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Aeon Zen: Enigma

Ambitious Brit proggers break the metal mould

The problem with a lot of bands who toil away beneath the prog metal banner is that they believe that being ridiculously gifted musicians and sounding a bit like Dream Theater is enough to clinch the deal. Fortunately, Aeon Zen’s Rich Hinks has a more daring and imaginative vision that’s blossomed into something truly dazzling on the band’s third studio album.

While Enigma’s concept is preposterous, the music is an electrifying blizzard of smart ideas and gleaming sci-fi heaviness that harnesses everything from opulent pomp rock vocal harmonies, Savatage-style orchestral bombast and somnambulant ambience through to crushing, Gojira-esque riffing, scabrous death growls and even occasional bursts of djent-like polyrhythmic mischief.

On the shimmering Warning, Rich even gives Devin Townsend a run for his money in the spinetingling anthem stakes. What’s more remarkable is that Enigma hangs together beautifully, those theoretically disparate stylistic strands combining to create something that thrums with vitality and a laudable devotion to making music that impresses and resonates.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.