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on January 8, 2005
What if God got sick of us not listening to him and decided to leave? What would happen? Would Armageddon finally come? Well, that's the question posed from "The Funeral Of God", The newest release from Zao, a band coming at you for ages it seems. Zao shows us the terrors of a life without God and with evil humans ruling. I believe that this is one of the best albums I've heard in a while. "And when the end she comes, rains down on everyone, fire from the sky" is a great line from "The Rising End (The First Prophecy)", but my favorite line has to be from the exact same song "Bombs rain down like heaven's tear, the earth shall die and dissapear." This fortells a story of death and mayhem. I urge anyone that is a Christian to pick this up. Now for the musical side of it. Zao is great. The guitar work of Scott Mellinger and Russ Codgell is absolutely insane. Stephen Peck and Shawn Koschik round out the rhythm section with Dan Weyandt doing vocals. On "Psalm Of the City Of The Dead", Josh Momper plays a chaotic piano rhythm, adding to the beautiful mayhem and destructive feeling of the whole piece. Songs like "Breath of the Black Muse" and "Truly, Truly, This is The End" tell the story wonderfully. Please, any metalhead that appriciates good music should have this in their collection.

Favorite Song: "Psalm Of The City Of The Dead"

Reason Why: The song gives off a feeling of letdown and pain as the people of earth finally realize what they have done and regret it and beg for forgiveness. The piano line from Josh Momper and the multi-layered vocals of Sara George give the song a haunting, lilting feeling. Simplicity is the key in this song with the only lyrics being "As we wait for a sign we are greeted by the end of time, these streets aren't paved with gold, you're my everything, my soul is growing cold."
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on November 12, 2004
I know, I know. My parents keep telling me, "Stop listening to that devil music!" then I'm like, "IT'S NOT DEVIL MUSIC. THESE GUYS ARE CHRISTIANS!" Of course, they don't believe me, but anyway...This is an awesome album full of "make you think" lyrics (if you can understand them. I know I can't) and good, classic metal. Since I'm a drummer, I love the drumming for this. The double bass is not used too much or too little, which is great. The guitars are excellent and the bass is especially slappy, which is something you don't hear very often any more. Here are the ratings song by song:

1) Breathing of the Black Muse - 9/10. Good overall music. I especially like the part at the end.

2) The Rising End (The First Prophecy) - 10/10. This is one of my favorite songs on the CD for its quick double bass and interesting guitar riffs.

3) The Last Revelation (The Last Prophecy) - 9/10. A little repetive, but overall good.

4) The Last Song From Zion - 9/10. Good guitar riffs make this one a good one.

5) Live...From the Funeral of God - 7/10. Probably my least favorite on the CD. It's still decent though.

6) The Lesser Lights of Heaven - 8/10. Meh...

7) In Times Gone Past - 9/10. Very fast double bass make this a winner (for me). Good, freaky quality in the middle too.

8) Praise the War Machine - 10/10. Another one of my favorites. I especially like the 666 part (not for that reason).

9) Truly Truly This is the End - 10/10. Another favorite. I love the part where it's just the drums and the guy whispering in the background...it's cool.

10) I Lay Sleepless in my Grave - 9/10. Short, but good.

11) Psalm of the City of the Dead - 10/10. Definitely my favorite song on the CD. I absolutely love this song, ESPECIALLY the part with the choir in the middle. It's very peaceful and comforting.
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on November 26, 2012
To the unknowledgeable listener, Greensburg, Pennsylvania's Zao may come across sounding like your average, run-of-the-mill Johnny-come-lately on their seventh full-length record, 2004's "The Funeral Of God." But only to the unknowledgeable listener. Most metalheads are well-aware of the fact that Zao spearheaded what is only now commonly referred to as "metalcore." So, it needs to be noted that Zao are the source of inspiration behind legions and legions of bands. It is just easy to get confused who's who in this genre, because on "Funeral," Zao take after the prototypical Killswitch Engage formula of heavy, driving verses leading into really melodic and soaring choruses.

