Zao
The Crimson Corridor


4.2
excellent

Review

by Dewinged STAFF
April 14th, 2021 | 157 replies


Release Date: 04/09/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The BULLDOZER of Theseus.

Fragments of Zao have surfaced with one of the best albums of their long and fruitful career. Who would have thought? With none of the founding members left in the actual line-up, singer, scribe and most veteran Dan Weyandt will take you through a nightmarish tour down a hallway of personal fears and mental health woes with the help of his bandmates. These are demons that he has fought openly throughout the years, and that are given voice and shape in the eleven tracks that shape up Zao's number twelve full length. The Crimson Corridor proves Zao has transcended its members and become an entity of its own. Is this the flag ship of metalcore that helped to build the foundations of the genre through the end of the 90s and the beginning of the millennia? Most certainly, and not exactly.

As the first chords of "Into the Jaws of Dread" begin to howl, the track patiently builds a storm, with Jeff Gretz in control of its intensity, unleashing absolute pandemonium on his drum kit as Scott Mellinger and Russ Cogdell discharge a barrage of sound, leaving Martin Lunn’s bass to glue the whole thing together in what it finally becomes the entryway for Weyandt's hall of horrors. If this introduction doesn't drag you into The Crimson Corridor, nothing else will, although consider having it checked because there's a good chance you have dropped your ears, along with your soul, somewhere on the way to this album.

The "Ship of Theseus" presents the band officially and goddamn it, we all get the analogy but it should have been a tank instead of a ship. With none of its original parts remaining, Zao still sounds as astonishingly good as they ever did, not only proving but demolishing any theories regarding their dominion thirty plus years after their conception. It's an anomaly, yes, but one that has managed to craft an album that stands with the times while carrying the torch of their sound in an exemplary exercise of balance, experience, and ambition. It shows in tracks like "Croatoan", or "Creator/Destroyer", which combine serenity with torment masterfully, pitting Mellinger's hazy and slightly distorted singing against Weyandt's frantic screams as a slick counterweight that helps to keep the album fresh, reminiscent of Mastodon at times, but wearing its own colors, as whispered in the mellow register that introduces a deep cut like "Nothing's Form".

Vocals are a strong case for The Crimson Corridor, but they wouldn't be so if the fine-tuned machinery that is this version of Zao wouldn't provide the base for it. "R.I.P.W." and the title track, the spine of the album, are some of the heaviest and filthiest metal at this side of the year. Mandatory mention also to a closer like "The Web", that draws the curtains of an hour long record with ten minutes of unrelenting pummeling, following the conclusive introduction of the album’s theme, voiced by Mellinger, before the five-piece go ham on their instruments with a mournful anger so thick that you can practically feel its weight upon your own physical being.

The Zao of old still exists today, its essence somehow barely touched, but in 2021, the Pennsylvania crew are closer to the sludge of the swamp where Thou dwells, caped with a post metal love for grand finales and song-building majesty, than they are to the ephemeral fury of long-time tour mates Underoath. The Crimson Corridor is a bone crushing bulldozer of relentless drumming, heart-squeezing riffs and venomous screams that paints the walls of Weyandt’s mind with poignant guitar melodies and a captivating approach to clean vocals. Fueled by the fantastic mixing work achieved by Dave Hidek, Zao breathes (heavily) again with newfound strength and resolve, writing and performing some of their best material in years, and yet again, setting the bar for newcomers to heights that not many will reach.




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user ratings (174)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2021


24299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

I am definitely not the man for the job, but it seems no one else was on it and this album needs all your attention.



Jam: https://officialzao.bandcamp.com/album/the-crimson-corridor



Feel free to point out mistakes, fake facts or things I might have missed cause there's a good chance I'm talking right out of my ass, but most importantly, enjoy this beauty.





Digging: Arabrot - Norwegian Gothic

heyadam
April 14th 2021


3776 Comments


so hype to listen

Gyromania
April 14th 2021


32355 Comments


Hmmmmm

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2021


35756 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Mmmmmhm.



Will read properly in the soon :O Re. first sentence (caught in ye old classic first glance), I thought you were new to these bois?

Digging: Kero Kero Bonito - Civilisation II

Jash
April 14th 2021


4282 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, album rips

Emim
April 14th 2021


30171 Comments


Is good but I think I like the last one a bit more. 4.2 is a good score.

Digging: Ignite - Our Darkest Days

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2021


24299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

" I thought you were new to these bois?"



"there's a good chance I'm talking right out of my ass"



I just go by general opinion not mine obvs.

MalicexMagnum
April 14th 2021


181 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Better than I expected, but definitely on the lower end of Zao albums.

kevbogz
April 14th 2021


3055 Comments


man i couldn't imagine creating a band with peeps, all those peeps eventually leaving the band, and seeing the band i helped create put out an album

Digging: Whirr - Feels Like You

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2021


24299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Normally they would change the band name but I guess the change of members has been gradual so the name stuck.



Plus Zao is a dope name for a band.

ian b
Contributing Reviewer
April 14th 2021


1950 Comments


the review sputnik needed, but didn't deserve. heavy mind pos my luv ;))))

Digging: Meat Computer and KirbLaGoop - Goop Computer

chchelse2
April 14th 2021


44 Comments


Without none in the third sentence is weird and seems like a double negative. With none of the founding members or with no founding members would be better IMO. Will definitely check this out as I’m having trouble finding releases I like this year.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2021


24299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

double negative indeed, fixed, thanks chelse.

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
April 14th 2021


7817 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

tip top rev man

cloakanddagger
April 14th 2021


461 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Was wondering when this album was getting a review, this is well-written.



Album slaps too, this era of Zao has been on top form since its inception. Shame the album artwork for this isn't better but the music is as good as what was on The Well-Intentioned Virus and the production is noticeably better too.

hesperus
April 14th 2021


1203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

having not heard the album yet, i am VERY intrigued by the Thou rec attached to this review

FearThyEvil
April 14th 2021


17413 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Excited to listen probably tomorrow or sometime this week at least. I do agree the artwork is pretty crappy but eh, what can you do? The band wasn't amazing when it came to artwork. The last albums artwork though was great

porcupinetheater
Contributing Reviewer
April 14th 2021


7629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Something super fitting about a Zao with no original members having a song named Ship of Theseus

That said Dan and Russ are ORIGINAL MEMBERS b/c anything before Blood and Fire DON'T COUNT



Slick review, Dewi, the riffs on this thing are jaw-to-floor

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2021


24299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

"i am VERY intrigued by the Thou rec attached to this review"



It's the impression I got, but take it with a mini-grain of salt hesp.

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
April 14th 2021


7817 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

yah I sensed some Thou-like swampiness here too. Mastodon is the most evident rec tho imo



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