Zero Hour – Dark Deceiver (Sensory)

Thursday, 14th March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

A great idea on paper: the combination of over-the-top tech metal ala Cynic, Atheist, et al, with clean, progressive vocals, Zero Hour are now coming dangerously close to perfecting their own indelible brand of hyper-prog metal.

2006’s Specs From Pictures Burnt Beyond was a largely enjoyable affair, relishing in more than a few “kitchen sink” forays into the depths of over-the-top prog metal. Its follow-up, Dark Deceiver follow suit, but in more rationale and gradual fashion.

The guitar/bass shred tandem of Brothers Tipton (Jason and Troy) is on full display on opener “Power to Believe,” with the duo reeling off a flurry of sweeps and manic bass fills. “Inner Spirit” is full-on Zero Hour, as labyrinth of adventurous guitar maneuvering segues into a call-and-response bit from singer Chris Salinas, who again proves to be the right man for the spot.

The graceful “Resurrection” ranks as one of Zero Hour’s more melodic moments, while the bass solo “Tendonitis” (more please) only serves to solidify Troy Tipton’s place as a prog metal virtuoso. The stop-start frenzy of “Lies” and potent “The Passion of Words” keeps Dark Deceiver off-balance and unpredictable, making the album more enticing as things move along.

Zero Hour’s balls-out approach may turn some people off initially, but further listens reveal a band putting actual songs into their structure, with hooks coming from all areas, especially those jaw-dropping bass runs. Dark Deceiver is another notch in the belt for Zero Hour, who again, are becoming ever so close to putting this into absolute perfection.

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