Aeon Zen – Enigma

2013 Nightmare Records

You have to hand it to Rich Hinks, he gripped the prog metal scene with his own marketing plan, having built up hype all around armed with his one man band Aeon Zen and the second album The Face of the Unknown, being known on a first name basis as the guy who plays everything but the kitchen sink – hell, unlike many one-man/DIY projects he even toured and built up a live following. However, outside of the prog-metal market, the buck stops there.

Sounding like everything else you have heard, it’s over-hyped albums like these that is turning the current metal scene into a sluggish nerd fest. It’s got your stereotypical double bass with lightning speed tempos, prevalent on “Divinity,” a Queen tribute on “Eternal Snow,” the token ballad of “Turned to Ash,” and your post-sci-fi/Ayreon-esque anthem of “Downfall” offering up everything cliché about most prog & symphonic metal that has become a boasting heap of narcissism – there’s is just too much going on here, it’s too busy to comprehend. Not to say that Hinks and company sucks, stronger songwriting and slicker production without all of the epic sap would make these guys symphonic rock superheroes, but you have to start somewhere. You have to hand it to them, they did snag gigs with Queensnryche & Devin Townsend; production by the latter might yield something brilliant.

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