“Physics, Philosophy, Psychology, Mythology…
Darkness, Deceptions, Mystery…
Hate, Fear, Forgotten souls…
In a coil of progressive metal…
‘You will see our path in light of despair.
You will see our path into the darkness of hope.’
Welcome into The Tear’s Path.”
Taken from the Chronos Zero’s website found HYPERLINK "http://www.chronoszero.com" HERE, the above quote sets the tone for this new release by a band you’ve not likely heard of… yet.
Chronos Zero is a new player in the progressive metal genre that hails from Italy and the first question you might ask is, are they front-runners in the crowded progressive metal landscape or merely also-rans? Read on to glean the answer my friends.
By way of introduction I should mention that the producers at Extreme Metal TV recently asked me to write an article title, “The 5 Essential Progressive Metal Albums You Must Hear” (at the time of writing this review that article had not yet been published to the site). My point in mentioning it at all is that I’ve had my head in a prog-metal mode for a couple of weeks now, deciding what bands amongst my favourites deserved to be on that list. Having a brand new prog-metal band to review immediately on the heels of that could have been a very dangerous situation for the new player considering that my ears having been filled with the likes of Ayreon, Dream Theater, Symphony X and others for much of the time lately. Chronos Zero’s release has also received lots of my attention over that time as it’s my habit to listen to a review album repeatedly over in all kinds of environments from my home studio system to earbuds at the gym. Having set the scene then let’s get to the answer to the question posed in the previous paragraph: Is Chronos Zero poised to be a front-runner in the prog-metal race? The answer is a resounding YES!
If you are a lover of progressive metal this is an album that you simply cannot miss. Every aspect that one could critique in a prog-metal project is top notch and the band is worthy of mention alongside the giants of the genre including those mentioned above.
Musically the album is a magnificent journey, an eargasm, if you will. From the opening instrumental, “Spires”, to the final track, “Sorrowful Fate” the listener is taken on a sonic adventure worthy of the band’s self-imposed label of ‘extreme progressive metal’. The album’s production is outstanding with each instrument and having space, breadth and appropriate placement the mix. Because of this I found myself able to focus on different aspects of the instrumentation on subsequent hearings, focusing on each player’s contribution to the grand design.
Lyrically the story behind the project has only just begun to unfold. It is my habit to request a lyric sheet from a band when I begin a review (if one hasn’t been provided) and in this case the request opened a dialogue with the band’s founder, visionary and primary composer Enrico Zavatta. After getting the lyrics from him I commented that I was somewhat puzzled by them. He replied as follows, “Consider the album is a prelude, part of a bigger design made of 5 concept albums. So in certain part the lyrics will be a bit odd or not fully comprehensible due to intentional choice to keep everything hidden behind a curtain!” That was certainly helpful in understanding where Chronos Zero is going with this release and in the future where they clearly have a master plan that will be engrossing to see/hear develop.
Lead vocals for the album are more than ably handled by Jan Manenti. Interestingly he is the only member of Chronos Zero to have previous label experience in that he is also the singer for Love.Might.Kill, a melodic metal outfit based in Germany with a couple of albums and middling success in the EU. Manenti’s vocals are passionate and powerful, differing from a typical James LaBrie-like sweetness by the presence of some gravel. The album also features the vocals of a couple of female guest vocalists as well which are used to great effect.
“A Prelude Into Emptiness” is a concept album and is intended to be considered in its entirety, however, tracks 4 and 5 titled “Lost Hope, New Hope” (parts 1and 2) stand out as incredible prog-metal compositions where the band’s influences are clear. In a recent interview Zavatta stated those influences include Symphony X, Nevermore, Meshuggah, and Adagio. The result is spectacular.
I cannot state more emphatically that if you are a progressive metal fan, this is an album not to be missed.
Reverend Rock’s Rating: 95/100