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Zero Hour

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Zero Hour The Towers of Avarice album cover
4.19 | 122 ratings | 12 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Towers of Avarice (7:52)
2. The Subterranean (4:11)
3. Stratagem (8:06)
4. Reflections (3:56)
5. Demise and Vestige (15:47)
6. The Ghosts of Dawn (5:30)

Total Time 45:22

Line-up / Musicians

- Erik Rosvold / vocals, keyboards
- Jasun Tipton / guitar, keyboards
- Troy Tipton / bass
- Mike Guy / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Travis Smith

CD Sensory ‎- SR3011 (2001, US)

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ZERO HOUR The Towers of Avarice ratings distribution

(122 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

ZERO HOUR The Towers of Avarice reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by AtLossForWords
5 stars Zero Hour's album Towers of Avarice is not just an oustanding musical effort. It's a sci- fi epic, almost the musical equivalent to "The Matrix" films. Towers of Avarice's concept takes place in the future where structures and machines known as "the towers" aspire to keep growing, becoming taller and more powerful. At this point in time, human beings have become the prime source of energy and live deep undergroudn where one man believes he has the ability to set the human race free once again. (sound familiar?) This man's efforts are eventually questioned, and from my interpretation of the story ends in tragic failue.

The concept is not the most innovative story writing ever, being that it is so bored from the Wachowski brothers, but what's so amazing is how well a sci-fi epic like this can be reflected in music, progressive metal music that is! There are so few bands which have the ability to pull off writing music for such a scientific concept, but Zero Hour's style blends perfectly with the concept's subject matter.

Jasun Tipton delivers a splendid performance. He is first and foremost the composer of most of the matierial on the album. He is also one of the most talented guitarists in progressive metal. Tipton delivers a sonic array of tones that can change the mood of a song instantly. Tipton can write music that is both depressingly soft and aggressively heavy, but never ceases to lose the musical value of a song. He along with his brother Troy take care of the atmospheric keyboards and professionally done piano pieces such as "Reflections". Tipton's guitar technique shines throughout ever song on this album. He's sweeping skills are mind blowing. Fans of technical albums will drool over Tipton's guitar playing.

Troy Tipton is no slouch either. He helped composed many of the album's songs, but like his brother posesses extraordinary technique. Tipton's bass lines are both melodic in songs like "Stratagem" and incredibly rythymnically complex in the intro of the album's fifteen minute epic "Demise and Vestige". Tipton uses the entire range of his instrument which create some amazing chordal inversions to provide an interesting tonal listen.

Erik Rosvold sadly delivers his final performance with Zero Hour on this album. Rosvold's voice is perfect for this band, so it is a shame to see him depart. Rosvold uses a variety of effects to enhance the drama of the albums concept, but also can do quite amazing things with his voice in the shorter softer songs like "Reflections" and "The Ghosts of Dawn". Rosvold has one of the finest voices in the genre which is a pleasure to listen to first syllable to last.

Mike Guy perfectly fits the chemistry of the band. Unlike the Tipton brothers, he is much more subdued on his instrument. Guy adds some great powerful drum beats, but also manages to provide some very interesting comps in unison. Guy is a rock solid drummer that uses every piece of his set, but he does so in moderation. A listener will not tire of listening to his cymbals or toms, because he mixes them up so well, a listener almost has to listen directly to the drums to catch all of the tool Guy uses.

The production is excellent. All the instruments are balanced volume wise. It couldn't be better. The distorted guitar tones are aggressive, but very clean, especially in the high range. The clean guitars sustain and ring out above the band with the most human touch. The bass is powerful, but incredibly clean. There isn't extra fret noise or studio feedback. The drums are clear and articulated and sit perfectly in the mix. The vocals are butter. There are thick walls of vocal harmonies where a listener can pick out each individual harmony. The production is just that clean.

Perfect album! The only drawback is the short running time of fourty-five minutes.

Review by b_olariu
5 stars Awesam album,a high class recording,"The Tower Of Avarice" is a very complicated technical work, with great bass lines, powerfull drums, superb vocals. Absolut every track is good it can be, prog metal listners should get this one because kick ass. If you enjoy bands like Pagan's Mind, Beyond Twilight, Avalon, a prog with a metal touch, this is the answer. 5 stars without question. A highly recommended for prog metal lovers. The best Zero Hour album.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "The Towers of Avarice" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, California based progressive metal act Zero Hour. The album was released through Sensory Records in March 2001. Itīs the successor to the independently released eponymously titled debut album from 1999 (reissued by Sensory Records in 2003 titled "Metamorphosis") and features one lineup change since the predecessor as keyboard player Matt Guillory has left. Guillory has not been replaced here, and instead the keyboards on "The Towers of Avarice" are recorded by lead vocalist Erik Rosvold and guitarist Jasun Tipton.

