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Aeon Zen are a progressive rock/metal band formed in 2008, led by the only permanent member, vocalist, guitarist, bassist, keyboard player and drummer Rich Hinks.

Rich is based in Cambridge, UK. He notates the music, records and then produces the songs of Aeon Zen with guests appearing on the recordings with him.

The first Aeon Zen album, entitled "A Mind's Portrait", was released in 2009 to critical acclaim and was labelled by Classic Rock Magazine as 'a strong contender for best newcomer at the very, very least'.

On 12th October 2010 the second Aeon Zen album "The Face of the Unknown" was released.

In early 2010 Rich put together Aeon Zen Live. This is a live show involving other musicians playing alongside Rich and incorporates some of the guest musicians appearing live.They appeared at the first Prog Festival Weekender in Bury St Edmunds.

Edited by Colt 28.1.2011
Thanks to adg211288 for the addition and colt for the updates

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Nightmare Records 2013
$6.99 (used)
Nightmare 2014
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The Face of the UnknownThe Face of the Unknown
Time Divide Records Ltd 2010
A Mind's PortraitA Mind's Portrait
Time Divide Records Ltd 2009
$31.50 (used)
A Mind's Portrait by Aeon Zen (2012-08-21)A Mind's Portrait by Aeon Zen (2012-08-21)
Time Divide Records Ltd
Enigma by Aeon ZenEnigma by Aeon Zen
Nightmare Records/Red
The Face of the Unknown by Aeon Zen (2013-05-04)The Face of the Unknown by Aeon Zen (2013-05-04)
Time Divide Records Ltd
Ephemera by Aeon Zen (2014-05-04)Ephemera by Aeon Zen (2014-05-04)
Time Divine Single Edit by Aeon ZenTime Divine Single Edit by Aeon Zen
Time Divine Single EditTime Divine Single Edit
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AEON ZEN Discography

AEON ZEN albums / top albums

AEON ZEN A Mind's Portrait album cover 3.92 | 4 ratings
A Mind's Portrait
Progressive Metal 2009
AEON ZEN The Face of the Unknown album cover 3.88 | 4 ratings
The Face of the Unknown
Progressive Metal 2010
AEON ZEN Enigma album cover 3.49 | 8 ratings
Progressive Metal 2013
AEON ZEN Ephemera album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Progressive Metal 2014

AEON ZEN EPs & splits

AEON ZEN Self Portrait album cover 3.50 | 3 ratings
Self Portrait
Progressive Metal 2013

AEON ZEN live albums

AEON ZEN demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

AEON ZEN re-issues & compilations

AEON ZEN A Mind's Portrait (Instrumental Soundtrack) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
A Mind's Portrait (Instrumental Soundtrack)
Progressive Metal 2010

AEON ZEN singles (1)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Time Divine
Progressive Metal 2010

AEON ZEN movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

AEON ZEN Reviews


Album · 2013 · Progressive Metal
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Aeon Zen's "Enigma" has enough progressive metal to satiate the palate of respective headbangers and yet retains some very melodic songs with exceptional singing. At times the band launch into full blown death metal complete with deep devilish growls on 'Divinity', 'Eternal Snow' or 'Downfall', but they mainly opt for the Dream Theater style of keyboard drenched melodies with metal blasts and crystal clear vocals such as on 'Artificial Soul'. The softer side of the group is a delight and can be heard on the dreamy 'Seven Hills', that has a wonderful synth trumpet sound and multilayered harmonies.

Rich Hinks on guitar and bass has exceptional style as does fellow guitarist Matt Shephard. Andi Kravljaca handles the vocals well and there are some excellent drum figures at the hands of Steve Burton. Shaz is fabulous on keyboards, and often lends a rather ambient atmosphere in tracks such as the instrumental opener 'Enter the Enigma' and the intro of 'Warning'. This latter track also has a dense distorted metal riff that locks in and the melody and style reminded me of a Devin Townsend song. There are some nice sax tones heard on 'Downfall' that break up the frenetic metal blastbeats, and the vocals are always appealing and especially the killer lead guitar frenzies such as on 'Eternal Snow' or 'Still Human'.

Overall this is a great album, that will appeal to prog metal addicts, especially those who prefer the melodic side similar to Threshold, Haken, or Dream Theater.

