Hour is back with a brand new album ‘Specs of Pictures Burnt
Beyond’ and a new vocalist Chris Salinas (Ex-Power of Omens). We
have put together a few questions to learn a bit more…
me ‘The Towers of Avarice’ still stands as the undisputed best
Zero Hour album, but your new album ‘Specs of Pictures Burnt
Beyond’ comes in as a very close second. How has your new album
been received from the media and fans?
– ‘Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond’ is being very
well received from the fans and press. It’s easy to say we're
very excited about this because we put everything we had in this
What kind of expectations do you
have for the new album?
– ‘Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond' was much focused album
musically and lyrically. Basically this CD for us is about no
boundaries. It was a process where we jammed material out and
threw the kitchen sink at the listener. I'm very pleased with this
CD and ‘Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond’ exceeded our
You have a new guy with you on
vocals once more, why the change?
- When making the change, we knew our material in the future
would need a more dynamic vocalist in the vein of what Erik
provided for the band on the first two releases. Fred had a good
voice but was very safe and didn’t have the most range. I should
add he was unpleasant to work with in the studio and we needed a
guy who had the whole package. Chris Salinas easily fits what Zero
Hour is all about.
Insiders might know Chris Salinas
from his time in Power of Omens, but maybe you could give others a
more formal introduction: Has he moved to San Francisco, and has
he been in the band long enough to take part in the song writing
- Chris still lives in Texas and yes he's a part of the
writing process lyrically. Troy, Mikey and I have always written
the music in the past and will continue to do so because
everything flows so well when the three of us are working together
musically. Erik was never involved in the writing process
musically we would just finish the music and present it to the
vocalist to start writing the melodies and lyrics. Troy and I do
come in at some point to help out the singer with the melodies
because with the type of material we write, it is hard for a
vocalist to flow melodically over the more challenging technical
parts. All I can say is everything is working out great with Chris
and we're excited for the future of Zero Hour.
I believe he (Chris) fits your
music perfectly, but old fans will surely still be missing Erik
Rosvold’s vocals. Chris is clearly from the Geoff Tate-school of
vocalists : but what were you looking for in a new vocalist when
you started to look?
- There's no doubt we loved Erik’s vocals and we needed to
find a vocalist who's was going to be able to provide a new
element to the band and also could pull off the old material. We
just got off a tour and Chris did the old material amazing. He has
an amazing voice and could hit everything that Erik would hit and
more. Troy, Mike and I met Chris back in 2001 at the ProgPower I
USA event in Chicago. Power of Omens was performing and when he
performed lived he sounded amazing. I chatted with him for 45
minutes and knew this kat was the real deal. Troy, Mikey and I
said if there was ever a guy to replace Erik it would be Chris.
In our last interview you
described your style like this: ”Zero Hour's style is Dark,
Heavy, technical music using odd time signatures, tempo changes
with beautiful, lush clean tone passages to make the material very
dynamic. Our style is progressive but also very cinematic
throughout the material.” I think you have nailed it pretty well,
but where are the cinematic parts on 'Specs'?
- Feel there's cinematic areas when you listen to the songs
Embrace, The Falcon's Cry, Evidence of the Unseen and Face the
Fear. Its parts in the song not the whole song where maybe in the
past we had certain songs that had the feel it was cinematic
throughout the whole piece.
'Specs' is perhaps your album with
the biggest contrasts : on one side you have the title track,
maybe the hardest Zero Hour song you have ever written and on the
other the ballad ”I am Here ” (the only song which hasn’t
totally won me over on the new album). Was that a deliberate
decision, or did things just turn out that way?
