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OKComputer1016 06/28/08 11:04 AM

Zao - The Funeral of God
Zao - The Funeral of God
Record Label: Ferret Music
Release Date: July 13, 2004

Although ZAO have been known to deliver some pretty average metalcore albums, The Funeral of God is definitely one of the best portraits of the whole genre. Itís simply put together a lot better than most other artifacts of the maybe/maybe-not Christian trend, and it avoids all the popular footholds of todayís popular metal. The never-ending, bland breakdown is avoided, the chord progressions are all really creative, and the choruses are the good kind of catchy Ė infectious, but not whiny or forced.

Since the album came out in 2004, just a little bit before everybody thought they could be Norma Jean and just peddle discords for the span of an LP, The Funeral of God sounds pretty creative because it wasnít bogged down by any stylistic expectations. This was an innovative-as-shit album that imitators would only botch in trying to recreate... even Zao themselves, when they continued to release albums that werenít this one.

The fusion of clean, jazzy chords into the formula is a really nice touch that metalcore rarely sees; it makes the lighter parts sound like just really good music instead of ďthe not-heavy part.Ē This is some of the most innovative songwriting youíre going to find in this type of music, and whether or not the vocalistís style of monotonous throat-shredding suits you, youíve got to admire the unorthodox song structures; "Metal By Numbers" it ainít.

The closer, ďPsalm of the City of DeadĒ even works in a Smashing Pumpkins-esque piano piece very nicely. Itís not pretentious and itís not the predictable ďOutroĒ track that gets penned when a group like Dead to Fall doesnít know what else to do to get to a 40-minute playback; itís just a really neat track. The female vocal cameo and its accompanying ďdarkĒ lyrics are a little bit cheesy, but they grow on you quickly so you donít even really notice the awkwardness by the second listen (donít worry Ė itís not like when Paramore's Hayley Williams showed up on The Fiance).

ZAO are generally overlooked in the metal scene, and where they are known, theyíve got a lousy reputation for being a mediocre band. But there is a loyal following dedicated to these guys, and so Iím here to simplify the contradictory statements you may have heard about them: no, you donít need to listen to their entire discography, but The Funeral of God is completely awesome. So check and double-check your record store cut-out bins, because there might be a thrilling pseudo-Christian surprise waiting for you there.

Besides... itís called The Funeral of God. Whether you want to be terrified or just get a good laugh, that title has just got to represent something interesting, right?

Recommended if You LikeAs I Lay Dying (but good), Killswitch Engage (but good), Trivium (but good)


newfoundmichael 07/02/08 04:20 PM

ah, I always thought Killswitch wasn't too shabby. i do agree that As I lay Dying and Trivium blow John Holmes though. And good score. I like this album, but not much else by them.

Klatzke 07/02/08 05:11 PM

haha, i want to listen to this now.

Adrian Villagomez 07/04/08 09:50 PM

"(but good)"


live4music 04/08/10 08:42 AM

I'll get crucified for this but this is my favorite Zao record. I fucking love it! Big fan of the rawness of "The Fear is What Keeps Us Here" though.