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Aeon Zen - Enigma (Nightmare Records)

By: Matt Coe

[8/10] Forming in 2008, the floodgates appear to be wide open creatively for releasing full length product for this UK progressive metal act. Two albums within two years, as well as a prime support slot for the Devin Townsend Project across 12 countries in Europe during 2011 leads us to the third record Enigma. Filling out as a quintet with new keyboardist Shaz, the nine songs on this effort illustrate the ability to siphon the old, complex template with a modern, semi-staccato meets djent guitar style in shorter, compact arrangements.

Aeon Zen isn’t afraid to add a light, jazzy horn break during the tranquil section of the somber “Seven Hills,” which contrasts the conventional Dream Theater-like musical montage that opens the record instrumentally entitled “Enter the Enigma.” Drummer Steve Burton is adept at death metal blasts just as he is twisting tempos at will- check out the Opeth-esque “Divinity” for his double bass maneuvers, lightning fast fills and impeccable sense of timing.

Alongside the professional skills of vocalist Andi Kravljaca (Silent Call), three other vocalists appear to add their own texture to the band’s cause. Atle Pettersen (Above Symmetry), Jonny Tatum (Eumeria) and Nate Loosemore (Lost in Thought) give Enigma a deeper emotional platform, as the clean and extreme deliveries match the mood of each arrangement.

It’s a younger generation who seem willing and able to push parameters and use technology to deliver a wider scope of feelings, emotions, and contrasts. Much like the peanut butter and chocolate argument of whether each is better separate or together, Aeon Zen has no qualms about loving Symphony X, Threshold, and Megadeth as much as Periphery or Between The Buried And Me- and making it work within their output.

Melodic, modern progressive metal that should grab a wide scope in audience enthusiasm - Enigma could be a sleeper hit if these gentlemen land the right touring situations.

 www.aeonzen.com

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