The instrumentation on "The Towers of Avarice" is predominantly pretty stripped down to one guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, and the use of keyboards is sparse and mostly used to enhance atmopshere, which is quite a change from the omnipresence of keyboards on the predecessor. The Dream Theater influence on the debut album which was very much due to how the keyboards were played and how they were placed in the mix, is now completely gone from Zero Hourīs music, and "The Towers of Avarice" features a rather unique progressive metal sound. The music is dark, hard edged and heavy, and the more stripped down instrumentation provides the bandīs sound with a raw and organic feel. The guitar riffs vary between fast-paced chromatic notes and crushingly heavy staccato riffs in odd time signatures. The bass has a life of itīs own, and both compliments the guitar, but also locks in with the heavy technical grooves of the drums, and even has some lead type sections. This is definitely in the technical end of the progressive metal spectrum, and itīs artists like Spiral Architect, Twisted Into Form, and Watchtower (and early Sieges Even, and maybe 80s Voivod is valid too), who are references rather than the more melodic and keyboard heavy artists in the genre.

"The Towers of Avarice" is a concept album telling a dark and dramatic sci-fi story with themes of oppression, hopelessness, revolt, and a selfless protagonist hero (a sort of sci-fi/on another planet take on Fritz Langīs "Metropolis"). The sometimes alien nature of the music and the sci-fi concept story are in perfect symbiosis, and when the lyrics are performed by a world class vocalist like Rosvold, who is not only a great storyteller, but also has a strong and distinct sounding voice, and who is able to sing both melodic, amd more raw and aggressive type of vocals (and some great harmony/choir vocals too), all ends meet and the final product is a high quality technical/progressive metal album.

The tracklist should also be mentioned as "The Towers of Avarice" is consciously structured to feature a couple of strategically placed dark ballad type tracks, which bring some dynamics to an otherwise very hard edged and heavy album. "The Towers of Avarice" opens with the title track, "The Subterranean", and "Stratagem", which are all dark, heavy, and technical progressive metal tracks ("Stratagem" features a very nice and subdued melodic mid-section though), but then comes "Reflections" which is a dark ballad which features a simple non-distorted electric guitar strumming simple notes and chords, while Rosvold sings his paatos filled and melancholic vocals on top. The chorus features some keyboard backing, but thatīs about it, and itīs a beautiful song. Then straight into the 15:47 minutes long "Demise and Vestige", which is another brillant technical/progressive metal track. Itīs a dynamic track showing both the softer more melodic side of the bandīs sound, but also the darker heavy and ultra technical side. "The Towers of Avarice" concludes with another dark ballad type piano/keyboard/vocal driven track in "The Ghosts of Dawn". Itīs a dramatic end to the album, featuring a fantastic vocal performance by Rosvold.

"The Towers of Avarice" features a dark, raw, and heavy sounding production, and itīs just another high quality feature to add to the creative songwriting and the jaw-dropping musicianship. Itīs not an album thatīll neccesarily click with every progressive metal listener upon initial listen. The sound is pretty unique, and the challenging song structures and sometimes odd chromatic guitar/bass runs are sure to scare off those who crave heavy doses of melody and sing-along choruses in their music, but for those up for a musical challenge and a darker, more raw, and heavy technical take on progressive metal "The Towers of Avarice" is a mandatory listen. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

(Review originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Interesting that the band thanks POWER OF OMENS in the liner notes because that band's singer at the time was Chris Salinas, who would eventually become ZERO HOUR's vocalist on "Specs Of Pictures Burnt Beyond". This record is a concept album about a society who becomes enslaved to a thoughtless industrial ideal. The towers' appetite for energy and progress is so great that human beings become it's only remaining resource for power.Worked until dead and then used to feed it's machinery, the towers continue to rise without any concern for the welfare of the people. On the outside however, lives the Subterranean. This self-proclaimed saviour lives beneath the city and believes he alone can liberate society from it's oppressor. This was taken from the liner notes.

"The Towers Of Avarice" opens with an ominous soundscape before guitar and then a full crushing sound arrives a minute in. Check out the bass ! The Tipton brothers are waging war on this song. Vocals 2 1/2 minutes in as he sings slowly and deliberately, almost speaking. It's heavy as hell a minute later.Thunderous drums, and the bass is unbelieveably deep.The floor boards in my truck are shaking ! "The Subterranean" is similar in sound to the first track exept the vocalist is actually singing.The lead guitar is ripping it up and there are tons of bottom end again like on the first song. "Stratagem" is a break from the relentless heaviness as bass, drums and guitar open the proceedings. Ok that didn't last long as it gets heavy, then even heavier as the guitar grinds away. A calm before 2 1/2 minutes as vocals arrive.They get quite theatrical as slabs of bass and drums are hurled at us over and over again.The tempo picks up 4 1/2 minutes in. Love the mellow section 5 minutes in with reserved vocals. It lasts a minute. "Reflections" is my least favourite track and it's about as close to ballad-like that ZERO HOUR will come. Synths late to end it are cool though.