And besides, Zao are different than the average melodic metalcore band. Tightly-wound and written in a way as to strip the songs of any superfluous fat, "F.O.G." is equally as heavy as it is melodic. And it is heavy without needing to bog down in clichés: It uses double bass drumming only occasionally; and breakdowns are also tastefully well-placed. So how, you ask, does Zao manage to be so heavy? With heavy guitars and bass (duh!), and vocals that frequently verge on being brutal. Indeed, frontman Dan Weyandt may use the above-described clean singing on occasion, but he most commonly opts for an abrasive, skin-crawling, near-black metal-styled rasp reminiscent of Carcass' Jeff Walker. The result is a strong and sharp brutal/melodic contrast.

The album begins with "Breath Of The Black Muse," which is a good demonstration of the album as a whole. It opens with fiery, thrashy, chugging riffs and perfectly-synchronized, slap-happy bass lines, and later adopts pounding hardcore breakdowns and skin-crawling vocal rasps. The tune does open up, though, for harmonic twin-guitar leads and big, epically melodic choruses (complete with emo-lite crooning). Of these more melodic songs, "Live...From The Funeral Of God" also stands out, as it features a huge, eminently memorable and infectious melodic choruses, as well as some noteworthy -- if very dark and bleak -- lyricism, and an awesome drum fill near the end. "In Times Gone Past" continues in this vein, only whereas "Live..." had excellent drumming, "Times..." has lovely acoustic guitar breakdowns/bridges.

But there are a few tracks that refrain from using clean vocals. The double-bass led "The Rising End" and "The Last Song From Zion" forfeit their use, opting instead to rip from start to finish with plenty of chunky, tough-guy hardcore-like chugging and mean and punishing hardcore breakdowns. But the latter of these two songs does retain some melody, though, as it subtly slips in some nicely melodic guitar leads and ominously slow breakdowns. (Some grumbling, dirty-sounding bass lines are also present, here.) And "The Last Revelation" does have a melodic backing vocal line, but it is very briefly used, this time around. Other standouts include the clangy, dirty-sounding bass lines that accompany the catchy swing and swagger behind "The Lesser Lights Of Heaven"; the bruising and fairly brutal "Praise The War Machine"; and the epic album closer, "Psalm Of The City Of The Dead," which is nearly eight-minutes long, and features quite a bit of hauntingly memorable melodies.

In the end, Zao might not do enough, here, to distinguish themselves from the throngs of imitators, but "Funeral Of God" is not an album that should be overlooked. It is cleanly produced, well-played, satisfyingly heavy, and ultra catchy and infectious. Thus, the average heavy-yet-melodic metalcore fan should most definitely enjoy it.
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on June 10, 2013
Not much to say. It's a great cd and it's defiantly like other Zao. It seems a bit like the band grew up a little and experiments a bit more with slower sections but they still have some really good tunes.
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on October 14, 2004
First I want to say flat out, Mind Your Own Business, to those dork faces who think ,metal needs to be satanic. Satanism is not a religion, it's nothing but exploitation. If you want to make a religion, don't just steal the beliefs of others and then invert them. I do listen to some satanic bands like MErcyful Fate and Dimmu Borgir and you can tell that its really just a front, even comical (especially with MErcyful Fate). What i'm sort of saying is, the band can play music about whatever they want and people should respect them for that. If you don't like it, don't listen to it and keep your mouth shut if you can't say anything non-derogatory about it!

On to the album then! Liberate te Ex Inferis/Save Yourself From Hell is my favourite Zao album, but this one is moving up on it pretty fast. I love it! It's a semi-conceptual album about what would happen if God turned his back on humanity. It's a really interesting story and a lot of really good songs. I don't think Zao is "selling out" by using clean vocals. Seriously, how many times I have you heard their songs on MTV or a car commercial, or the radio (excluding college of course). Never! But they should! This agressive hardcore metal is filled with lots of melencholic sorrow. If you like something hard and heavy that may make you think, get this. IF not, go listen to something else and not complain about what you don't understand.
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on July 14, 2004
Zao has done it again. First I would like to admit that the cd that got me started with Zao was self-titled, and although it sounds nothing like any other cd I still LOVE 5 Year Winter and the Race of Standing Still. Liberate Ex Inferis is without a doubt my favorite cd, though (and I own every cd that has Dan Weyandt as lead singer. This cd is more comparable to that cd, but is still much different. I went to the Columbus, OH show 7/11 (2 days before Funeral was released) and was blown away by the song Praise the War Machine. This cd would be in the top 3 or 4 cds in Zao's history, and I'm sure that War Machine and Lesser Lights of Heaven will soon be regulars at shows right along with Fall Farewell, Savanah, Skin Like Winter, 5 Year Winter, and race of Standing Still.
Very unique sound, heavy but much less chaotic (more vs. chorus vs. chorus bridge arrangment)
Very good mix and production.
Drummer actually doesn't do a bad job at filling Jesse Smiths shoes!
Nice to hear Russ on a record again
P.S. If you haven't seen this band play live you have done yourself an injustice.
Check out As I Lay Dying (they have awesome breakdowns, killer guitar licks, and a vocalist that is the closest thing to Zao that I have heard thus far.
Peace
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on January 14, 2005
As far as I know, I have listened to every song published by Zao, whether it was from an album I physically own or from an MP3. I have never been disappointed. This album is great. The guitar playing is amazing and more complex than ever before with a more raw sound instead of using weird background effects like they have done in previous albums. Dan Weyandt's vocals are unique and no one can physically recreate his distorted growl/scream.

