Aeon Zen: The Face Of The Unknown

The one-man UK prog machine returns.

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Boasting more time changes than Dr Who in a possessed Tardis, Aeon Zen’s second album really does throw down the prog-metal gauntlet for sheer audacity and imagination.

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Rich Hinks has pulled out all the stops to create as dynamic and breathtaking an album as possible, a work of fiendish musical complexity and uplifting melodic beauty.

Sticking to the format of bringing in guest prog-friendly musos and vocalists to augment the songs, the voices may change but the overall artistic vision remains unerringly focused and accomplished.

Naturally, it’s very tempting indeed to cite the longest tracks as the best – not least epic opener Salvation and Crystal Skies – just for the super-heroic levels of instrumental dexterity and brain-spinning intricacy, but Hinks’s more concise compositions cram in plenty of inventive twists and turns too. So good so early on – a lengthy prog-tastic career beckons.

Essi Berelian

Whether it’s magazines, books or online, Essi has been writing about rock ’n’ metal for around thirty years. He has been reviews editor for Classic Rock and Metal Hammer, rock reviews editor for lads mag Front and worked for Kerrang!. He has also written the Rough Guide to Heavy Metal and contributed to the Rough Guide to Rock and Rough Guide Book of Playlists, and the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles (13th edition). Most fun interview? Tenacious D – Jack Black and Kyle Gass – for The Pick of Destiny movie book. An avid record/CD/tape collector, he’s amassed more music than he could ever possibly listen to, which annoys his wife no end.