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Cynthesis: DeEvolution

Cynthesis sees Zero Hour members reuniting with the original vocalist, Erik Rosvold, and enlisting former Enchant drummer, Sean Flanegan. In many ways, the music presented on DeEvolution can be compared to Zero Hour, but there are also some key differences, which will be highlighted in this review.

As can be assumed, the main similarity is in the riffing. Jasun Tipton's immediately recognizable style is fully intact here. Heavy and pulverizing, almost all of the tunes carry his unmistakable rhythm work, deftly complemented by Troy Tipton's deep, grave bass tone. However, overall, the guitar work is less intricate than on Zero Hour material, especially their last two albums. Tipton also branches out, hence the need for a side project. He utilizes beautiful blues-tinged guitar phrasings, best audible on the short instrumental, "Twilight." This is not something he would have experimented with in a Zero Hour context. His Gilmour-like touch and wonderful tone is the underlying force to the otherwise melodic and heavy songs. Tipton plays a lot of keys on the songs to achieve deeper atmospheres, underpinning Erik Rosvold's soul-melting vocalizations. Actually "Shallow World" is defined by an entirely synth-driven aesthetic.

Erik Rosvold is by far the most underrated vocalist in prog, or even metal. It is a dream come true to hear him sing after all these years. The last album he sang on was Zero Hour's quintessential masterpiece, The Towers of Avarice. Think of the song "Reflections," in which he delivers one of the most moving vocal performances ever atop acoustic guitars and synth inflections. Amidst the heavy and super technical material, that song stands out easily. On DeEvolution, Rosvold sings in this style on many songs, most notably the aforementioned "Shallow World" and "Divided Day." The latter belies its true charm with its searing opening riff -- it is so heavy and relentless that one has to hear it in full to see the whole picture. Tipton breaks it down at key points, allowing Rosvold to shine through with a powerful 'chorus' that is arguably the catchiest thing he has ever sung.

The album closer "A Song of Unrest" is also a personal favourite. It blends together all the Zero Hour elements with soft passages, amazing drumming (check out the fills in the finale), and some of the best singing ever. Fans have never heard Rosvold sing like this -- his vocals soar on eagle's wings, particularly during the "Fly, Fly, Fly" section of the song. His emotional intensity is indeed goosebump inducing and Tipton's run-out sweeps, where he pays homage to the great Jason Becker, make this one of his greatest songs. This album is actually almost entirely written by Jasun Tipton (with lyrics provided by Erik Rosvold), so kudos to him for putting this band together.

Dino Alden's production is stellar as always. On this album, the sound is warmer, compared to the more angular material of Zero Hour, and the mix is awesome. The synth tones are prominent and vocals are given a more central role. The riffs come through during the heavy parts, which is usually the intro or outro, but take a back seat to allow the conceptual lyrics to reach the listener more effectively.

Whether DeEvolution surpasses the Rosvold-era Zero Hour albums remains to be seen. Personally, to me, albums like Metamorphis, The Towers of Avarice, and Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond (with Chris Salinas) are genre masterpieces, but to many who had a hard time getting into later-day Zero Hour, DeEvolution is the album they have been waiting for.

Track Listing
1. The Man Without Skin
2. Incision
3. Divided Day
4. Shallow World
5. Profits Of Disaster
6. The Edifice Grin
7. Twilight
8. A Song Of Unrest

Added: January 2nd 2012
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 5257
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Cynthesis: DeEvolution
Posted by Scott Ward, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-01-02 00:28:21
My Score:

The original members of the band Zero Hour have come together to give us a gritty, grimy view of the future with their concept disc DeEvolution. With little emphasize on the technical wizardry that made the band what they were, this disc is more of a soundtrack to the story that they want to tell. The tale is not that original and neither is the background music that they add. It is not a bad disc by any means but in the world of progressive metal it achieves the ultimate kiss of death by being simply boring. The album is as lifeless as the world they are trying to conjure up with storyline.

A promising guitar blast is the first thing you hear as the band starts strong with "The Man Without Skin" but the repetitious nature of the song starts to wear thin and the rest of the disc is more of the same. Other than brief flashes now and then, Cynthesis really uses the music just to provide a dark and mechanical atmosphere. Most of the energy is reserved for the guitar work of Jason Tipton but even here it becomes so repetitive that interest is lost early on. Their best moments lie withing the song "Incision" but once again it seems like they are trying to beat you over the head with their message as they keep telling and playing the same thing over and over and over....

I would have thought that reuniting with the very underrated lead singer Erik Rosvold would have inspired but instead it seems to have made them think that they can rely on his talent to carry the whole album. They are wrong and makes this come off as one of the most pretentious works I have heard recently.

We all know what they are capable of as a band but this album doesn't show it. They seem to be following the same path that Queensryche is sliding down. Let's hope they find a way off of it. I cannot see this one coming off the shelve very often at all. The music is as important as the lyrics and they seem to have forgot that fact while trying to make this story come alive.

Cynthesis: DeEvolution
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-05-09 08:17:10
My Score:

One quick listen to "The Man Without Sin" and "Divided Day", and it's easily discerned that DeEvolution is the work of Jasun & Troy Tipton, the masterminds behind the band Zero Hour. Cynthesis is their latest 'project' away from Zero Hour, and features the brothers reuniting with former Zero Hour vocalist Erik Rosvold, and drummer Sean Flanegan. For the most part, DeEvolution will appeal to anyone into the progressive metal style of the mighty Zero Hour.

With the exception of the Chroma Key-ish "Shallow World", many of the tracks here are complex, textured, high-octane melodic progressive metal. Overall, not as insanely complex and crushing as the last few Zero Hour albums, and more in line perhaps with earlier releases like The Towers of Avarice. Rosvold sounds great as always, and it's a real pleasure hearing him soar over the intricate riffing from the Tipton brothers once again. Other highlights include the massive "The Edifice Grin", and the atmospheric keyboard driven gem "A Song of Unrest".

For these ears, anything Jasun & Troy Tipton touch turns to gold, and DeEvolution is no exception. Cynthesis proves to be a wonderful addition to their discography, and will keep all us prog-metal fans happy till the next Zero Hour release.

» Reader Comments:

Cynthesis: DeEvolution
Posted by Jonathan Swank on 2011-05-27 12:01:59
My Score:

Yeah, this is real good. I'm glad they didn't just repeat the Zero Hour formula. Sure, on a couple of the tracks there is a Zero Hour sound, but this is original. The sound quality is amazing and the vocals are superb. Is this the new Zero Hour? Could be ... if so I know I'd be perfectly content.

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