Zero Hour - _Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond_
(Sensory, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (8 out of 10)
Power-prog is about as good a description of this Californian quartet as any, and although it's not a fusion of genres that's completely unheard of, Zero Hour do have a knack for this sort of thing that places them head and shoulders above most of their peers.

Their technical prowess is nothing short of astonishing, evidenced on the duelling lightning-fast licks they intersperse with short, sharp bouts of atonal groove on songs like "Evidence of the Unseen" and "Face the Fear". Amidst their myriad references to progressive stalwarts like Rush and Yes, they're also not afraid to step outside the square and drop in the odd leftfield nugget either. Among the biggest surprises here is a glaring nod to Mike Patton and Faith No More on "The Falcon's Cry", which to their credit they incorporate seamlessly.

With very few songs dropping below the eight minute mark, _Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond_ isn't exactly background music, but Zero Hour keep the instances of capricious ambling to a minimum -- and with the record yielding more rewards with every listen, it's likely that this will be something of a cult classic in years to come.


(article published 28/1/2007)

9/1/2008 J Smit Zero Hour: Darkness and Hope
9/1/2008 J Smit 8.5 Zero Hour - Dark Deceiver
10/19/2001 B Meloon 7 Zero Hour - The Towers of Avarice
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