ZERO HOUR
"Dark Deceiver"

(Sensory)

01. Power to Believe
02. Dark Deceiver
03. Inner Spirit
04. Resurrection
05. Tendonitis
06. The Temple Within
07. Lies
08. The Passion of Words
09. Severed Angel

RATING: 7.5/10

Since 1993 brothers Jasun (guitar) and Troy Tipton (mega bass) have steered a vessel called ZERO HOUR through every trend imaginable with their concoction of musically accomplished heavy progressive metal. Those that have followed the band are well aware of brother Troy's immense bass talents and the manner in which his full-bodied sound and labyrinthine style tends to propel the compositions. Combined with the fat riffs, rhythmic angularity (co-anchored by drummer Mike Guy, and super throat Chris Salinas (formerly POWER OF OMENS), "Dark Deceiver" completes another worthy chapter in the book of ZERO HOUR.

Getting right to the point, I've always found the band's work intriguing and when the right mood hits nearly jaw-dropping, but haven't worshipped at the altar like so many prog-heads have done. In comparison to 2006's "A Fragile Mind" (sorry, but I was unable to spend much time with "Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond"), the new disc is more of a grower. I initially missed the comparatively bigger hooks of songs like "Destiny is Sorrow" and "There for Me" (both from "A Fragile Mind"), but as more time was spent with "Dark Deceiver", I realized the melodies are simply less overt. Melody does indeed reside in the fissures created by those giant, chunky riffs, thick and crazy bass lines, and locomotive rhythms though.

But the sparks really fly when the grandness of structure in songs like the 12-minute "Inner Spirit" and definitive ZERO HOUR track "Power to Believe" (it's one tough tune) are allowed to overtake the listener. The use of a child's voice (presumably a member's son) on the former as well as bass jam instrumental "Tendonitis" (the end of that one makes me laugh out loud every time) is a very nice touch. The low chant vocals (e.g. "Inner Spirit") add dark coloration to the mix too. The award for heaviest riff goes to the one that drives the NEVERMORE-esque title track; that one is a real slammer, folks. I should note that classic FATES WARNING nuances are found at various points as well.

Admittedly, I was a tad underwhelmed the first time or two through "Dark Deceiver", but ultimately found it be another sturdy release from the band. ZERO HOUR certainly occupies a respected niche in the world of prog metal and will more than likely continue to do so for years to come.

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