Release DetailsLABEL Ferret Music
RELEASED ON 6/13/2006
The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here
posted on 11/2006 By:
I’m purposely avoiding a long history lesson, and the lineup changes are still in a perpetual state of motion. This is inconsequential to me. What does matter is how Zao delivers after the experimental and shakily received The Funeral Of God, and how they shape up next to a slew of excellent hardcore releases from their peers. From the get-go, The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here is pretty much exactly what you should expect after going in such a high-concept direction on their previous effort. It’s a kick in the teeth, a punch in the throat, and a hiptoss into a cactus bush after a pensive 1:30 acoustic beginning of “Cancer Eater”, and it sounds phenomenal. Make way, these guys mean business.
The dark gods of bare-bones production shine down on this disc by way of Steve Albini, who gives Zao a sound so direct and immediately impacting, I almost wonder why other bands aren’t climbing all over each other attempting to get an equally arresting sound. This is not the band’s finest hour, however, but it still certainly takes its place among the most determined and inspired releases this year. “Physician Heal Thy Self”, is an ornery bash of a tune guided by just a couple main riffs and a sludgy marching end, which shows how the band still can excel at making the most out of simple ideas. Sometimes you just can’t beat less-is-more, but make no mistake, there is still much, much more here as well.
Dan Weyandt sounds rather possessed on this album, frankly, as his clean warbling takes a major backseat to some of the most cauterizing screams you’ll hear from the man. In response to his vicious tone, his cohorts rip through these tunes with a barely restrained abandon (“It’s Hard Not To Shake With A Gun In Your Mouth”), as guitars shred uptempo fist-throwing walls of violent riffs (“Kingdom Of Thieves”). The significant lack of studio blessings really emphasizes the furor of material such as “Killing Time ‘Till Its Time To Die”, a tune that should really teach the metalcore many how to make the most out of a breakdown, as well as the almost vulgar groove the band administers during “There Is No Such Thing As Paranoia”. Such moments cement themselves in memory, and erase doubt that this would be a lacking follow-up to The Funeral Of God, for these are two entirely different animals, and are being viewed as such.
The Fear…is one hell of a ride. I realize I’ve been giving out many favorable reviews lately, but this is one that cannot be argued, if for nothing else but the absolutely vile vocal performance on “Pudgy Young Blondes With Lobotomy Eyes”, and the unbelievable groove of “My Love, My Love (We’ve Come Back From The Dead)”. There’s no need to belabor the point here. Zao have nothing left to prove to anyone, regardless of who happens to be part of the band, and continue to be one step ahead of the curve as far as quality goes. The production may leave those of you with a palette for more polished tastes a little cold, but I can’t find a damn thing lacking in any other department. Again, maybe this isn’t their most astounding piece of work, but considering the heights this band has already attained, The Fear... is certainly no shortcoming.
Register to post comments.