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Zeelion - Steel Attack
Zero Hour - The Towers of Avarice


Zeelion - Steel Attack
Lion Music
(2006)

If my memory serves correctly, it's been several years passed since their previous album got released. One of fine Swedish melodic hard rock bands returns to the music scene with brand-new album. I remember the Japanese HR/HM media and magazines have raved Zeelion's first album way before during 1990's, but I had no chance to get their first album. Now I got my hands on their latest album from Lion Music. Thanks to Lion Music once again to sign such a fine melodic oriented band. Indeed, the band knows how to created memorable melodies with hooliness to capture melodic-oriented hard rock fans from Sweden. Stylistically, this band plays the music that sounds a bit similar to Europe and some Scandinavian neo-classical HM groups. But they put their own melodies and style into the album. Esp., I am really impressed with the guitar solo and keyboard solo complimenting each other. A few songs might sound a bit too commercial for some critical HM listeners, but what they have done on this album would be very enjoyable for the fans of AOR and melodic hard rock bands from Sweden. In my impressions, they put the faster and fascinatingly up-tempo tunes with immediate feeling on the first half of the cd, while placing some mid-tempo to slower solid tunes on the second half of the album. I am assuming the way they put in this order to keep listner's attention very fresh. Of course, their song writing skills and instrumentation are really solid enough and entertaining a lot to check out the album entirely. I hope their music also appeals to younger listners who are listening to STRATOVARIUS and HELLOWEEN mainly. Another fine Swedish act made a song-oriented album with some enhancement by dynamic keyboard sounds and nice production. Recommended for the fans of Snakes In Paradise, Talisman, Europe, Asia, Nation, and Yngwie Malmsteen.

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Zero Hour - The Towers of Avarice
Sensory/The Laser's Edge
(2002)

Actually, Zero Hour used to be one of ultimate hidden gems in Prog Metal scene in the late of 90s. Their marvelously brillinat self-title cd accelerates the word of mouth among prog metal die-hard followers. On their self-cd, they have already proved that they can combine dramatic and dynamic prog metal tunes with their proficient musicianship of keyboards, guitars, bass, drum, and excellent vocals. Now, we investigate and delve into their second cd from Sensory Label. Unexpectedly, most keyboard driven sounds we heard on previous cd has almost been stripped down, except for a few tunes. Definitely, this cd is bold giant steps from 1st cd. Needless to say, it is not keyboard driven prog metal cd. Rather, Zero Hour musically focuses on core technical and powerful structure consists of furious guitar attacks by Jasun Tipton, machinery bass running of Troy Tipton, and bombastic drums of Mike Guy with emotionally energetic vocals of Eric Rosvold. The Towers Of Avarice might have been saga and concept story developed from epic tune, "The Systems Remain" on 1st self-titled cd. On the concept story, human being has been exploited from dark forces called The Towers Of Avarice, and the struggle between people eargery waiting saviour and apocalyptic dark enemies is the main issue on the cd. Perhaps, this cd require you to spin the cd for several times to digest entire music if you have ever struggle listening to this. I have heard that some people complain that there is no prog metal keyboard shreds or technical synth chops, such as Dream Theater. Oh well, I understand your sadness and disppointments. But hey, Zero Hour has already done with 1st cd with tons of keyboards/synths leads interwoven with shred guitars/bass, so you do not need to being disappointed with this cd. In any way, Zero Hour's music approaches toward technical metal vein in this case. Hard hitting, thounderous driving attacks, many interesting instrumentation keep going with jagged and heavy riffs. Notably, they can change odd-timing and time changes as easy as changing transmissions or shifting from high gears to low gears if driving manual cars. In other words, metaphorically, I would say that they are not automatic car, they would be definately complex sports car. The Towers Of Avarice attaract listeners with several spins to digest the contents and music itself. If you are adventerous listeners who enjoy delveing new territory on the music, The Towers of Avarice by Zero Hour is totally nice offering. Oh btw, I chose The Towers Of Avarice is my best album of the year, 2001. They are keep progressing in the mind of technical metal.

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