AEON ZEN Self Portrait

EP · 2013 · Progressive Metal
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Conor Fynes
'Self Portrait' - Aeon Zen (7/10)

At some point in every artist’s career, they will generally stop t take a look at what they’ve already done, consolidating their position and reflecting upon the path they’ve taken. After releasing one of my favourite progressive metal albums of the year in Enigma, now seems like a perfect time for Aeon Zen to take a moment aside for reflection. From the band’s origins essentially as a personal project of multi-instrumentalist Rich Hinks to its full-fledged current form, Aeon Zen has come a long way. Featuring a new song and three re-worked versions of compositions from their 2009 debut A Mind’s Portrait, the recently released Self Portrait is a fitting demonstrator how far the band has progressed. Although the EP doesn’t excel without its context as a simple indicator of the band’s evolution, Self Portrait is a fine bite-sized chunk of modern progressive metal, and a welcome addendum for anyone who shared my love of their most recent full length.

Although I hesitate to use the term ‘djent’ when describing a band (or at least a band I like), Aeon Zen share some of their sound with the likes of contemporary progressive metal acts; their compatriots in TesseracT come first to mind. Although the instantly identifiable palm-muted tone associated with that dubious word was downplayed on the new album, Self Portrait has a distinctly djenty tone to it. Even though it’s the shortest piece on the EP, the original composition “Psych!” is my favourite song here. Built around an odd time signature, it’s the sort of brimming overture that would have set a perfect atmosphere for a full-length. It’s a very atmospheric take on progressive metal, similar to Devin Townsend or the latest record from TesseracT.

As for the covers here, the most notable difference is the improved musicianship and production. Although Aeon Zen started off on a great note for what was then largely a one-man act, these compositions really benefit from a full band performance. Of the three, “Portrait” is my favourite piece, balancing ambient clean vocals with death growls and rhythmic riffs that recall Cynic. “Rain” is a much softer track; guitars give way to piano here for the most part. While the track benefits greatly from a much improved production, I’m left wanting something more aggressive from the band; the smooth saxophone solo recalls Dream Theater’s “Another Day” and is an unexpected contribution, but doesn’t work as well with the rest of the band’s sound as it was probably intended to. “Demise” has been significantly shortened from its original twelve minute length.

While Aeon Zen has been a good band from the start, their recent material is a firm step up from their origins. While I’m sure it was Aeon Zen’s intention with Self Portrait to emphasize that fact, I would prefer to hear newly written material rather than revised versions of older songs. Enigma remains a favourite of mine, and has made me anxious to hear more from the band. Comparing these older compositions to the recent stuff however, it’s evident to me that Aeon Zen have improved in more than their mere execution. Self Portrait doesn’t hold my interest as much as an EP of fresh material would have, but it’s a worthy addition to the history of one of progressive metal’s most promising contemporary acts.


Album · 2013 · Progressive Metal
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Time Signature
Still human...

Genre: progressive rock

Having expanded Aeon Zen into a proper band, Rich Hinks returns with a third Aeon Zen album in the form of "Enigma". The album is a massive-sounding progressive affair taking cues from both progressive metal and progressive rock.

There are a lot of soft and melodic parts on the album in the shape of both mellow verses and plenty of soft passages with piano effect and clean guitars, accompanied by vocal arrangements that sometimes remind me of Gentle Giant's "Octopus"-album. Indeed there are plenty of progressive rock elements on the album, but "Enigma" is nonetheless a metal album and it does feature some very heavy downtuned guitars, delivering crushing and quirky odd-metered grooves.

As it happens, the best track on the album for my money is the odd man out - namely, 'Divinity' which is a fierce progressive extreme metal track, drawing on tech death metal, melodeath and power-thrash, featuring growls and blastbeats. While the rest of the album does have a tendency to not captivate me 100%, this track is really awesome. I kind of hope that this will be the future sound of Aeon Zen.

A fine album displaying superior musicianship and dynamic songwriting, "Enigma" is definitely an album worth checking out, if you are into progressive metal.


