Zao
The Well-Intentioned Virus


4.5
superb

Review

by Bagration3127 USER (2 Reviews)
December 23rd, 2016 | 142 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Zao are back with "The Well Intentioned Virus" and they show the world why sometimes a hiatus can be the best thing for a band.

Zao are an anomaly in the realm of heavy music. Over the band's nearly 25 year career they've gone through woes to kill a lesser band several times over. From the constant lineup shifts in their early Christian days, to the departure of their final original member- Jesse Smith, to a nearly 6 year hiatus from which the band has only recently exited. Where one would normally expect such setbacks to negatively impact Zao's musical output, they somehow manage to rise stronger than ever each time. This is exactly the case on their 10th full length album, "The Well Intentioned Virus."

Clearly rejuvenated after such a long break the album springs to life with its first track, "The Weeping Vessel." One of the heaviest and aesthetically darkest songs the band has ever made, with lyrics focusing around a miscarriage, the song absolutely pulverizes; stomping the listener with sludgy mid tempo riffs and only letting up for a brief clean section in the center. The next song, the title track, speeds forward and assaults the listener with the kind of chaotic and technical riffing that the band began to really utilize on 2006's "The Fear is what Keeps Us Here." It's not all bludgeoning heaviness however as slower and more atmospheric songs like "Apocalypse" and "Broken Pact Blues" showcase guitarist Scott Mellinger's clean vocals in a more subdued way than on previous Zao records. I will not spoil the final track, the epic seven-and-a-half minute beast "I Leave You in Peace" however I will say that it is very remiscent of songs like "The Latter Rain" off of 1998's "Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest."

I would be absolutely amiss to not mention vocalist Dan Weyandt, whose inhuman growls and screams have somehow only become more powerful with age. He sounds genuinely angry on this album as well, something I felt was absent from the band's last full length effort. The lyrics are really quite powerful and poetic as well. As mentioned earlier, "The Weeping Vessel" paints a horrifying and abstract portrait of a miscarriage while other tracks like "Xenophobe" cut deep into the heart of current social issues in America. The rest of the band give great performances as well, it's particularly refreshing to hear long time member Russ Cogdell finally performing on another album after over a decade. The production here is also quite good, finding a passable middle ground between the raw and almost lo-fi "The Fear is What Keeps Us Here" and the overly clean "Awake?"

Zao are back and with "The Well Intentioned Virus" and they show the world that sometimes a hiatus could be the best thing for a band. All the exhaustion and fatigue of their last couple albums has been replaced by a new found sense of vigor and energy. To put it plainly, the album rips and it's easily one of the best the band has ever put out. "The Well Intentioned Virus" is a must-listen from one of metalcore's finest.


user ratings (301)
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Bagration3127
December 23rd 2016


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Second review! Thought I'd do a (metallic)hardcore album that I loved from this year to contrast my first review. Feedback is appreciated!

Snide
December 23rd 2016


7050 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cool review, only two gripes.

One is the unnecessary spacing at the beginning of the review, second is in the third paragraph, when you say "who's inhuman growls and screams", it should be "whose", not "who's."

Have a pos!

accompliceofmydeath
December 23rd 2016


4921 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ugh, keep forgetting to listen to this. Is there anything as cool as "burnitdownandwalkaway"?



Snake.
December 23rd 2016


25269 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rulz

Bagration3127
December 23rd 2016


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks Malachite!



And accomplice, there's some parts that come close. The ending of Xenophobe comes to mind

accompliceofmydeath
December 23rd 2016


4921 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Rad

Emim
December 24th 2016


35430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"I would be absolutely amiss"



Word you're looking for there is "remiss". Good review otherwise.

Confessed2005
December 25th 2016


5573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. Cannot wait to hear this in its entirety.

Rowhaus
July 21st 2020


6148 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

perfect album for the modern era

heck
July 21st 2020


7114 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

fuck off w/ that rating tho

Rowhaus
July 21st 2020


6148 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Never cared for this band. Artwork is sick tho at least.

LeddSledd
November 1st 2020


7444 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah this rules and riffs hard, vocalist is great

Emim
December 8th 2020


35430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hope we get some new stuff soon. This album went hard.

DDDeftoneDDD
December 14th 2020


22376 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You guys check the new from Yashira asap

Emim
December 15th 2020


35430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just listened to one song. Sounds right up my alley.

LeddSledd
December 15th 2020


7444 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

new Yashira kicks major

MarsKid
Emeritus
December 15th 2020


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Did someone say Yashira?

ieatbabies795
December 15th 2020


841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This record was badass, still can’t get into their older stuff tho

DDDeftoneDDD
December 15th 2020


22376 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Did someone say Yashira?" yes...gladly you did!

SteakByrnes
January 7th 2021


29854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Righteous album, need more from them soon pls



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