Aeon Zen
A Mind's Portrait
Style: Progressive Metal
Release date: May 1st 2009

It only took a few moments of listening to this album for me to make up my mind. "A Mind's Portrait" is manna for anyone into Progressive Metal. The fact that this is only the band's debut album makes it all the more impressive.

Aeon Zen is pretty much the project of one Rich Hinks, a young lad from Cambridge, England, who hires/invites musicians along for the ride. In "A Mindís Portrait" these musicians are primarily the band's vocalists, namely Nils K. Rue (of Pagan's Mind), Andi Kravljaka (of Silent Call), Andreas Novak (of Mind's Eye) and Elyes Bouchoucha (of Myrath) - a strong line-up that generally fulfils its promise. Lloyd Musto - Rich's pal - helps out on drums and does a good job of it too. The live line-up seems to have settled reasonably well with Mr. Kravlyaka on vocals together with Matt Shepherd on guitar, Christian van Schuerbeck on keyboards and Mike Lennon on drums. Rich himself is focusing on bass guitar when the band hits a stage.

So is this a British Ayreon? Possibly, because it's also the music that has parallels to the Dutch masters of Progressive Metal, especially its epic scope and the 'ethereal' themes of the songs. Like all good Progressive Metal albums, there's a rich variety of moods and instruments and it all has a strong organic feel. Other obvious influences (at least to my ears) are Evergrey, Dream Theatre, Pain Of Salvation and Threshold... especially Threshold.

Originality might not be the album's strongest virtue. Despite possibly sounding pedantic I felt, for example, that certain riffs were too close for comfort to bands such as Symphony X - something which could form strong expectations in the listener's mind.

Aeon Zen is a name we're going to hear more from in the near future and with such a strong debut that's what we all hope for.


01. Existence
Time Divine
Blinded Rain
Hope's Echo, Pt.1: The Wake
Hope's Echo, Pt.2: The Aftermath
A Mindís Portrait
The Circle's End
Heavens Falling
Into The Infinite
The Demise of the Fifth Sun

Label: Time Divide Records
Buy the disc: CDBaby
Reviewed by: Chris Galea
Date: April 26th 2010