- I think all the songs have their own voice to the material
and some are going to hit people more than others. We don’t
throw just any song on the CD, we look at all the material as a
complete album that features the elements of Zero Hour.
you should choose one song, which represents the essence of Zero
Hour on the new album, which one would that be and why? I would
pick ”The Falcon’s Cry”, which I think is one the best
progressive metal songs of 2006. And it really shows all aspects
of your style.
favorite track is The Falcons' Cry as well. I'm a huge fan of
Evidence of the Unseen as well. There is something to be said when
we play all our material live because Face the Fear, Specs of
Pictures Burnt Beyond, Evidence of the Unseen and The Falcon's Cry
are amazing live tracks to play. If you have a chance to see us
live, you'll see that all these songs are the essence of Zero
Hour's new album.
have once more worked together with Dino Alden; this relationship
seems to bring out the best of both parties. The sound is once
more excellent, and I do believe that he in metal circles is a
much undervalued producer. Did you ever consider using another one
at the helm? Is Dino like an extra member in the band when you
record and how big an influence has he had on your songs and
is a huge part of Zero Hour sound. Sonically Zero Hour is Dino
Alden. I never want to work with anyone else and hope our
relationship with Dino Alden creates many more Zero Hour CDs.
cover artwork is actually very simple and very dark, who have you
been working with this time? And is there some story behind the
there is a story behind our artwork. We worked with Bjoern of
Killustrations. The story with ‘Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond’
is about a man who sees images but his memory is distorted so he
has recollection of what he sees but the memory is burnt away as
he's trying to remember the story behind the image. Bjoern did an
albums and an EP, limited success : where is Zero Hour in 3 years?
I mean you could end up having released 4 very strong albums that
outside of progressive metal circles have gone almost unnoticed.
Must be very frustrating to get outstanding reviews and nothing
seems to happen for the band: I know both you as well as your
record labels around the globe do their best to push the band:
this CD is getting a really good push I have to say and I’m
please with what Sensory has done thus far with ‘Specs of
Pictures Burnt Beyond’. We just a couple of festivals and list
of dates and more are to come.
do you consider to be the biggest accomplishment for you and Zero
Hour, not necessarily sales wise? What are the strengths and where
can Zero Hour improve?
think the biggest accomplishment is that we're still a band that
loves to write and perform progressive metal music which is not an
easy thing. It may not be the cool genre but we're doing what we
love to do.
have recently played ProgPower in the US for the 3rd time, can you
tell us a bit about that experience?
is always an amazing experience. The festival is put together so
well for all the bands and fan have the best times at this event.
I think everyone should experience ProgPower USA because there is
no other festival like it.
of live shows, do you have any touring plans for 2006 and beyond:
and is there any chance that we’ll get to see you in Europe any
just came back from a successful Texas/East Coast tour playing
dates in NJ, NY, VA, MA, MD. Zero Hour also played 2006 addition
of ProgPower USA, Atlanta, GA as well as Powerprog West Fest with
Nevermore. We're now going to play the Groove or Die Magazine one
year anniversary party in Portland, Oregon. We just got confirmed
to play the Headway Festival in Holland. We will be doing
additional dates with Into Eternity in Europe and right after Headway
which will all happen in April. We do have some other things
brewing and looking forward to doing as many shows as we can to
support this new release.
speculate - if it was possible to put together a tour package for
a European tour with bands from the Sensory label - what position
would you and the band take on such an idea? I think a tour with
bands like Zero Hour, Twisted into Form, Spiral Architect or
Wastefall would draw a pretty good crowd, and you do all appeal to
the same audience:
would be something I would love to do but the problem is Spiral
Architect isn’t really doing anything at this moment and from
what I know of Twisted into Form they don’t have an actual live
line-up. I would love to see it happen and let’s hope that
Spiral Architect does another album.
a side note - will there ever be a second Death Machine album? And
how well did your side-project do?
there will be a second Death Machine Album but Zero Hour is our
first priority. Zero Hour sells better than Death Machine, it did
ok but not the number that Zero Hour sells.
was wondering - could you name an album, person or event that has
had a huge influence on your life - and why:
the Pat Methany Group on the We Live Here tour was just
outstanding, it was great to see how all the instruments interplay
with each other and the dynamics they provide.
album(s) have put a big smile on you face and has made you bang
your head in 2006?
and Tool were the highlights for me this year. I'm sure there are
others but I’m drawing a blank.
thank you very much for participating in this interview and
sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last
lines are entirely for you. Any final words you would like to
round off with?
please check out our website www.zerohourweb.com
and our myspace page www.myspace.com/zerohourband
for the latest news on us. We have plans to go out to Europe in
April of 2007 along with additional touring in the States in the
summer of 2007. Zero Hour fans Rule, thank you so much for
spreading the word about Zero Hour.
by Kenn Jensen