ZERO HOUR – Dark Deceiver

ZERO HOUR - Dark Deceiver
  • 9.5/10
    ZERO HOUR - Dark Deceiver - 9.5/10


Release date: April 28, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

One of the highest valued Progressive bands of the decade returns with their successor to Specs From Pictures Burnt Beyond called Dark Deceiver. The outfit centered around the Tipton brothers Jasun and Troy continues down the road between Progressive Metal and Technical Thrash as they have done before. The result is their fifth release which floats in the same spheres as the other albums from Zero Hour since A Fragile Mind: somewhere between ingenuity and insanity, which seems to be separated only by a narrow ridge for the two expert musicians on bass and guitar.

Every album can be characterized by the following attributes: it contains more notes than all AC/DC songs combined; the catchiness is somewhere between Meshuggah and white noise, the complexity comparably to calculating Pi upon the tenth decimal place – in your head; and mighty Yngwie would eat his guitar upon first hearing. Baseline is that every album was a potential Metal album of the year, and so is Dark Deceiver.

Starting with their opening track “The Power To Believe” the show off level of technical abilities and virtuosity is sometimes overwhelming. The only comparisons one may find is aforementioned Meshuggah, Anacrusis, Arcane, Watchtower, Alarum, Extol and “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” from Dream Theater. If one likes those bands and compositions, this is the album for you. Because if one does not take the time to fathom the depths and find joy in second long details, the album deserves only one attribute: demanding.

The one thing that keeps it all together is singer Chris Salinas, maybe known to many for his former band Power Of Omens. He was already the singer on Specs From Pictures Burnt Beyond but has improved considerably, and his melodic voice adds a touch of smoothness on top of the compositions, like putting a thick blanket over a bed of nails. It still stings, but is much more tolerable.

Now, for those who know the other releases already, here is a more detailed comparison which is likely to be lost with people not thoroughly familiar with the Americans: Overall, the album is probably superior to the first three releases, as good as they already were, but cannot push from the throne. Also Specs From Pictures Burnt Beyond is slightly superior as it feels more of one mind than their 2008 release. One of the reasons if the Bass instrumental “Tendonitis” which is unfittingly placed in the middle of the album and marks the low point of the album, in spite of Troy’s incredible Bass play. Dark Deceiver on the other hand features the 12 minute long “Inner Spirit” which is one of the best, if not the best song from Zero Hour to date, and “Resurrections”, which also beats every song on the 2006 release.

The verdict is very simple: If you know Zero Hour and like Techno Thrash, get the album. If you do not and rather have it rocky and straight, keep your money. If you don’t know and want to try, buy A Fragile Mind.


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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