By Bob Nalbandian

The Towers Of Avarice
Sensory Records

To be honest, I had never heard of this band and was barely aware of the label (Sensory), so you can imagine my surprise to find this to be one of the best prog-metal CDs I've heard in a while. To my knowledge, Zero Hour hail from Northern California. Co-produced by Dino Alden (who had produced and engineered several of the early Shrapnel releases), the music is very solid with a thick, rich guitar tone and a great drum-mix, which is rare with most prog-metal releases which sound so thin and sterile. This band can definitely match the musical talents and skills of other modern US power-mteal and prog-metal bands like Nevermore, Iced Earth, Jag Panzer. Fate's Warning and even Dream Theater. In fact, Zero Hour's intricate riffs and progressions remind me of a more metallic Dream Theater meets early Megadeth meets Mesuggah (but with a vocalist who can sing!).

Vocalist (and keyboardist) Erik Rosvold is truly amazing. He's got a strong, yet smooth and melodic voice but can also sing with metallic power, without growling or barking. Great lyrics as well. Troy Tipton (bass) and Mike Guy (drums) provide the ultimate prog-metal rhythm section while guitarist Jason Tipton explodes with brilliant leads and intricate riffs which ranks up there with the best of them!

This is one band that definitely deserves more attention and recognition. Whether you're a fan of old Megadeth, Pantera, and Slayer, or a fan of Dream Theater and Fate's Warning, The Towers Of Avarice is must buy for any metalhead.

Anarchists Of Good Taste
Spitfire Records

Dog Fashion Disco's music is quirky, carn-evil hardrock - a style that fits their lame name quite well. Obviously influenced by the likes of Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, with traces of '60s acid rock ala The Doors and Iron Butterfly, this band definitely doesn't lack creativity. But I find this band to be too quirky (or should I say corny?) to be taken seriously and will unfortunately end up as just another novelty act. What Gwar is to a freak-horror show, DFD is to a freak-circus show. And those swirling carnival like keyboards get really old and goddamn annoying! Their lyrical themes suit the music-dark, morbid, perverse, drug-related and (most of all) demented.

In one respect, I do admire their bizarre musical approach, and, fact is, they are quite talented players, but they obviously don't have the innovation or musical brilliance to match such current metal greats as System Of A Down or underground legends Shining Path (featuring Jonas Helborg and the Johansson brothers.) But if your looking for something a bit twisted and strange, you should check out Dog Fashion Disco.

Shockwaves CD Reviews Issue 4 Page 7