Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

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Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

Post by Hardcore Christian on Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:09 am

Ive never really even listened to Zao, I just know them by name as one of the well known founders of metalcore along with Living Sacrifice

I decided to check out the song, 5 Year Winter off of "self titled", because I heard it was a great track

And Im really blown away!

Its a great song, and now Im curious what album is a must have for a new fan of them/where is a good launch pad for their discography

Ive heard great reviews about The Funeral Of God, and I really like what I am hearing on Self Titled so, if not one of these what do you recommend?


(I also know that in recent years they havent been so "Christian" anymore)
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Re: Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

Post by Grindboy on Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:41 am

IMO Funeral of God is tops by far.  Blood and Fire probably second.  Liberate has some good material, I'd put it 3rd.  Self-Titled is unique in some ways and I kind of like it once in a while, but 5 Year Winter is far and away the best on there, if you're hoping for a whole album of that you'll be let down.  IMO Parade of Chaos was a really poor effort.  Awake and The Fear Is what Keeps Us Here were ok, I guess, but the sound started to really change and was less to my liking, and I haven't paid them any real attention in quite a while.  Also, I suppose The Splinter Shards the Birth of Separation is a wild-card with a different sound than the more "metal" sound and explicitly Christian lyrics.  You might dig it.  Similar for the old/original version of All Else Failed, I suppose, which was mostly the same songs.

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Re: Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

Post by eatbugs on Fri Nov 18, 2016 3:05 pm

Grindboy is right on except I'd put Blood and Fire #1 and Funeral of God #2.  I prefer the re-record of All Else Failed to the original mostly based on vocalist.

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Re: Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

Post by Hardcore Christian on Fri Nov 18, 2016 3:19 pm

Grindboy wrote:IMO Funeral of God is tops by far.  Blood and Fire probably second.  Liberate has some good material, I'd put it 3rd.  Self-Titled is unique in some ways and I kind of like it once in a while, but 5 Year Winter is far and away the best on there, if you're hoping for a whole album of that you'll be let down.  IMO Parade of Chaos was a really poor effort.  Awake and The Fear Is what Keeps Us Here were ok, I guess, but the sound started to really change and was less to my liking, and I haven't paid them any real attention in quite a while.  Also, I suppose The Splinter Shards the Birth of Separation is a wild-card with a different sound than the more "metal" sound and explicitly Christian lyrics.  You might dig it.  Similar for the old/original version of All Else Failed, I suppose, which was mostly the same songs.

eatbugs wrote:Grindboy is right on except I'd put Blood and Fire #1 and Funeral of God #2.  I prefer the re-record of All Else Failed to the original mostly based on vocalist.

Thanks guys! So I should check out Blood and Fire and The Funeral of God for sure, then Liberate is a solid release, The Splinter Shards is a good one to look into and then check out both versions of All Else Failed

Great! I got something to start with  Very Happy
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Re: Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

Post by Superjuice on Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:30 pm

Unlike most metal-core, they know melody and actually play with heart.  Jesse Smith doesn't drum like an android plugged into a matrix codex and has actual feeling thus setting it apart from most the garbage I've heard in extreme metal the past 15 years.

Blood and Fire is A#1 then Liberate which is a little spotty in places.  Self-titled is pretty good to so so.  Funeral of God was good from the limited amount of "spins" (only have mp3) I gave it.  Grindboy is right on and knows a lot more about this music than I do.
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Re: Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

Post by Stender on Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:03 pm

Zao are not some of the founders of metalcore, but definitely stand outs when it comes to the Christian side of the genre.

I would recommend blood and fire and liberate. Those albums are from the peak of this bands career and really show what was up with Christian metalcore and hardcore in the mid late 90s.
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Re: Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

Post by Hardcore Christian on Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:57 pm

Stender wrote:Zao are not some of the founders of metalcore, but definitely stand outs when it comes to the Christian side of the genre.
Not listening to Secular music, from what I have seen anyway most of the modern bands (Demon Hunter, Norma Jean, As I Lay Dying, Haste The Day, etc.) look up to Zao and Living Sacrifice, thats what I meant in that regard
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Re: Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

Post by Guest on Fri Nov 18, 2016 6:04 pm

I've heard some of their songs I really like on youtube and recently came across The Funeral of God and bought it... and while it's not bad it seemed somewhat amateurish (not so much songs as collections of riffs) to me, might have to give it another chance

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Re: Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

Post by strangerhoncho on Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:40 pm

Stender wrote:Zao are not some of the founders of metalcore, but definitely stand outs when it comes to the Christian side of the genre.

