Produced by Rich Hinks
This Aeon Zen's third album is a concept apparently about a person who finds a large sum of money who hopes it will turn him into a better person, but sadly he goes the opposite way leading to catastrophic results. The album is called Enigma, which can be defined as "a puzzling or inexplicable occurrence or situation, or a person of puzzling or contradictory character", so seems fitting for the story.
Featuring primarily a solid line up with just a few special guests, including Nate Loosemore of Lost In Thought; Atle Pettersen from Above Symmetry and Jonny Tatum from Eumeria, makes the album more cohesive than previous albums, but this doesn't stop the diversity on the album going from death grunts to sax solos in quick succession.
Opening with an atmospheric track Enter The Enigma, reminiscent of '70s bands Eloy and Tangerine Dream with heavy guitar breaking into the mix, leading directly into Artificial Soul where the lyrics are shared between two voices, one of which is the main character speaking. This track has, like a number of other tracks, some lovely harmonies, and a nice building guitar solo.
Divinity is a more frantic, heavy track very similar in style to Dream Theater with hints of Opeth - a combination of clean vocals and death grunting - finishing with gentle piano leading into a really lovely piece called Seven Hills. Again there is similarity with Dream Theater, albeit at their poppiest; a very reflective track. It's possible there's a link to Rome or Athens here, both cities famous for being built on seven hills. The lyric sheet may be required to help fully understand this record.
Moving on through the story another influence on the band can be heard with Warning. Opening with keyboard effects, bells and guitar it breaks into something Devin Townsend Project could have come up with - so touring a year or so with Devin must have left its mark. There is one heavy guitar solo that comes to a quick end, sadly, to make way for the next Turned To Ash which explains more about the main character and his frustrations, with a really emotional guitar solo.
The next two tracks Still Human and Eternal Snow feature piano very effectively; on the former, the interplay between musicians is particularly spellbinding. Finishing with Downfall the album once again drifts into Dream Theater/Opeth territory, with some Ihsahn-like sax. It's a very good finish to an excellent CD, which gets better on each listen.
“ more cohesive than previous albums ”
Tracklist: Enter The Enigma / Artificial Soul / Divinity / Seven Hills / Warning / Turned To Ash / Still Human / Eternal Snow / Downfall
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