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Zero Hour - Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond CD (album) cover

SPECS OF PICTURES BURNT BEYOND

Zero Hour

 

Progressive Metal

3.74 | 56 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Salvation Now
5 stars (First of all, I am NOT plagerizing. This review was originally written for metal- archives.com) Now that I got that off my chests... on to the review.

Ahem...

Zero Hour has quickly become one of my favorite prog bands of the past several years. The level of musicianship is exemplary. The production pervades a massive, unbreakable wall of sound, and Chris Salina's near-faultless vocal presence all contributes in making Zero Hour a band of considerable quality. Having been satisfied by their subsequent release, "Towers of Avarice" I simply could not wait what the band do next. After a few botched albums, Zero Hour strikes back with their latest release honing their sound to a more technical and aggressive direction.

The closest reference point might be the "TOA"-era as the band completely dropped out the keyboards that plagued their previous release. Now that Zero Hour has finally returned back to their roots, not to mention recruiting what might be their best vocalist at this point, Zero Hour has put out their most consistent and stylish release to date. Many of fans might be asking "Well, is it better than TOA?" My answer: A resounding thumbs up! This is the album that TOA fans have all been anxiously waiting for. The real Zero Hour has returned, and boy oh boy, they never sounded better. For people who enjoyed TOA, it's practically useless for me to keep explaining but for beginners I would really urge that they would keep on reading. First and foremost, this is NOT for impatient listeners. Amidst all the technicality and mind-boggling time changes, the album, for most of the time, can be very repetitious and rarely alternates between variations. I remember once I was introduced by this band from one of the BNR pages, and upon initial listens I was less than satisfied. I can't stress this enough, but patience is one of the most important things to fully appreciate on what has been done here. This album was never meant to be rushed, and only the brashest person would only know what he/she's been missing. Be sure to take your time with this band.

Most of you might know that Zero Hour's characteristic sound is mostly utilized by the Tipton brother's unprecedented rhythm syncopation as well as Mike Guy's improvisational drum patterns. All of this is melded together with painstaking precision. Also, who wouldn't mention a perfect vocalist required to make Zero Hour and even more prodigious band. After disbanding Power of Omens, Chris Salinas was recruited to join Zero Hour in their latest work. I'm right up there with the band's decision as Salinas is one of the most versatile and distinctive vocalist out there. Obviously coming out of the Geoff Tate school of thought, Salinas doesn't forget to be emotive, gripping and aggressive, clearly surpassing any of the vocalist that came before him. The drum work is particularly striking here. Filled with numerous drum arrangements and compositions, Mike Guy showcases one of the most bewildering and impressive performances of his career. Not only does it constantly keeping listeners on their toes but it also strengthens the overall music as a unifying whole, thus rendering the album as an organic, pulsating piece of work. Considering the upfront sound quality, the production is light years beyond that of "Towers". Dino Alden is one gifted producer. Merging forceful, thick guitars and pounding drum beats it's the sonic equivalent of getting ran over by steamroller. Everything just permeates a life-like, pulverizing sound that few albums could ever match. Significantly louder than any of their previous materials, this is hands down Zero Hour's darkest and heaviest album to date.

Now for some highlights. The first two tracks represent what Zero Hour is all about. Falcon's Cry underscores some merciless riffage as well as some oscillating time changes to keep things interesting and fun. The title track might just be Zero Hour's heaviest piece, EVER. Again, the drums and guitars work immensely well together to form huge aural barrier of sound, and at the same time, still maintains to be focused and technical. Also, the frequent ballads and soft moments help to create a unique, futuristic atmosphere for this album in which I find this to be very captivating. In the end, Zero Hour remains one of the my favorite prog bands ever. For those who are willing to sacrifice their time, you'd be surprised on how much you'll be rewarded with. An individualistic, challenging band, Zero Hour's latest release and "Towers" are nothing short of sublime. Recommended to anyone interested into the more technical nature of progressive metal. (By the way, nice album cover. Who's that?! Max Payne? Lol.)

Salvation Now | 5/5 |

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