I would recommend blood and fire and liberate. Those albums are from the peak of this bands career and really show what was up with Christian metalcore and hardcore in the mid late 90s.

I'd agree with those two albums being their peak (easily), but I'd beg to differ on Zao being one of the founders of metalcore.  They most definitely were, if you understand a genre as adding its key parts over time and coming into existence gradually.  Earth Crisis and Converge are mostly considered the first to establish much of the musical sound of metalcore in '95, but Zao is arguably one of the first three metalcore bands to incorporate the use of death/black vocals (ala Carcass) and even some death metal musical elements (on Blood & Fire, released May '98), which would later become staples of the genre.  Converge and Botch both came out with albums using deathier vocals at the same time (April & May '98 respectively), but all 3 bands were recording around the same time and independently went to that extreme.  I could be wrong, but I'm not aware of metallic hardcore bands that used death vocals and musical elements earlier than those three in the spring of '98.

I'd say metallic hardcore and metalcore are the ONLY musical genres in which Christians were contemporary with and even possibly ahead of their mainstream counterparts.  Which could be one of the reasons why Christian bands actually came to dominate the genre in the early to mid-2000s and even today.

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Re: Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

Post by strangerhoncho on Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:42 pm

undead toaster wrote:I've heard some of their songs I really like on youtube and recently came across The Funeral of God and bought it... and while it's not bad it seemed somewhat amateurish (not so much songs as collections of riffs) to me, might have to give it another chance

It's their most accessible album, i.e. their most musically simplistic.  Listen to the Jesse Smith years (Blood & Fire thru Parade of Chaos) for more musically adventurous ideas.  Although I'd say their latest one is sounded pretty cool from the few tracks they've released so far.

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Re: Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

Post by ThomasEversole on Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:13 am

Superjuice wrote:... drum like an android plugged into a matrix codex and has actual feeling thus setting it apart from most the garbage I've heard in extreme metal the past 15 years.

LOLOLOL
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Re: Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

Post by TrueNorth on Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:15 am

I have never really dug Zao as a whole, that being said I do like  Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest. It's the only one by them that I care for. I tried to like them from Splinter to Parade of Chaos and after that I stopped trying.

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Re: Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

Post by Stender on Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:01 pm

This is an interesting topic of discussion, however I think I kinda misunderstood the initial statement by the OP haha. I also assumed we were talking about the history of 90s hardcore in general, Christian or otherwise and also not specifically metalcore, in which case I agree for the most part with strangerhoncho.

However theres no question that the 90s hardcore ball got rolling in the late 80s with Cro mags, maybe even Agnostic Front in the earl/mid 80s. But also if were gonna talk 90s Christian hardcore you can't forget Focused which I think predated both Zao and Living sacrifice anyway.

Bottom line is most of these bands were talking about pretty much rule.
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Re: Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

Post by Stender on Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:02 pm

Hardcore Christian wrote:
Stender wrote:Zao are not some of the founders of metalcore, but definitely stand outs when it comes to the Christian side of the genre.
Not listening to Secular music, from what I have seen anyway most of the modern bands (Demon Hunter, Norma Jean, As I Lay Dying, Haste The Day, etc.) look up to Zao and Living Sacrifice, thats what I meant in that regard

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Re: Zao - Where Do I Start? (Question)

Post by strangerhoncho on Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:25 pm

Stender wrote:This is an interesting topic of discussion, however I think I kinda misunderstood the initial statement by the OP haha. I also assumed we were talking about the history of 90s hardcore in general, Christian or otherwise and also not specifically metalcore, in which case I agree for the most part with strangerhoncho.

However theres no question that the 90s hardcore ball got rolling in the late 80s with Cro mags, maybe even Agnostic Front in the earl/mid 80s. But also if were gonna talk 90s Christian hardcore you can't forget Focused which I think predated both Zao and Living sacrifice anyway.

Bottom line is most of these bands were talking about pretty much rule.

Yep.  I was just talking about metalcore like the OP.  I agree about Cro-Mags and Agnostic Front being early crossover hardcore bands, along with D.R.I., mixing in metal (thrash) influences.  The Crucified and The Lead were really the only Christian crossover bands in the 80s, at least on CD.  There were maybe some other bands on cassette.  Later 90s hardcore like Focused was different than that but it's all in the same family tree.  I like the history of it all.

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