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Zeroesque: Zeroesque

Wotta rush! The all-instrumental, self-titled debut by this Medford, New Jersey-based duo just may fill the void left by Liquid Tension Experiment. As we wait for another (as yet unplanned) wordless outing from the Berends, Berends & Johansson edition of Mastermind, Zeroesque will reel in any fan of instrumental prog-metal or heavy-fusion (thank goodness for subgenres & grey areas). Keyboardist Tim Lehner and guitarist-bassist Shawn Christie enlisted three different drummers—Brian Farr, Josh Gasior, Tim Lloyd—and three guest soloists—tenor saxophonist Pete Johnson and guitar wizards Scott McGill and Vinnie Moore (how's that for a little name-drop or two?).

Zeroesque blasts into form with the edgy "Space Race," Lehner & Christie's calling card for honed chops, flash & panache. Octuplets aplenty zip across left and right channels; Lehner is Jens Johansson to Christie's Malmsteen, one matching the other's licks note-for-note. Josh Gasior backbeat maintenance for the tandem melodeers is brisk and grounded. A brief, lovely spell of solo piano ("I Say") prefaces "You Say," a funkier episode with some tasty guitar wah-talk and speedy flurries over right-hand scales during the outro, courtesy of Lehner. "Dizzle Tizzle" is the first track with Christie as initial composer: jagged metal grooves curtail Lehner's digital textures while Tim Lloyd does his best Mike Portnoy impression (and very well).

"Feels Like Falling" is certifiably one of the best selections, nine minutes across a plateau of scale-tipping and rebalancing, concluding with Gasior back on the throne. Spatial textures permeate the intro before plenty of wailing occurs, and back-to-back organ & piano solos by Lehner lead into the final third with clean picking & gentler piano passages. The last two minutes find the trio strutting in typical fashion. "Ten Fifteen" will throw listeners for a loop: four minutes of refined…smooth jazz? Indeed. Shawn Christie has no need to find himself pigeonholed—and won't, anytime soon, unless he doesn't mind being compared to a chameleon, since he's already gone from John Petrucci to Tony MacAlpine to Pat Metheny in roughly half of an album. Mention should be made of Pete Johnson's crisp saxophone solo, too. Lehner's Rhodes solo on "Tequila Mockingbird" is short but sweet.

A forty-four minute album, Zeroesque seems to last longer, always a nice trick. A Frippian guitar instrumental separates "Maxilla Gorilla"—with guest soloist Scott McGill blazing away on the right channel—and "Dujz," another Lehner trio comp. The closer, "New Math," features the legendary Vinnie Moore showing what he's made of. Fans of "heavy fusion" will find Zeroesque much to their liking. Sound clips are available on the web site.

Added: September 16th 2005
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Related Link: Zeroesque Dot Com
Hits: 4941
Language: english

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Zeroesque: Zeroesque
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-09-16 07:01:41
My Score:

Zeroesque's self-titled album is a successful independent release from New Jersey-based tandem Tim Lehner on keyboards and Shawn Christie on guitars. Several guest musicians support them on drums, tenor saxophone and additional guitars. Their style is progressive fusion with great riffs, twisted melodies and stunning complexity. What gives them an extra edge is their approach to songwriting: Lehner and Christie are certainly the kind of musicians who like their music heavy, aggressive and fresh. They write their songs with tons of substance and groove, never overplaying for a mini-second.

"Space Race" exemplifies the above-made description starting with fast, fluid guitar runs blended with sublime keyboards and groovy bass rhythms. Guitarist Shawn Christie plays all bass on the record, but the drum work is handled by three different guys, Josh Gasior, Tim Lloyd, and Brian Farr. The song in question features Josh Gasior, whose work appeals to me the most on this disc. Gasior supplies precise drum parts along with Christie's groovy bass forming the backdrop of the track as Lehner and Christie perform intricate melodies on their main their instruments. Immediately after, Tim Lehner comes up with a one-minute instrumental piece on his piano. "You Say" is a more laid-back number showcasing Tim's great guitar work and his understanding of composition. The gift of this duo is not only the playing, but it lies in the intention of what Shawn Christie and Tim Lehner do. "Dizzle Tizzle" goes back to their extremely heavy fusion approach with the keys serving as atmospheric elements as Christie really cuts loose here. The heaviness factor of this band is for sure going to interest many fusion fans who want something different from most of the music out there.

The centrepiece of the CD is the 9-minute fusion-laden song, "Feels Like Falling", supported by lush keyboard textures and powerful rhythm guitars. The middle section of the songs stops to a calm mood, almost pure silence, and is suddenly pushed in an unexpected direction thanks to the great drumming and energetic riff patterns. "Ten Fifteen" is a slow ballad with Pete Johnson adding tenor saxophone for a brief moment. Derek Sherinian (he is mentioned in the thank-you section of the booklet), Planet X, Allan Holdsworth, LTE, and Jeff Beck's more fusion-y stuff are obvious reference points to detail Zeroesque's wide musical range. "Tequila Mockingbird" is a song that shows the diversity of their music as it contains a long, slow, delicate jazz piano with restrained guitar playing from Christie. Scott McGill (McGill-Manring-Stevens) plays lead guitar on "Maxilla Gorilla", whilst Vinnie Moore appears on the closing tune, "New Math", playing a distinctive guitar solo. When I did a little research on the band, I found out that Zeroesque keyboardist Tim Lehner was part of Vinnie Moore's touring lineup, and it's certainly great to see all these musicians backing each other up. We should wait for Zeroesque to release their new release and hopefully that one will establish them as a great progressive fusion ensemble that's here to stay, and not just a one-off kind of a band.

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