| 2004's Funeral of God is a mediocre Zao album. Despite a few good tunes, such as "The Rising End" and the breakdown in "The Last Revelation," the rest of the album was rather weak. Some people blame it on the absence of Jesse Smith, some blamed it on Ferret Records, while others just have something up their ass about a band with no original members.
My theory about Funeral of God is different: I blame it on the lack of dissonance and innovation. Sure there were good riffs, but they were ignorable because they did not match the intense stridence of Dan Weyandt's vocals. Several minor chords and arpeggios thrown in with steady drumming are going to make for the least brutal Zao album ever. And Funeral of God will forever be a testament to that.
Enter 2006, where Zao promises the new album to be a recapitulation of their classic styles with a touch of new flavor. If you don't know Zao, you don't know how juicy that statement sounds. A good majority of the band's fanbase will say that Zao was at its best in their 1998, 1999, and 2000 recordings. If this was the sound Zao planned to resurrect, who could resist?
Did they fulfill their promise? Yes, and more. The heaviness and dissonance is back and stronger than ever. Zao delivers the type of darkness and heaviness of Liberate Te Ex Inferis, but with more speed and chaos. Scott's riffing is better than ever, the new bassist is as exciting, and the new drummer is insane as well. All this is improved and more versatile while maintaining the characteristic Zao sound.
This may be because Dan's vocals will always be the forefront of the band's sound. It is just as blaring as before, but more dynamic. However, unlike in other albums, Dan's vocals are almost swallowed by the distorted bass of the instruments. If there was one thing I'd improve on the album, it would be the volume and recording quality on the vocals.
Anyone who has ever enjoyed a Zao song should immediately buy this album on June 13. There are plenty of amazing moments, such as the unprecedented, head-splittingly intense "Physician Heal Thyself" and the Dillinger Escape Plan-esque guitarwork in "Its Hard Not to Shake with a Gun in Your Mouth." Again, this is music with a message, though not as visual as previous Zao albums. If you're on the prowl for a legendary band that writes innovative new material that stays true to its classic sound at the same time, The Fear is What Keeps Us Here is a perfect example.
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| THE FEAR IS WHAT KEEPS US HERE
1) Cancer Eater
<< 2) Physician Heal Thyself >>
3) Everything You Love Will Soon
4) It's Hard Not To Shake With A Gun In Your Mouth
5) Kingdom Of Thieves
6) Killing Time Til It's Time To Die
7) There Is No Such This As Paranoia
8) Pudgy Young Blondes With
9) My Love, My Love (We've Come Back From The Dead)
10) American Sheets On The Deathbed
11) A Last Time For Everything