I saw them in concert a few months ago in Houston with Rhinosaurus, Misery Signals, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Every Time I Die. The show was awesome and they stood out more than any other band there. Yes, the members of Zao are Christian, and no, they don't use nasty language in their songs. At the same time, if you are prone to calling Christians "brainwashed" like one reviewer of this album, please note that they don't preach at you. They merely state what might occur if God turned his back on mankind and left earth. Anyway, buy this album. If you don't like it, than definitely check out Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest or Save Yourself from Hell (Liberate te Inexferis-or something like that). Otherwise, see them in concert. You would not be disappointed.
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on July 27, 2004
poor zao, they can't win either way. too dark and hard for the christians, too much pesky talk about god for all the kids who think metal should primarily be about suicide and satan.

now onto the review.

with zao you never know what you're going to get. they have a reputation for experimentation and are abosolutely fearless about pushing the boundaries of their fan's musical tastes.

i had some trouble getting a hold of this cd, so when i finally put it in my player i had no idea what to expect. the first track i wasn't sure about, but by the second i was already smiling.

this cd does them proud. flawless insightful lyrics, outstanding vocals, and as always, absolutely relentlessly beautiful music. if you enjoy being proverbially beaten to death by a good band, these are your guys.

i'm fairly sure that the concept zao has chosen to portray in this album will be wasted on the majority of listeners. still, when faced with the hordes of generic, mindless, and shallow metal/hardcore bands out there, i can't help but appreciate zao all the more.

if the fact that they believe something freaks you out, don't worry, i'm sure you can find a band that won't make you think.
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on July 27, 2004
I have been listening to Zao for about 2 years and this is the first cd I've bought from them. The music is very well down and creative. the Lyrics are dark and brutal and well thought out. Dan has if not, one of the best screaming vocals ever. Its filled emotion and you can tell he is trying to get something across with it. Some of my favorite songs are Last Song from Zion, The Rising End, Breah of the Black Muse, Praise the War Machine, and Truly, Truly, This is the End. All the songs are really sweet though. Definitly for fans of Demon Hunter, Living Sacrifice,and As I Lay Dying. Check out their cds as well. Keep up the good work Zao!

A note to Heidi Cakes. Unless you play a musical instrument and you are in a band yourself, don't put out negative reviews for awesome bands because they DO have talent and they put the time and effort in to produce a cd. Also because I'm sure they've made sacrifices in order to get to where they are now. Even if you are in the music area, its very igonorant to say those things anyway. (since most of your reviews are very negative)

God Bless
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on January 19, 2005
Bands like Extol, Living Sacrifice, and most of all, Zao put Slipknot to rest. Besides being harder, more talented, and have better over all songs musically, they rock for the glory of God. DON'T LET THAT TURN YOU OFF!!!! "Brainwashed religious freaks" right? Well, could the brainwashed make such hard core, thought provoking music? I think not my friends.

In order to fully get this CD, you have to see that this is a story. Zao explores what would happen if God just went to sleep. FOR EVER! Saying his creation has just been way to troublesome, and that he doesn't care. The world is suddenly without a God. Interesting, no?

The only thing is they have a new drummer. Now, we all know that Jesse Smith is the best drummer in the world, but this new guy, Stephen Peck, is pretty good too. But they brought back Dan Weyandt (vocals), and Russ Cogdell (guitar). These guys rock. So even if you're not a Christian, just a hard-core fan, check these guys out.
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