"Demise And Vestige" is my favourite song on here and it's almost 16 minutes long. A guitar riff and lava-like bass as drums come and go. Vocals and a calm before 2 minutes. Vocals get angry after 3 minutes as the sound starts to build. It's built ! Another calm 4 1/2 minutes in before the heaviness returns 2 minutes later. Outstanding lead guitar work. More incredibly heavy bass 7 minutes in. An ominous section arrives before the guitar comes in followed by chunky bass and vocals. I really like this passage. It gets heavy again. Amazing sound 15 minutes in as it settles down again.There is some fantastic lead guitar solos in this song. "The Ghosts Of Dawn" is atmospheric to start as piano eventually comes in followed by vocals. Background synths are a nice touch. Vocals are almost spoken but they do get theatrical. It gets kind of spooky 5 minutes in to the end of the song and album.

I have to say that I don't think i've ever heard heavier bass lines than what's offered on this album. Amazing. This is a dark and gloomy concept album that is absolutely brilliant.

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Second Zero Hour album managed to be the band's most sterling to this date and was also the first one to perfect their signature style into their own after the Dream Theater influenced debut. The songwriting here is absolutely peerless and while they can be considered an acquired taste for some their talent is still jawdropping, jumping bonecrushingly heavy and syncopated oddmetered riffs with full intellect and ease. Another noteworthy thing about this album is the fantastic production that points out every detail perfectly so even the most impossible frequences get their showoff. Back to the songs - they are powerfull, intricate and often with a good hook. Their sound is really captivating but never straightforward and dull, several surprises are to be found here. Within the first three minutes of the opening title track you'll get acquainted with Zero Hour's unique sound and the journey have just started.

Quite an intense listen overall but the overall playing time is perfect at 45 minutes (rare for progressive metal standards.. hehe) The music here is very much in the technical progressive metal vein, combining the agression of Meshuggah with the melodiousness of bands like Power of Omens and Fates Warning. Definitely a band that every progmetal head should dip their toes into, and this album is the best way getting to know'em.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Like a great swathe of progressive metal bands, Zero Hour are somewhat influenced by Dream Theater, though their debut album is apparently where you will hear that the most. This followup to that is notably more aggressive and dark than Dream Theater; imagine if Megadeth at their most technically complex (say, on Rust In Peace) ended up incorporating just a bit more prog into their approach, and you'll end up with something not a million miles away from this, especially when it comes to Erik Rosvold's lead vocals.

The band seem to particularly like their staccato playing, and the absence of a dedicated keyboardist certainly helps to set their sound apart from Dream Theater - though there are keyboards on the album here and there, with no one member using them as their primary influence they are used for occasional extra texture, and the instrumentation is largely kept to a stripped-down core of guitar, bass, and drums.

It's all quite sparse and dramatic, but overall the band seem to be ploughing a fairly narrow furrow here - if you really like their overall style, you'll absolutely love the album, but I suspect most people won't want a ton of Zero Hour albums in this vein because the similarities become compositions become all too evident a mere two songs in.

Latest members reviews

5 stars A treasure of prog metal, very technical, complex with stunning voice from Erik Rosvold, exmple is the superb The ghosts of dawn, super. The 2 brothers did a very good job deliverind a solid music, very compact. The drumer is one of the best i ever heared from prog metal. So a 5 star album and r ... (read more)

Report this review (#136550) | Posted by entangled | Thursday, September 6, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Superb album, complex but very fresh with a lot of good pieces. These guys can play extremly well and deliver great songs at the highest level. This one show us a band full of coherence with each idea, also a good performance during all work. Every musician knows the instrument very well and the ... (read more)

Report this review (#135470) | Posted by sfinx | Thursday, August 30, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What a great and powerfull album in every way. Strong structures of the pieces with higly skillfull musicians. All songs are full of quality and honesty, every track are super, but, The towers of Avarice is magnific and well playd from capo al fine, the rest are beyond average listner. Try to ... (read more)

Report this review (#113454) | Posted by sfinx | Sunday, February 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A high class recording, the best Zero Hour's album in my opinion to the date. This one show us a band full of coherence with each idea, also a good performance during all work. The technique is present at every time. Great work of Jasun Tipton (impeccable), the keyboards appear less in compari ... (read more)

Report this review (#94816) | Posted by | Tuesday, October 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "The Tower Of Aviance" is a very complicated technical work combined with catchful melodics. It produces some kind of an quite of impressive atmosphere. This album is like "Fates Warning meets Watchtower", a very good combination of Fates Warning technical abilities of creating a good melody a ... (read more)

Report this review (#27420) | Posted by | Friday, December 17, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Towers Of Avarice keep the original purpose of Zero Hour, a very techinicall and Psicodelic Prog Metal, whit too many odd times. But the first albun is better, basically for the keybords that don't appear in this one. Anyway, a great choose if you like prog metal and don't want to wait another Drea ... (read more)

Report this review (#27418) | Posted by | Saturday, February 28, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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