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Zero Hour

Progressive Metal

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Zero Hour The Towers Of Avarice album cover
4.22 | 106 ratings | 12 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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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

(106 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

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
4 stars Itīs really a funny thing with this album as I normally donīt like Zero Hourīs music much. But this particular album is an exception. Maybe itīs the sci-fi theme that draws me in or the dark mood in the music, but I really find it to be an exciting album.

Much of it comes down to the fact that I really enjoy singer Erik Rosvoldīs voice and perfomance, in my ears he saves Zero Hourīs very cold and calculated music from dying on me. Unfortunately this would be his last album with the band. What a brilliant singer.

The instrumentation is rather stripped down for a prog metal band as there are only one guitar, bass and drums ( there are occassional keyboards though). This is a bit different from their debut, as I remember the debut having lots of keyboards. It works really well though as the almost mathlike riffs take up all space, and with a singer like Erik Rosvold you donīt really need anything else to create a melody.

The album is made up of the three first tracks which are really energetic and technical songs, then comes "Reflections" which is a "ballad" type song ( not really, but as I lack a better description, this is it). Demise and Vestige is the Epic of the album. It starts out with a really repetive almost Meshuggah like riff passage and turns into a beautiful song still very technical and challenging though. The last song The ghosts of dawn is a great dark closer to the record and helps bind the songs together as the story it is.

It is a concept album, with a story about a sci-fi hero ( the Subterranian) and his struggle for freedom. Really dark and brutal, it almost smells like Alien, Pitch Black, Matrix or Blade Runner.

If you can learn to appreciate Zero Hourīs pretty special way of playing, Iīm sure that if youīre into other prog metal acts in the dark vein, this will satisfy you as well. I find this album to be very enjoyable and essential allthough not a masterpiece.

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.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The Towers of Avarice is a strong and complex release from the California metal band ZERO HOUR. I see two main focuses with ZERO HOUR, complexity and the story line. This does not mean every other part of the album fails, because in fact they really succeed in creating a well rounded album. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#157337) | Posted by asimplemistake | Monday, December 31, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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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