ZERO HOUR – A Fragile Mind

ZERO HOUR - A Fragile Mind


Sensory/Laser’s Edge
Release date: September 20, 2005

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Zero Hour has been appreciated and admired by fans of Progressive Metal ever since their self-titled and self-issued 1999 debut album, and especially since the highly acclaimed 2001 release, The Towers Of Avarice. With a key element, singer Erik Rosvold, now gone from the band, will they be able to hold their position?

The Music

The Zero Hour identity is upkept, rest assured. As before, there is a pronounced Progressive nature to their music and their Metal roots are also apparent, with influences from several directions within the genre. Technically they are as good as ever, and the songs all convey the fairly unique expression of Zero Hour.

A Fragile Mind has a conceptual sensation, with the title track epic picking up strings from some of the other songs. There are moments so cold, you could smell snow … and there are moments so hot, your earlobes may become scorched. In a rainy gray, they paint pictures in more than three dimensions, and with an almost consuming atmosphere.

Except for the 5-second “Intro” opening the album, songs are extensive and exploring and the album peaks with songs like “There For Me,” “Destiny Is Sorrow,” and the brutal instrumental interlude “Somnecrophobia.” The title track, “A Fragile Mind,” on the other hand, fails to reach the top notch, as the less evolving guitar-scales-up-and-down conclusion of it takes the zest out of the totally mesmerizing first half of the song.

The Band

The new singer is Fred Marshall, and he’s highly capable and a worthy successor to Rosvold, even if his style is more influenced than influential. The fabulous Tipton brothers, Jasun (guitar) and Troy (bass), display undisputable technical craftmanship and dynamic, creative interplay. For example, listen to the funky passage in “Losing Control,” or one of the instrumental tracks (“Somnecrophobia” and “Intrisic”) and judge for yourself! Finally, drummer Mike Guy is simply brilliant. Even if his style sometimes is a bit mechanical at times, he’s a rock.

The Verdict

The dilemma of technical Progressive Metal is music versus technique. Zero Hour walks the tightrope here, but they make it across thanks to an ability to create very convincing moods and due to insightful lyrics with perfectly singable melodies. Fans might argue its position in the Zero Hour discography, but it’s nevertheless a mighty good album and most suitable for a dark night, with gusting winds outside when you find yourself wrapped in blankets to stay warm. Take it in… slowly.


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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