Album Review :
Zao - Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest (VINYL)

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Artist: Zao
Album:
Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest
Label:
Broken Circles Records
Release Date:
July 1, 2009
Reviewer:
Eric Pettersson

Tracklisting:

  1. Lies of Serpents, a River of Tears
  2. To Think of You Is to Treasure an Absent Memory
  3. A Fall Farewell
  4. March
  5. Ember
  6. Ravage Ritual
  7. Fifteen Rhema
  8. For a Fair Desire
  9. The Latter Rain
  10. Violet

By a show of hands, how many forgot that Brett Detar of Juliana Theory fame also did a stint playing guitar for Zao? Somewhat embarrassingly, my hand is raised. While he would later be known for his pristine voice and perhaps his stage ego thanks to a certain online game, here he hammers out crisp heavy metal guitar riffs in that classic 1998 sound.

In a time before double-bass drums and drop-D tuning became mandatory, Zao’s raw energy and emotion tore up the budding metalcore genre. The guitars are surprisingly melodic and maintain a solid metal feel despite a lack of any clean vocals. The screams, as we all know, are high and ferocious. As their first record with frontman Dan Weyandt, Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest signaled the start of what many of us look back on as “the real” Zao. The lyrics are brutally personal, hinting at—but not joining—the emo craze that was about to influence future generations of metalcore.

I got the red vinyl of this Broken Circles re-issue, and the sound is as clear as could be imagined. “Violet,” the closing piano-led instrumental, sounds beautiful with the soft pops of the vinyl record, and the sheer intensity of hearing Dan scream “My heart broke” on the bridge of “To Think of You is to Treasure an Absent Memory” will have you moshing (yes, moshing and not hardcore dancing—that wasn’t around yet) right there in your living room. If I am right in guessing that Broken Circles’ initial plan was to release the best of our market’s classics that haven’t been put to vinyl yet, then Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest was a perfect choice.

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