Review Summary: The Second Era9 of 11 thought this review was well written
Enter the second Era of Zao. New line-up and a new sound. Drummer Jesse, would be the only original member left on this album. With Dan on vocals, Russ and Brett doing Guitars and Bass. This album, even though the band never excepted it to do that good, would become a classic in the genre and help pave the way for future bands and still remain fresh to this day.
This was the perfect transition for Zao. They added a more metal sound, while keeping the hardcore structure intact and keep things diverse. Pummeling down-tuned guitars, dissonant chords, melodic sections, and even a piano instrumental. The vocals are filled with passion and have a shrieking scream that reminds me of Carcass meets hardcore. Its obvious this is where Jimmy Ryan of Haste The Day got his influence from. The Lyrics for the most part talk of how god has been there for Dan, and that he has helped keep his head up high. But for example the song "To Think Of You Is To Treasure An Absent Memory" talks about his friend who committed suicide.
"The beauty of an embrace,
A place to lay down the pain
Where blood and fire bring rest and peace"
Which is said over a melodic chord progression with screamed and the only clean vocals on the album on To Think Of You Is To Treasure An Absent Memory.
Drummer Jesse is at his greatest here, its pretty much what you could expect from him. He absolutely does an amazing job to keep you interested in what he is doing without garnering all the attention. Plenty of great fills and heavy double bass to be heard here. The guitars are diverse, and don't over chug. Most of the songs don't have much chugging, which makes "For A Fair Desire all" much better. The song has its place, easily the heaviest song on the record. Yet the guitars still keep it a bit melodic and interesting. The Latter Rain contains very slow and muddy riffs that slowly build to melodic riffs and pounding chords. The bass is not the best on this record, but either is the production, they get lost in the old school production quality. For the most part the guitars are taking all the attention, but there is still some room for the bass to be heard even with the quality of the production.
Zao's Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest helped shaped the genre, and will always remain a classic. Bands like Underoath, Haste The Day, and As I Lay Dying would not be where they are now if this album never existed. This is a must listen to any metalcore/hardcore fans.