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Zero Hour - Dark Deceiver CD (album) cover

DARK DECEIVER

Zero Hour

 

Progressive Metal

3.93 | 73 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

usa prog music
5 stars When sitting down to write this review, I glanced at the insert that accompanied the promo. It read, "With their fifth studio album, Zero Hour creates a dark, heavy vibe, expressed through intricate arrangements, forceful vocals and meaningful lyrics." Typically, these inserts tend to blow a lot of smoke up one's ass. In this case, though, I should really just stop writing, as many readers appreciate brevity and this is a very astute assessment of this album. However, I promised USA Prog Music I would give my opinion on such albums, so I had best provide some original insight. My initial reaction after hearing Dark Deceiver was "who pissed these guys off?" While Zero Hour has always created dark music, Dark Deceiver contains some of the band's heaviest and most aggressive tracks to date. Dark Deceiver wastes no time getting down to business, as "The Power to Believe" kicks off the heaviness with the Tipton's signature weaving of brutality and beauty. The title track keeps the momentum going by opening with a heavy, chugging riff before exploding into the Tipton brothers' intricate, sonic assault. From Jasun's insane sweeps to Mike and Troy's thunderous rhythms and all the Chris Salinas you can handle, "Inner Spirit", at nearly 12 minutes, displays everything Zero Hour has to offer. The second half of the album starts with "Tendonitis", a mind-boggling bass instrumental by Troy Tipton. I have listened to this solo countless times now and I'm convinced that Troy has at least 20+ fingers. "The Temple Within" is one of the most dynamic tracks on Dark Deceiver. It starts with the Tiptons' usual twisting melodies and Mike's pummeling contributions before dropping out to let Chris close out the song with a strong, emotive vocal. The 1-2 punch that is "Lies" and "The Power of Words" brings back the aggression displayed earlier on the album and turns it up to 11. Closer "Severed Angels" is a short instrumental that completely decimates the listener with its combination of quiet passages and machine gun hammering. Throughout the album, the Tipton brothers display their usual brilliance knowing exactly when to dazzle and where to fall back and let the vocals deliver. Also, Mike Guy is perfection personified behind a drum kit with his hammering kicks, perfectly placed fills, and skillful cymbal work. With all that is going on with each instrument, it is amazing that nothing ever feels jumbled or forced. Instead, each complex performance comes together nicely in a very enjoyable package. Finally, the talents of Chris Salinas displayed on Dark Deceiver are unbelievable, as he ranges from his lower register to his soaring wails and eventually his perfect mid-range vocals. Zero Hour's decision to hand him the mic is only further solidified on this release. A final nod must be given to Dino Alden and Zero Hour, who collaborated on Specs of Pictures Burned Beyond, for the super tight, punchy production on the album. This sound definitely suits the music while still allowing the listener to access each individual instrument throughout the recording. The result is an uber-technical album that is appreciable through either headphones or a stereo. Whereas the music of many technical bands ends up turning into a wall of noise once outside the confines of a good pair of headphones, this is not the case on Dark Deceiver. So what's the verdict? With its complex rhythms and technical brilliance, Dark Deceiver is everything we have come to expect from Zero Hour. My advice: leave now and go purchase this.
usa prog music | 5/5 |

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