Released: 2005, Sensory Records
A lot of my fellow Zero Hour fans have said they don’t much like this latest release, but to me, there is only one word that can describe this album: awesome. It’s dark, heavy, and insane. I have always compared these guys to the psychotically technical prog metal band Spiral Architect, and they still uphold that label. Only they’re not quite so incomprehensible.
“There For Me,” is the perfect introductory track. It reminds me greatly of Nevermore, with the dark, massively distorted guitar sound, and vocals that take after Warrel Dane. They do a swift change to their classic dizzying guitar melodies and drums that mirror it and throw out any thoughts of following a time signature.
“Destiny is Sorrow” is surprisingly simple, staying with a basic riff for most of the song, but “Brain Surgery” crazies it up again. When comparing their technique to other bands in the genre, rarely is there such a thing as ‘basic,’ or ‘normal.’ The best way to describe the structuring of their songs is a rollercoaster, but a really good one. Lots of twists and turns, ups and downs, all strung together without the changes feeling abrupt. They have that knack for going from mellow to madness smoothly.
A good example of this is “Twice the Pain.” There are no surprises, yet it’s not predictable. This is what makes technical prog easier to grasp. An ability to have every band member doing something completely different and not have it sound like a big mess is something Zero Hour has perfected.
A FRAGILE MIND is probably not for everyone. Zero Hour in general takes some time to get into, but once you realize their greatness, you’ll certainly look at prog metal differently.