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Zero Hour - Dark Deceiver CD (album) cover


Zero Hour

Progressive Metal

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Here in Dark Deceiver we can listen to Zero Hour finally finding a sound that's more unique, original and fresh. Unlike their previous albums there's not much of the rhythm repetition especially like Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond or even The Towers of Avarice. There's a more experimental edge in Dark Deceiver Here like for example we can listen to Chris Salinas uses different styles and effects to create a wide variety of sounds and atmosphere making the songs have a more distinguishable sound. Although the songs have lost a bit of melodic flavor during the heavy parts the softer parts have gain more of this attribute, though they can be found less in the songs. Even with this factor to their side the guitar sweeps sound very similar to those on previous album, making the album bit annoying and repetitive as usual.

Dark Deceiver is filled with great moments and melodic times with the incredible vocals by Chris Salinas. Songs like The Power to Believe, Resurrection, The Temple Within and Lies are filled with tons of good moments typical to the band especially the last two. Yet my favorites would have to be Inner Spirit and The Passion of Words. In the first we can listen to Chris use an effect that makes his voice sound like James Labrie on The Great Debate (Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence). The song really starts to get good at the time 5:52. At this point the song gets really "addictive" (at least for me) and Chris Salinas voice could have never sound better. The Passion of Words on the other hand sounds aggressive and really different from your typical Zero Hour sound especially in the middle part. As for the rest songs they sound like fill ups like Tendonitis which is a bass solo with a strange kid talking and Severed Angels which is just noise in the beginning and the ending with a brutal riff.

In overall this album is big step for Zero Hour. It sounds fresh yet nothing innovating but filled with good moment to make it worth a while. If you're a fan Zero Hour definitely get it unless you're still stuck with Towers of Avarice.

A well earned 4.4!

Report this review (#171050)
Posted Wednesday, May 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is Zero Hour's Masterpiece. The riffs, and everything about this album is GOLD. The bass playing is off the charts. I think the Tipton brothers finally found the missing link and created an amazing album. Every single track has something brilliant about it. I think Chris Salinas sounds amazing on this album, and really fits Zero Hour's music. One of the best Prog Metal/Tech Metal albums of 2008. I do not think many albums will compete with Jasun Tipton awesome melodies. Highly Recommended!!
Report this review (#172208)
Posted Sunday, May 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars.This well may be their heaviest and most complex record yet. I still feel that "Specs Of Pictures Burnt Beyond" is their best, but I also feel that each one of their studio albums are must haves if your into heavy / complex metal. I love them all. Chris Salinas is back on vocals while the Tipton twins and drummer Mike Guy have been constants from the beginning.

"The Power To Believe" is heavy right out of the gate. This is great ! Thunderous drums 2 minutes in. Jasun starts to rip it up in his unique style 3 minutes in. The vocals and soundscape after 5 minutes are killer. Chris really offers up some different vocal styles on this album. Blistering guitar solo after 6 minutes. A childs voice ends it. "Dark Deceiver" is so heavy to open it's ridiculous. Haha. Screaming vocals and scorching guitar create organised chaos. Tipton's guitar solos are over the top ! It settles down to a beautiful section with reserved vocals, almost like a drink of cool water on a hot and humid day. The heat comes back though, and it's blazing hot. Another calm ends the song. This final section really recalls OPETH's mellow moments. "Inner Spirit" is again hard and heavy to start. Killer bass and the guitar is fantastic. Vocals after 2 minutes. This is ground shakingly heavy. A calm with reserved vocals 6 minutes in. This is like heaven after 6 minutes of hell. Haha.This is such an incredible section that goes on until 10 minutes in when the heaviness is back. The lyrics are so spiritual and uplifting, not just on this song but throughout. I love the guitar and bass just before the crushing drums come back. Ripping guitar after 10 1/2 minutes.

"Resurrection" again has such cool lyrics. This song contrasts the heavy instrumental passages with the lighter vocal sections. "Tendonitis" opens and closes with a child speaking (some humerous words) and in between we get this mind blowing bass solo from Troy. "The Temple Within" is heavy to open (what else ?) as Chris comes in on vocals, he sings powerfully after a minute. A calm 4 minutes in. It's so emotional just before 5 minutes. Incredible lyrics. "Lies" opens with riffs as Chris cries out. He uses different vocal styles on this one. Pulverisingly heavy 3 minutes in. "The Passion Of Words" features some amazing bass and vocals. A calm before 2 1/2 minutes is quickly crushed. Great track. "Severed Angel" is an instrumental of different, distant industrial sounds (drums / bass) that build as they come and go. Amazing !

So darn close to 5 stars for me. I may grow to like this even better than "Specs Of Pictures Burnt Beyond". Very cool to see it clock in at around 44 minutes too.

Report this review (#176812)
Posted Sunday, July 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
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.
Report this review (#376393)
Posted Saturday, January 8, 2011 | Review Permalink

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