ZAO - _ZAO_
(Solid State, 2001)
by: Aaron McKay (
Chunky, thick like a hardy and wholesome winter beef stew -- these boys know their metal -and- they make it interesting. Keeping the fascination factor in high gear these days is becoming an increasingly difficult task for most bands to pull off. With all that I am exposed to through the industry, I often ask myself why that is... I've come to a relatively conclusive hypothesis that everyone seems to be pushing the "horror" or "speed" envelope of brutality. Some if not most listeners and fans have become numb and desensitized because of this, I feel. ZAO will fix that! Shakespeare penned in The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act III, scene ii, "For in the very torrent, tempest, and as I may say, whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness". ZAO is both a tempest and an exercise in smoothness. For the speed-freaks, that end of the spectrum is totally filled with the superior track ten, "At Zero". Wait 'till you hear it -- ZAO probably meant zero room for velocity escalation on that song. Otherwise _(Self-Titled)_ is compelling riff after compelling riff. This band explores every avenue to pull the listener into their music, leaving no stone unturned. The mid-ranged throaty death shout is effective and enticing. A redefinition of metal is at hand. Robust and beefy, _(Self-Titled)_ is nourishment rationed for the music-lover's well-being. The soup line forms at www.solidstaterecords.com for your portion of ZAO. It'll sure as hell stick to your bones!
(article published 3/13/2001)
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