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Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond

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Album Review

From death metal and black metal to gothic metal to metalcore, countless metal bands of the '90s and 2000s have been revolving doors — and that is certainly true of Zero Hour. After 2001's The Towers of Avarice, Fred Marshall replaced Erik Rosvold (who had replaced Frank Mendez in 1995) as Zero Hour's lead vocalist — and on 2006's Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond, the Bay Area progressive metal outfit unveils yet another new lead singer: Chris Salinas (formerly of Power of Omens). Salinas has no problems hitting the high notes, offering a piercing wail that draws on influences like Ray Alder (of Fates Warning fame), Queensrÿche's Geoff Tate and Judas Priest's Rob Halford. It's an approach that is highly appropriate for this 43-minute CD, which clearly favors the ultra-technical side of progressive metal. The term "technical metal" can be used to describe a variety of metal, ranging from math metal to technical death metal — and on Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond, technical metal means progressive metal that is highly melodic yet never goes out of its way to be accessible. There are many progressive metal bands that, for all their complexity and intricacy, are hooky and groove-minded; like Yes and Pink Floyd back in the '70s, they realize that being complex doesn't mean that you can't groove. But Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond thrives on extreme angularity; like Norway's Twisted into Form (who have also recorded for Sensory), Zero Hour loves difficult time signatures. This is the type of disc that — like a lot of avant-garde jazz and avant-garde classical — must be accepted on its own challenging terms. And for those who are not frightened away by that difficult, ultra-technical approach to prog metal, Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond is a well executed, decent outing that underscores Zero Hour's ability to keep plugging away despite all their lineup changes.

Customer Reviews

My favorite Zero Hour CD

I have all their stuff, and I'd rate it anywhere from "really like" to "OH MY GOD, THIS IS AMAZING!!"

This one's the latter.

If you enjoy heavier styles, this CD will blow you away. It's highly technical, emotional, staggeringly complex, but once you "get it," you'll listen over and over.


Formed: 1993 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Progressive metal outfit Zero Hour was formed in the San Francisco Bay area in 1993 by brothers Troy (bass) and Jasun Tipton (guitar), along with longtime friend Mike Guy (drums). The search for a vocalist seemed to be over when Frank Mendez (formerly of Rogue's Gallery) joined in 1995, along with keyboardist Mike Conner (ex-Prodigy — not the electronica group or the rap artist). However, Mendez was gone before year's end, and Conner helped recruit his former bandmate Erik Rosvold to take Mendez's...
Full Bio
Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond, Zero Hour
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