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Zero To Ballistic


Review by Gary Hill

I’m sure the prog purists out there would hate this CD, but really I can’t imagine a metallic (or at least partly so) disc that belongs in the progressive rock category more than this one. Truly half of the CD is closer to fusion – and a lot of it is mellow and acoustic. They do fire out into metal here and there, but never lose sight of jazz and prog sensibilities. This isn’t pretty music, though – so if you want your stuff melodic or covered in synths, you probably want to steer clear. If on the other hand you’d like to experience some of the far edges to which prog is being taken, you need to get this album. I should mention that to my ear a lot of the vocals are a bit hard to take – and many of the lyrics are not recommended when you have kids around. This is a unique CD and one well worth checking out.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
At nearly twelve minutes in length, this is the longest cut on show here. They come in with a Latin tinged fusion jazz motif. It builds up gradually as they carry this forward. The vocals come over this backdrop. They take us out into an acoustic guitar driven jazz movement later and electric guitar solos but way down in the mix. This is worked out in quite an intriguing and dynamic growing arrangement. It works back towards the song proper (at least in terms of the music) but then an acoustic guitar solo launches over the top. Eventually we are returned to the vocal portion of the track, but after a time shift out into the final instrumental section of the track – the one that serves as the outro.
Epiphany in Black
A bass driven fusion pattern starts things off here. Vocals join and we are on our way. They shift this out towards metallic as they carry on. One note should be made here regarding the lyrics. Since most lines start with “no such f***ing thing as…” parental discretion is advised. This is a cool piece that is angry and does a great job of merging fusion with straight ahead metal. They shift this out to a rather ethnically tinged jam – at first in a fairly stripped down motif and then in a crunchy one. This gives way to a fiery exploration that’s pure fusion. Eventually they take us back out into the song proper. It becomes bass dominated again as they move this back out to fusion oriented territory for the next instrumental movement. After a bass solo the guitar screams in with some exceptionally tasty metallic textures. They throw in a frantic fast paced Crimsonian bit to end it in a cool way.
Nails in Your Coffin
This starts in a similar way as the last one, but quickly shifts out to near chaos. It’s a cacophony of metal and fusion in a seemingly random pattern of progressions. This definitely has a lot of old Metallica in the mix. The vocal section of this track is less chaotic than the introduction. It’s definitely one of the most metal cuts on show here, but yet there are other textures in the modern dark prog genre, too.
Guns Fall Silent
They bring this one in with a metal vibe, too, but it’s far more melodic. It is turned through a number of changes and alterations in an intriguing arrangement – and this is just the intro. They drop it way back to a spoken vocal segment (and the vocals remind me of Alice Cooper). It is built back up from there gradually. This is pulled out into a thrash meets prog jam later to end.
Plains of Abaddon
Acoustic guitar starts this and the vocals move over the top of this to create the song proper. This holds it for almost two minutes. Then they turn the acoustic elements more intricate and move forward that way. Other elements are added, but this doesn’t rise beyond the point of pretty instrumental work. At a little past the three and a half minute mark they bring it back to the vocal section. This song is a nice change of pace, but the vocals seem a little hard to get used to. This portion eventually takes it out.
Litany #7
They bring this in with a metallic prog texture. It moves quite nicely with a rather quirky timing and rhythmic pattern. In an interesting shift they move this out mid-song into a mellow and melodic solo segment that is based on ethnic music. Next a soaring fusion guitar solo takes us back to the song proper.
Bass starts this off and the track grows in a motif that’s mellower than the last number. It has a moody texture. It’s rather jazzy at times. This never really winds up rising to the level of metal. Instead they take us out into a cool jazz meets world music instrumental and journey through variations on the central themes.
...Bring on the Pain
Now, this is painful to take at times. It’s crazy dissonance ala RIO (Rock In Opposition) but with metallic elements added to the mix. After this chaotic introduction they bring it into one of the most pure metal structures of the album. This isn’t bad (other than the experimental sections), just not a standout.
Hope Springs Eternal
Here we get something very weird. A tweaked and pinched sounding Asian melody makes up a lot of this track. They shift it out towards harder edged textures later down the road. It becomes metallic at points here.
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