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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Zero Hour

The Towers of Avarice

Review by

This band is a rare breed. Many progressive metal bands tread water closer to the progressive side of things and therefore tend to forget about the heaviness that is supposed to be present in their respective genre. Zero Hour says "Heck no" and ventures forth with a progressive sound like none other in the sense that everything is blisteringly heavy, even the soft parts.

The drummer has what we would-be comedic metal journalists would call "Happy feet"…meaning he cannot stand not to be providing a seriously thunderous back beat underneath the brutal riffs. With a band like this he's got his work cut out for him. The guitarist and bassist, twin brothers Jasun and Troy Tipton respectively, provide riffage that can only be described as Watchtower-meets-Meshuggah, in the sense of the odd-time signatures and the absolutely brutality that is in every riff. Not head-banging-heavy, as anyone trying to head-bang to this would get a sore neck from adjusting to the rhythm to often, but just so heavy that you can't even believe metal gets this heavy! Counter-rhythms between bass, guitar, and drums are throughout, but what is really astounding is the shear talent, skill, and versatility possessed by one Erik Rosvold. The man is literally the power and emotion behind Zero Hour; he is the calm to the instrumental members' storm. To listen to him interacting with his band in a musical forum is nothing short of amazing.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2001 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Towers of Avarice
Right off the bat, this band lets you know what they are all about. Brutal riffage and marvelous vocal acrobatics draw you in right away, and you begin to see just how cool some certain part are just because they are, no real reason necessary.
The Subterranean
This is the continuation of the story, and of the musical direction of the CD. It is a brutal track, but short and leaving little room to be epic.
Strategem
This is the continuation of the story, and of the musical direction of the CD. It is a brutal track, but short and leaving little room to be epic. Strategem: Another continuation, out of the first three songs, there really isn't much instrumentally to separate them, it's just a deal where you listen to the songs and you gain perspective on what is going on. You learn what emotions are represented where, and subconsciously you begin to tell the songs apart. You just gotta let the music overpower you.
Reflections
A tender moment, this is almost like an interlude in the musical play that you are experiencing. Jasun has his guitar set to clean and Erik is singing over it
Demise and Vestige
This is the ultimate and definitive Zero Hour song. For a band as epic as this, normally the longest song is the one that is best on the CD and best exemplifies the style of this band. This one describes the turning point of the story, where the Subterranean finally makes his attempt to free the human society, and he makes the terrible mistake of bringing down the whole tower, and the humans in the process. The melodies in this song are just so beautiful you can't help but become totally enveloped in this song. The ending "demon-boy" vocals kinda take away from the effect, but other than that it's a great song.
The Ghosts of Dawn
This is the ending soliloquy of Erik and his piano. It's a somber telling of the aftermath after the one-man revolution wiped out the towers and humanity in one swoop.
 
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