AEON ZEN – Inveritas (2019)
In our humble opinion, progressive metal scene seems a bit plunked down lately, with only few acts maintaining inventiveness. One of these are British combo AEON ZEN, which are presenting their new album “Inveritas” today.
Aeon Zen specializes in melodic progressive metal, long on soaring vocal harmonies, heavy riffs, symphonic keyboards and strong hooks. They can also dazzle you with instrumental virtuosity as well, yet at the service of the songs.
Founded by Rich Hinks (Annihilator) – which bass is not for the rhythm purpose only, but as a true ‘bass guitar’ – AEON ZEN has an ace under the sleeve as well; Bosnian-born / Swedish great lead lead singer Andi Kravljaca, ex frontman of the awesome Seventh Wonder.
“Inveritas” is the first AEON ZEN album written collectively, and you can hear its consistency. It’s complex and melodic catchy at the same time, something like a mix between Dream Theater and Tresseract.
Starting atmospheric but rapidly gaining intensity “Rebel Theory” opens the album in great form. Guitars get angry and technical, while the vocals have an odd cadence but highly harmonized and melodious. A nice ambient passage helps to break up the assault with a dreamy vocal phrasing.
“The First and Only Line” has a nice keyboard opening and then the bass-guitar explodes where guitars join the fold in tight unison and the chorus is full on. It’s a quite dark tune, however you really have to keep your bearing here because it shoots off in several different directions.
“Another Piece that Fits” is one of the most complete composition in this album. Opens with some original guitar arrangements, followed by a groovy bass line and impressive drumming. The instrumentation keeps a raucous pace while the vocals are done fairly softly overtop. Towards the end, it takes other direction into Jazz-Rock territory with some Dream Theater on it.
“The Last Alive” delivers more – and different – tempo shifts and Kravljaca’s clean and powerful vocal shine. “Disconnected” is pretty accessible, the title track “Inveritas”, while not being the opposite, is heavier with an aggressive edge, and some firey guitar leads. The vocal screams (perfect pitch) bring another dimension to the album.
“The World Without Sky” is one of my favorites; light proggy and extremely melodic, again, very different to the rest. I found this title similar to some Tresseract songs, and even Freak Kitchen. It’s commercial and appealing, apt for fans of all Rock genres.
One thing that surprised me from “Inveritas” – apart from the imaginative songwriting, arrangements and luxury performances – is the production / mastering. Seems AEON ZEN doesn’t like the ‘loudness war’ so in vogue nowadays, and the album sounds balanced and dynamic.
An always interesting band, playful and enjoyable.
1 – Rebel Theory
2 – The First and Only Line
3 – Another Piece That Fits
4 – The Last Alive
5 – The Treachery of Images
6 – Disconnected
7 – The World Without Sky
8 – Inveritas
Andi Kravljaca – Vocals
Rich Hinks – Bass, Vocals, Keyboards
Alistair Bell – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Steve Burton – Drums
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