Album · 2013 · Progressive Metal
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Enigma is the third full-length album by British progressive metal act Aeon Zen. Although it was originally slated for a 2012 release the band changed record label to Nightmare Records which resulted in the album being delayed until early 2013. Aeon Zen previously were more or less the solo vehicle of musician Rich Hinks, but on Enigma Aeon Zen is presented for the first time as much more of a full band outfit. Hinks has passed on the keyboard and drum duties to new members Shaz and Steve Burton respectively, while Matt Shepherd and Andi Kravljaca have joined in additional guitarist and vocalist roles. Although Hinks still performs vocals and guitars on the album it seems he’s taken on the bassist role for the most part, as seen in the official video for Divinity. Despite having two vocalists as members of the band though Aeon Zen still features a group of guest vocalists; Nate Loosemore (Lost in Thought), Atle Pettersen (ex-Aspera) and Jonny Tatum (Eumeria).

The music on Enigma for the most part is very melodic progressive metal mixed with much lighter but obviously still very melodic progressive rock. Therefore choosing a song like Divinity to promote the album is a strange choice, because as far as doing oddball things go, this is definitely one of them. You see although Divinity shares elements that you’d expect to hear from the album by the time the song hits as the third track, it’s also heavily influenced by technical death metal. I’m not just talking the use of growling vocals alongside the clean singing you’ll be hearing across most of the disc, but also the music. It certainly livens up the experience which up until this point actually felt rather laid back and melancholic. It’s certainly the way to change the pace in style.

This is where the flaw in the album becomes apparent; Aeon Zen are damn good at doing the style displayed during Divinity, and we don’t get to hear anything like that again during the whole album. A few growls are also used much later on Eternal Snow, but the sound isn’t captured in quite the same way as for the most part the song is in the light and melodic style heard across multiple songs. Fortunately for Aeon Zen they’re still decent on doing the other styles they portray during Enigma, but I would have liked to hear few more sections which contained a bit of Divinity’s grit. Its absence after the song ends is felt, and made the album a difficult one for me to get into. I’d actually go as far to say that Enigma ranks as one of the most difficult progressive albums I’ve ever encountered.

All this said, I’ve never been one to write an album off for not being what I expected it to be, and Aeon Zen have showed themselves more than competent during Enigma. I’ll reiterate though that it has been a difficult album for me to get into even as a progressive metal/rock fan as perseverance of multiple spins hasn’t made Enigma as rewarding as some other albums I’ve had to let grow on me, although I do ultimately feel a little more positive about it than I did after my original listen. This is a good album to be sure, but it never quite manages to be great. There are some great songs, Still Human being another one that like with Divinity didn’t take more than a single listen to really hit the spot, and I also quite like Artificial Soul. But much of the album lacked that special spark to make it really special, which is why I can’t give it any more than a ‘good’ tier rating, rather than a ‘great’ tier or better.


(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (

AEON ZEN A Mind's Portrait

Album · 2009 · Progressive Metal
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AEON ZEN is the project of multi-instrumentalist Richard Hinks who has called upon some heavyweights(mostly vocalists) to help out with this the debut. His long time friend Lloyd Musto is on drums here but he would not be on the next album. "Existance" features SEVENTH WONDER vocalist Andi Kravijaka and i do like the heavier sections in this one. "Time Divine" has PAGAN MIND's Nils K Rue who just kills on this one. Without a doubt my favouite vocal performance on here. "Blinded Rain" has Andi back again on vocals. This one has more laid back sections on it. A beautiful song. "Hope's Echo Pt I & Pt II" has MIND's EYE singer Andreas Novak on it. The first part is a piano led ballad while the second part is better with the heaviness coming and going. "A Mind's Portrait" is dark and melancholic with reserved vocals. I adore this track because it really reminds me of OPETH's "Damnation" record. "The Circle's End" is really the short instrumental conclusion of "A Mind's Portrait". An impressive display here. "Heavens Falling" opens with piano and builds. We even get a "Free"-like section including the vocals. I'm talking OSI of course. "Into The Infinite" is atmospheric to start but when it kicks in it's like a runaway train. "Goddess" is an orchestral-like instrumental. "The Demise Of The Fifth Sun" ends it in style. Check out the vocals from MYRATH singer Elyes Bouchoucha ! A rampage at one point and later it's aggressive and complex to boot. Lots of variety as you might expect with so many guests and of course given the album's title. 4 stars and i like this better than the follow-up.

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