Released: 2008, Laser's Edge
I stand saddened and disbelieving at the loss of a musical great. Back in 2001 I stumbled across a massive album called THE TOWERS OF AVARICE by a then-unknown band called Zero Hour. A work of towering (sorry, I couldn’t resist) progressive metal genius, the album helped open my eyes to more progressive metal and is still a personal favourite of mine. Sadly, I lost touch with the creative Californians, and missed out on their next three albums. So I was quite excited at the prospect of reviewing DARK DECEIVER and reconnecting with the band.
Unfortunately, DARK DECEIVER is an album almost impossible to connect with. “Power to Believe” opens the album impressively with some truly heavy progressive riffery and powerful vocals from ex-Power of Omens vocalist Chris Salinas. The following title track is also an excellent prog-metal specimen, showing that the band has indeed learned much over the years. From there however, the band just becomes downright obtuse and hard to listen to. I mean, Zero Hour has always been a demanding musical experience, but it feels like they’ve taken it a bit too far on this album. Besides which, I can’t stand wankery like “Tendonitis”.
I appreciate the obvious talent of the band – there are few bands that could pull off this stuff – but I miss the complex but still communicative songs of yesteryear. Gotta give the guys credit though – most bands mellow out and become more accessible as time goes by, but DARK DECEIVER proves that this is not happening to Zero Hour. They are marching to their own beat, so more power to them.
For serious prog-heads, this is an easy 4.5/5, but I just can’t get into it.