You be a little suspicious of Zero Hour when you take a look at the album art for their latest disc, 'Dark Deceiver.' Yeah, it's more than a little creepy, more like horrific. You may wonder what kind of music is hidden in that little plastic disc in you hand. Is it some form of black metal, possibly death metal, or maybe some extreme form of thrash akin to, say, Slayer? You'd be wrong on all accounts. Zero Hour performs an exciting form of progressive metal, and yes, they are from the States. Formed by guitarist Jasun Tipton and bassist Troy Tipton, twin brothers from the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1990's, they count Fates Warning, Sieges Even, Pain of Salvation and Dream Theater as their peers and influences. 2006's interesting 'Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond' put them on the map, more probably in Europe than here. 'Dark Deceiver' will sure solidify their status as a better and innovative progressive metal band.
To truly appreciate 'Dark Deceiver,' one must be prepared for an incredible sonic assault from the beginning. 'Power To Believe' roars at you with incredible speed with Jasun scaling the fret board like a madman. Vocalist Chris Salinas shows the extreme range of his talents as bellows and screams with perfect clarity. The title track is equally intense having a more ferocious start. But then you begin hear some changes as subtle interludes are introduced into the music. Arriving at 'Inner Spirit,' the longest and most brilliant piece, you discover the mystery of Zero Hour's fine prog metal. The first half is a tour de force of heavy progressive metal that introduces an aptly timed and beautiful interlude of calming music and smooth vocals from Salinas. Later, there is 'Tendonitis' a short yet sophisticated piece of bass guitar work. What follows is still more pleasing prog metal. Specifically, 'The Passion Of Words' ranks as another of the best on this work.
Clearly, Zero Hour is, and has been, on to something good for some time now. 'Dark Deceiver' is powerful and intense progressive metal with vision and vitality. Their recognition has been quiet and slow in coming for sometime now. This work will easily bring the world to Zero Hour's doorstep. Very recommended!
- Craig Hartranft
American progressive metal has some new heroes in Zero Hour. Their version of progressive metal is passionate and visionary. 'Dark Deceiver' will please all fans who like the challenge of intensity and sophistication.
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