If Ballistic, Sadistic (Silver Lining Music), the new album by Canadian speedsters Annihilator, is anything to go by, then relocating to the UK is probably the best move the band’s mastermind Jeff Waters has made for years. Consistency has been an issue with Annihilator for some time, but since the recruitment of English bassist Rich Hinks, the band have not only rediscovered their classic sound but a new lease of life in the process. Continue reading
A former car factory, KK’s Steel Mill sits at the heart of industrial Wolverhampton and is owned, as the name suggests, by former Judas Priest guitarist and general all-round local legend KK Downing. This latest West Midlands rock venue opened its doors last year and, apart from the impressively sized stage area and the massive wall banner showing the artwork to Priest’s 1986 album Turbo, looks to have changed very little from when it was built back in 1903. Continue reading
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.