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Zero Hour - A Fragile Mind CD (album) cover

A FRAGILE MIND

Zero Hour

 

Progressive Metal

3.68 | 46 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AtLossForWords
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 45 minutes of progressive metal equates to 45 minutes of spectacular music.

Zero Hour's latest studio release is A Fragile Mind. The album is quite an original piece of work, mixing shorter hard hitting metal tunes togethor with progressive creativity. Zero Hour's A Fragile Mind is one of the best releases of this year that sadly lacks the acclaim it deserves.

The guitars are nothing short of amazing. Composer Jasun Tipton is the driving creative force in the band, and his leadership shows with his excellent playing. His guitar tones are strong and variant. His style combines great melodic flow with quick arpeggiated passages. The works showcase his talents in a variety of key and time signatures. I haven't heard guitar playing this unique, pleasing, and technical from younger bands in quite awhile. It may be safe to say that Tipton easily rivals the most renowned players in progressive metal like Petrucci and Jarzmobek in shear technical skill.

The bass playing is another highlight. Brother Troy Tipton has near equal chops. Songs like Twice the Pain, the title track a Fragile Mind, and the outro Intrinsic showcase his great chops and melodic capabilities. The bass playing on this album is some of the strongest, technical, and most creative I have ever heard. Not many metal bassists can come within the level Troy Tipton is at. His groove is amazing too. He can cycle through time changes and blend so well with the drums. This is an incredibly strong performance. The Tipton brothers are definately two of the best young players in progressive metal.

The vocals, well I haven't even talked about them yet. (That's how good the other two guys are, they can upstage a vocalist of this quality). When I heard Erik Rosvald had left Zero Hour I was quite disappointed. Up until hearing the album, I really couldn't fathom what kind of a performance the new vocalist would yield. Fred Marshall came through like I couldn't believe. He matched and surpassed whatever standards Rosvald had set on previous works. His vocal style is quite similar, but with fewer effects. His vocals are well harmonized and perfectly in tune with the instruments in the band. He doesn't try to oversing like some other vocalists in progressive metal. He stays within a comfortable yet wide range.

The drums are yet another impressive part. With rapid signature changes and irregular beats, Mike Guy does a great job of holding down the groove while mixing in enough fills to keep fans of the most technical drum work happy. The tone of his drums is impressive as his playing. His kit sounds big but certainly not overpowering.

The production like the rest of this album is perfect. The guitars are variant with great authentic effects. The distortion is strong but clear, which is the perfect mix for any metal guitarist. The bass is unique, it retains a lot of bottom end while deliver quite an attack on the highs. The vocals are harmonized perfectly with great enunciation and warmth . The few effects that are used on the voice are clear and refreshing. The drums have perfect tonality and sit well in the mix balanced out perfectly with the rest of the band.

This is a true five star album. I the only way the band could have made it better would be to make it longer, but how greedy could I be. This is not a groundbreaking release for Zero Hour (they're first two albums were quite impressive as well). It certainly is their strongest release though. This album can keep the listener intrested from start to finish, it's not often 45 minutes of progressive metal is enough. This time it is. Great effort, great result.

AtLossForWords | 5/5 |

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