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One of the many stigmas involving progressive metal is the over the top-ness of the genre, complete with overblown solos and ridiculous song lengths. San Francisco’s Zero Hour combats these negatives by creating A FRAGILE MIND, a seamless nine-track exhibition in prog metal that feels more like an applied science than a piece of music. While many use Dream Theater as a measuring stick by which to judge, Zero Hour’s commonalities like more within the Fates Warning/ Queensryche realm (perhaps it’s a West Coast thing), often throwing down pummeling riffs and drums like on “Brain Surgery” instead of glitzy instrumentations. Grittier than most bands in the genre, yet not at all lacking the agility to twist and turn tempos inside out on such amalgamations as the piledriving instrumental “Somnecrophobia”, Zero Hour can also take it down a few notches without sacrificing intensity, like on the somber title cut. Substantial without being too showy, and at every helm solidly put together, this disc provides a prog metal fan with everything necessary to be blown away.
- Mike SOS