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Zeroesque / HOTR Review


By New Zealand's Heart of the Rock; used by permission.
ZEROESQUE - S/T
(2003, PRIVATE)
PRETTY GOOD 80/100

Tim Lehner - keyboards
Shawn Christie - guitars, bass

Other Musicians:
Josh Gasior - drums
Tim Lloyd - drums
Brian Farr - drums

Guests:
Vinnie Moore - lead guitar
Scott McGill - lead guitar
Peter Johnson - saxophone

This one will have you scratching your head. How the hell can two guys (essentially) mastermind a piece of music like this? Sure, musos of the calibre of Tim Lehner and Shawn Christie will have all the technology under the sun to put together an album along these lines, but the musical ideas and expresssion come first and foremost. Words to describe Zeroeqsue? How about 'off the wall', 'erzatz', 'prog jazz fusion', 'multi-tempo' perhaps? All throughout, the emphasis is on melody, in a strange sort of way. Fans of progressive rock a la Allan Holdsworth, Liquid Tension Experiment, or even Tim Donahue's Into The Light project (Frontiers 2000).. listen up and pay attention.

Firstly, the album is instrumental, the keyboards from Lehner are mostly bombastic, the sort of thing that Derek Sherinan, Kevin Moore or Jordan Rudess would get off playing. Christie's guitar work is a solid companion piece, while the drum work is played with bullet like precision. The opener for example 'Space Race' is a sonic prog metal blitz, the kick-drums are played in double overtime, while the keyboard solos are off the scale. The same applies to the heavy-handed 'You Say'.Those keyboards are so OTT! Meanwhile 'Dizzle Tizzle' earmarks the style from Dream Theater's 'When Dream And Day Unite' period.

In between all the digitized frenzy are moments of graceful rebellion, the Saga like persistence introduces us to 'Feels Like Falling', containing moments of absolute 'seek and destroy' soloing, both from keys and lead guitar. 'Ten Fifteen' is a slower piece moving in the same space as Neal Schon's solo work - the sax solo from Pete Johnson the perfect offset. Some 'twist and turn' pieces abound with the cleverly titled 'Tequila Mockingbird' (geddit?) and the offbeat jazz flavor of 'Maxilla Gorilla', just to prove they're not strictly a progressive rock duo. To hear all their diverse styles all rolled into one, take a listen to 'Dujz', and to make sure they don't fade off into the sunset, renowned guitar slinger Vinnie Moore comes on at the last second with the closing track 'New Math', in a fit-start of six-string fever.

This Zeroesque album apparently has been drawing some interesting comment/feedback over at the Prognosis website, as Progsters are so welcome to doing, pulling every note and musical micro-beat to pieces! Not for the faint hearted, but recommended instead for those with a sense of adventure, and those who can alternate between urban jazz type strcutures to full-on instrumental power rock provided by messrs Lehner and Christie.

Review By: George Thatcher, Editor
URL: www.zeroesque.com
Track Time: 43.41

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