the album however. “Life?” and “The Space You Wanted” fail to hold attention for too long, and “The Order of the Blind” is too short to be of any real interest. These issues are few however, and Ephemera is still a very good album overall. Aeon Zen’s largest influence is very obviously Devin Townsend, but the influences they have added do a fair amount to keep their sound interesting. Thankfully they do not overwhelm their core sound to the point where it feels like the band is trend-hopping, but rather a simple infusion of something fresh to the band’s overall sound.
Ephemera is certainly the best album of their young career, but it does not feel as if they have painted themselves into a corner quality wise yet either, and definitely cements the band as a force to be reckoned with in the burgeoning English scene.
Favourite tracks: “Soul Machine” “”Unite” “Rebuild the Ruins”