Sound — 9
This newest installment of the legendary (but extremely unnoticed, unappriciated) Zao discography brings back the darkness that was "Liberate Te Ex Infernis" and "Where Blood And Fire Bring Rest" and smashes it together with the thrashing power of "Parade Of Chaos" (which this comparison is a big cliche you will hear in nearly every review). The album opens up with Cancer Eater, and gives you a very well done clean intro. You start to relax and enjoy, and boom! In comes in thrashing drums and chugging guitars that will make you jump, making a smooth and natural transition (considering the sudden tempo, volume, and intensity change). You find yourself switching from tapping your feet to headbanging in an instant, and that headbanging remains easily natural and constant through the entire album (As is the Zao sound). You get another nice little clean break in "Kingdom Of Thieves" and "Pudgy Young Blondes With Lobotomy Eyes", that adds to the easy replayability level of this album. The traditional Zao riffs are still intact, even with the (very sad) abscence of Russ on this album (though there more melodic guitar work then usual). Technically, the album does not come out until June 13th, but those who have the special addition (released June 6th) or who have checked out their official website (the whole album is up there for listening) have already listened to it. This could very well be one of the best Zao albums to date.
Lyrics — 10
Zao is known to excell in the message and delivery. This album is no different. Dan is simply a genious. The screaming has changed a little bit. For some points, Dan has wrenched out low pitch, more "static" sounding growls. Old fans have nothing to worry about, as the old traditional Zao scream is in there just as much (though some of that old scream is taking on the more "static" sound, once again, but the traditional is still there). And yes, there is still some of Dans "monotone talking". Hearing that term, alot of people might think that to be stupid. But long time Zao listeners know that it can fit nearly perfect, and adds a nice little change up in pace. The only little beef I have with the vocals is Scotts singing. Some songs, such as "Its Hard Not To Shake With A Gun In Your Mouth" has the singing fit in pretty nicely, even if it has a little emo tinge to it. However, some songs has the singing sounding awkward and out of place. Even despite the sometimes out of place singing, the lyrics are easily worth a 10/10.
Overall Impression — 9
Song standouts on this album is everything. But if I have to say some, then "Cancer Eater", "Kingdom Of Thieves", "There is no such thing as Paranoia", and "Killing Time 'Til It's Time To Die" are all great examples. The worst song on this album (in my opinion) is "American Sheets On The Deathbed", and it still is a fantastic headbanging song. I really love this new sound Zao has come up with. If someone stole this, I would stab them in the face for their ignorance, but let them keep it so they could listen to it. Theres no doubt in my mind that this CD is worth the $12.