Fear Keeps... doesn't let up on the metal thrashiness, but some songs are lighter than others... lighter, not softer. The guitars are higher-pitched and more melodic on these songs, such as in most of the middle section of "It's Hard Not to Shake With a Gun In Your Mouth," which surprisingly contains clean vocals. But still, Zao keeps the thrash coming, at some points one might say it comes awfully close to grindcore. It all adds up to a near perfect album.
The most obvious flaw lies within the vocals, but it's not Weyandt's fault. They're just way, way too over-produced. Something's been done to make them blend in too much, so you lose them beneath the guitars, making them even harder to understand. This is a minor flaw, but it does get slightly irritating at times.
The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here, as a whole, is a delightful (if relatively short) experience. I recommend Christian metal fans to pick this one up. It's for fans of Becoming the Archetype, Haste the Day, Norma Jean, and Demon Hunter (all of which I also recommend).JFH Reader Review: Review date: 12/18/07, written by RJ Momo for Jesusfreakhideout.com
For a while, I've wondered whether Zao was going to call it a day or not. They've lost a lot of their band members, and looking at their new pictures, they are looking a bit weathered and fatigued. However, while listening to this album, I found some hope. The music is more bass-induced and the riffs seem heavier. In alot of the tracks, there will be more guitar solos than there usually is, but I'm a little disappointed in the solos. They used to be so clean and fast, but now it's a bit slow. Dan Weyandt's voice seems a little less belchier and now he's getting more of a beastly scream in his lungs. Whether or not this may launch a new idea in Zao or not, I don't know. I personally thought this album felt a bit rushed compared to Funeral of God. But, it's still got a good sound to it. If you want devastating growls with a soft overtone of classic guitar towards the end of each track, this is the album for you. It's great, but it isn't much.JFH Reader Review: Review date: 6/28/06, written by Samuel Han for Jesusfreakhideout.com
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