Zero Hour, "Dark Deceiver"
It’s on Sensory, so you can almost expect to have someone’s dick about eight feet inside your ear, fucking your brain to absolute mush. That’s to be expected from this label, and the aural-cock-lobotomy you’ll experience on Dark Deceiver comes from none other than Zero Hour (who?). Yeah, I’d never heard of these guys before either, but with the way they deliver the tech/prog here, it’ surprising they’re not being touted as the next Spiral Architect or Control Denied.
Sure, guitar and bass wankery abound here, alongside clean vox and a rhythm section that keeps pace just fine, but it’ll take more than virtuosity in this day and age to make a prog disc fly. At times, like on the title track and “The Temple Within” Zero Hour show their stuff. Hell, the scary bass solo, “Tendonitis” is pretty freakin’ sweet too, but there’s also a lot of dead time on the disc as well…and the track layout isn’t conducive to keeping it in the stereo. Opening with a 7-minute track, “Power to Believe” and following only two tracks later with the 12-minute “Inner Spirit” just doesn’t allow the average, casual listener much opportunity to get to the easier-to-digest stuff that lies later in the disc.
For my money, the best stuff on Dark Deceiver is the shorter-running stuff, where the vocals at times encroach on Warrel Dane’s territory, and the band isn’t afraid to really get to the song and move along. Much of the latter half of the disc has a large helping of concise, fresh progressive, technical metal that would suit fans of Nevermore as much as Spiral Architect, with a few surprises even for those who think they’ve heard everything this genre has to offer. Basically, Zero Hour’s Dark Deceiver is worth checking out, because though it’s far from perfect, these guys show more than just a glimmer of their ability and ultimately succeed on the majority of the disc.