Zero Hour
Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond

Release date: October 10th 2006
Sensory Records
Provided by: Intromental Management
Target (Denmark)
Progressive Metal

Rating: 90/100
Reviewed by:
Kenn Jensen
November 13th 2006

'The Towers of Avarice' is still the undisputed best album from the hands of the twin brothers Jasun and Troy Tipton! But 'Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond' comes in as a very close second.

I have been a big fan of theirs ever since I bought their self-financed EP almost a decade ago, and they have stayed truthful to their beliefs all the time, always moving forward introducing news things and sounds to their music. Biggest addition to their sound this time around is new vocalist Chris Salinas, who some of you might know from his former band Power of Omens (RIP)?

He is breathing new air into the mix, and his Geoff Tate-like phrases and general singing suits the music brilliantly. Just put on the disc and listen to the excellent opener "Face the Fear" or hear him around 3:30 into the second track "The Falcon's Cry" - its pure Geoff Tate-like vocals from around the 'Promised Land' era.

'Specs' is a return to the more basic Zero Hour sound, gone are the keyboards from the 'Fragile'-era, the album is once more produced and mixed by up and coming progressive metal producer Dino Alden, who once more has brought out the best of Zero Hour.

Zero Hour is still delivering a full frontal attack of the mind of hard and heavy progressive music, and they continue to impress me with their uncompromising style. The drumming of Mike Guy is once more out of this world, and Jasun and Troy have composed some of their best songs to date; "The Falcon's Cry" has to be one the best progressive metal songs of the year, the title track is perhaps the heaviest Zero Hour song ever, lot's of staccato riffs and a more aggressive style of singing from Chris. Or how about the sheer intensity of "Evidence of the Unseen" - awesome. 

So why isnít this one better than 'Towers'? First of all I am not totally convinced with the ballad "Here I am", which showcases Chris' excellent voice, but really nothing else... And then there the playing time - it merely crosses the 40 minutes mark...

But all in all it's very small issues I have about this otherwise brilliant progressive metal masterpiece, which it still is... because I can't stop listening to it, and still discovers new things and it keeps getting better and better... just the way I like my music - challenging and innovative...