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April 17, 2024

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Zero Hour
Metamorphosis (Sensory Music)

By: Vinnie Apicella

A true to life tale of a bands' "Metamorphosis" from struggling young also ran in the early nineties who couldn't hold it together, to well on their way to being a top flight Prog-Metal act in a time when the genre's reaching its fullest potential. Not satisfied to simply run scales and systematic arrangements, "Metamorphosis" features a chunkier delivery with plenty of between verse atmospherics to provide a feverishly elemental character to be recognized for its intensity as well as dexterity. This twelve song reissue of their 1998 debut, which in its initial scarcity, vanished for most without a trace, features revamped cover art and finishes with two demo tracks, "Eyes Of Denial," and "Jaded Eyes," -- the latter a tremendously moving vocal-less performance that emerges as one of the sleeper hits of the lot(!) -- from the original sessions.

The usual suspects prevail when comparisons are called for, particularly in the vocal range where relative newcomer Erik Rosvold conveys a haunting similarity to Dream Theater's James LaBrie. There's a definite familiarity with Fates Warning, Dream Theater, and Enchant during those gliding moments when the electricity's cut for momentary encounters with acoustics and the inner sanctum -- specifically during the fifteen minute five-part self-titled epic that with its combination of power, speed, and melodic progressivism, reveals the far reaching effects of their individual talents bridged together for this uplifting star reacher. Overall, their style here is interpretable with modern minded acts as an Evergrey, Vanden Plas, or Symphony X for its shredability and sudden surges in amplitude aside from the all-encompassing ability to perform mad scientist on the strings and skins.

If you missed this the first time, and odds are you did if you weren't one of the 2,000 slick palmed fans who scored one, the "Metamorphosis" reissuance is a welcome return to "zero" for Zero Hour while they complete work on their 3rd release, "De-Evolution," which will follow up 2000's stunning "Towers Of Avarice" LP. Zero Hour proves to be a solid team that combines great demands and loosely methodical playing dynamics with an eye on the future and an ear for tradition as they emerge as one of the premiere players of the Progressive Metal scene.

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