Zao

The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here

Written by: PP on 20/06/2006 02:36:26

Revolving doors and Zao's lineup have had a lot in common in the past, and with the recent knee injury of the bands long-time guitarist Russ Cogdell forcing him to depart the band the future isn't looking too bright. No wait, scrap that. The influental band has just released their highly anticipated full length album "The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here" and it's ready to take the extreme metalcore/hardcore scene with a blast to remind them of their roots.

The album opens with a soft, beautiful guitar intro track "Cancer Eater", which includes your only space to breathe on the album, before it also breaks down into demonic screams and senseless guitar pounding. "Physician Heal Thyself" is quintessential Zao, with odd time signatures and tempo switches mid-riff, all dominated by the irrational lung/throat torture practiced by the bands frontman Daniel Weyandt. "It's Hard Not To Shake With A Gun In Your Mouth" is the best track on the album by far. It includes random guitar solos, tempo changes and, of course, the clean/scream vocal dynamic in the chorus, with the clean vocals sounding as desparate as ever in contrast to the screamed out ones, showcasing the versatility and creativity of the 13 year old band.

"American Sheets On The Deathbed" is a breakneck pace break down your walls-type of seemingly unorganized and chaotic track with plenty of breakdowns and solid chord riffage much like in "Killing Time 'Til It's Time To Die". It's too bad that the first half of the album is so magnificent that it leaves the second half in its giant shadow. "Pudgy Young Blondes With Lobotomy Eyes", for example, in no way compares to the great "Everything You Love Will Soon Fly Away", and the rest of the tracks past the 5th one just don't stick into your head too well.

Another thing I can't understand about the album is its production level. It's as if the entire band was trapped in a closet during the recording process with the mics outside - the screams are impossible to understand and sound lo-fi as if they were just demos, and the instruments (especially the drums) have a far too rough edge attached to them, and at least myself I have trouble separating them from the mish-mash of lo-fi distortion. Whether or not this is what the band attempted to do is not in my judgement, but it works against the album rather than for it.

Nevertheless, another Zao chapter will be closed with "The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here", and as usual, the band doesn't disappoint, though the direction is less metallic and more hardcore based than on their last album. All Zao fans should definitely pick this one up.

Download: Cancer Eater, It's Hard Not To Shake With A Gun In Your Mouth
For the fans of: Intronaut, The Agony Scene, UnderOATH (debut), Haste The Day
Listen: Myspace

Release date 06.06.2006
Ferret
Provided by Target ApS

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