It seems like an eternity ago when Brit Prog-Metallers Aeon Zen first commanded attention as fast risers and one to watch. A couple of well received releases and a much coveted European trek supporting modern progfather Devin Townsend has certainly proven them to not be sitting on their laurels but there has been the feeling that something major is still to come of them. New album Ephemera (Independent/self-released) should be just that album.
In hindsight, all their previous works are merely pointers as to what Rich Hinks’ outfit are capable of. Ephemera pushes the band’s heavier side and its obvious prog rock influences to much further lengths than previous culminating in the bands most ferocious yet experimental album to date.
Real plaudits have to go to the vocal performances of both Hinks and frontman Andi Kravljaca who together display a huge dynamic range between the high, power metal like wails found opening ‘Soul Machine’ to harsh growls and even the quirky delivery on ‘Life?’
The vocal diversity sits well as the album veers from the huge pomp of tech metal tinged openers ‘The Entity’ and ‘Soul Machine’, the whimsy of ‘Life?’ and melodic death metal passages. In fact the plethora of ideas at play here is quite staggering. From the odd Gentle Giant reminiscent vocal play to the piano peppering in death metal orientated ‘Remembrance’; Ephemera is full of surprises and unexpected tangents which still remains a completely cohesive piece.
Since their inception to the world, Aeon Zen have always been threatening to be a formidable force in modern progressive metal and Ephemera is the perfect realization of this potential. Offering a combination of Scar Symmetry and The Mountain (InsideOut) period Haken, Ephemera offers enough for the tech metal crowd with and the most stubborn of Prog fans.