Thought Zao was long gone? You were so wrong…
Many metal bands have come and gone, never lasting even five years. Some of the more fortunate ones might actually make it a decade. Enter Zao, a band with fifteen years of some of the most brutal metal under their belts. They've survived the nu-metal craze and are still cranking out good music. With The Funeral of God being their tenth record, you might expect Zao to experiment with something different. Well, they did.
With a new line up and a new record label, they are harder and heavier than ever. The very first song on the album, "Breath of the Black Muse", is sure to prove to anyone Zao is back and at the top of their game. Fiery hot lyrics and a growling death-metal-styled screaming provided by Dan Weyandt is a combination that is sure to please the toughest fan.
Newcomers Stephen Peck and Shawn Koschik fit right into what has become Zao's strongest line up to date. Peck proves that he can double kick his way through any song while Koschik pumps out some of the strongest bottom end ever heard in a Zao album. Whilst Mellinger and Cogdell's presence is loud and umistakable on this album, and so are Mellinger's back up vocals, which add a new side to Zao. Throughout the entire album, we're tossed and turned into a frenzy of metal riffs. But sometimes it takes the listener somewhere they don't want it to go, like with the track "The Lesser Lights of Heaven". "Lesser" suffers mostly from missing a really good vocal track, which should have been offered, instead, by Mellinger. But Funeral ends on a surprisingly melodic note. "Psalm of the City of the Dead" is a grand finale that takes the listener up and down from heavy distortion to a piano and clean/acoustic guitar playing while a female vocal sings "These Streets are paved with gold… You're my everything… My soul is growing cold". My only problem with the entire album is the ending of "Psalm." An emo-esque guitar with piano and strings come in at the close of the song, and then it roughly fades out.
After all the rumors circulating and after switching from Solid State Records to Ferret Records, I believe that Zao has a great amount of steam left in them to continue putting out strong records. The Funeral Of God is proof.- Review date: 7/31/04, written by Jon Hamilton
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