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


Zero Hour


Progressive Metal

3.73 | 61 ratings

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2 stars Zero Hour is a progressive metal band formed by twin brothers Jasun and Troy Tipton in California back in 1993. I came across the band after reading about the release of their forth (or third) album Specs Of Pictures Burnt Beyond and being overwhelmed by all the positive reviews that the album had received from both critics and fans. I decided to dive into this album head first, assuming that this would be something along the lines of Dream Theater and Riverside, two bands I was listening a lot to back then. Well, it's been almost five years since I've heard this album and that's a pretty hefty timespan for an album to sit on a shelf and collect dust. So what's my reasoning behind completely abandoning this release after only a few spins back in the day?

Although I still haven't experienced any of Zero Hour's previous records, I guess that the addition of Chris Salinas was a pretty excellent one since he brings quite a lot of character to this otherwise pretty generic progressive metal release. My main problem here is the songwriting which just sounds too much like a product of the early '90s progressive metal school of Fates Warning or Queensr˙che, rather than that of 2006! I mean, it's one thing to release an album like this in 1996, just when the early progressive scene was beginning to evolve, and a completely different one releasing it in 2006! I've never been a huge fan of regressive metal (aka retro prog metal), especially when it references the not so glamorous beginnings of progressive metal genre. The style and melodies are very generic and it almost feels like the band members are painting their music collage by numbers, instead of working out how they can enhance their work and bring something new and original to their established sound. There's honestly not a single standout moment all throughout these seven compositions which is probably why I never cared to give it another spin after hearing it a few times back in 2006/2007.

I'm sure that fans of the early progressive metal will find something to enjoy on Specs Of Pictures Burnt Beyond, since Zero Hour stays very true to that concept, with the exception of the sound enhancement of the 2006 sound mixing which sounds miles beyond anything that was released by metal bands in the late '80s/early '90s. Personally, I feel that the terrible sound of the past recordings have not been as much of an issue for me as long as long as the recording has a personality of it's own and some metal riffs to back it up! This is the main my reasoning behind such a poor rating that's being awarded here.

**** star songs: Face The Fear (9:00) Specs Of Pictures Burnt Beyond (7:36)

*** star songs: The Falcon's Cry (8:01) Embrace (2:25) Zero Hour (2:28) I Am Here (4:59) Evidence Of The Unseen (8:44)

Rune2000 | 2/5 |


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