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Zao - The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here (Cover Artwork)

Zao

Zao: The Fear Is What Keeps Us HereThe Fear Is What Keeps Us Here (2006)
Ferret Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
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Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

"You just gotta keep on keepin' on." This is a message that has rang loud and clear to the ever-changing member-base of Zao. 10 years after their very first full-length, All Else Failed, they've returned with just as much vigor and intensity as they began with. The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here tone.
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"You just gotta keep on keepin' on."

This is a message that has rang loud and clear to the ever-changing member-base of Zao. 10 years after their very first full-length, All Else Failed, they've returned with just as much vigor and intensity as they began with. The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here tones down a lot of the overtly Christian themes that were prevalent on the last few records, but the same trademark sound and guttural vocals have not gone anywhere.

As one of the forerunners of the metalcore scene, Zao have had to constantly try to remain relevant -- and it hasn't always worked. Throughout the later part of the band's career, a few of the albums released felt lackluster at best, but this newest effort finds the band reclaiming a lot of what made them popular in the first place.

"Killing Time 'Til It's Time to Die" is unquestionably one of the most intense songs the band has recorded in years, and the rapid-fire approach is one that works well for not only singer Dan Weyandt and guitarist Scott Mellinger, but the newer members recruited to take place of those who've left over the past couple years. Fast-paced and frenetic right out the gate, the increasingly fast riffs and screamy vocals dominate most of the duration, only stopping for a quick but impressive guitar solo that breaks up the fevered pitch. The overpowering discordance coming from the band is only topped by the varied vocal approach of Weyandt, an approach that lends a fair bit of life to songs that could potentially grow monotonous.

For the most part, nothing on this newest effort is groundbreaking, but I will say that I'm rather impressed with the band's ability to keep things interesting for the 40-minute duration. Plenty of changes in tempo, vocal inflection, and guitar tunings can go a long way into keeping somebody interested in a record and style of music that is commonly thought to be at the end of its rope. The end of Zao's rope, however, or at least the end of this album, is their real shining moment. "A Last Time for Everything" is a song that builds slowly with an ever-quickening and ever-loudening drum beat, while the rest of the band meanders through a variety of tempos until things slow towards the middle, only to slowly begin the climb back up. The rasp of the vocals and quick fills on the drums accent the rhythms of bass and guitar quite well, finally culminating in just the right combination of drums and vocals, each repeating in time, each echoing even after the song has concluded.

Ten years later, they're still going. And I think there's something to be said for that in and of itself. Bands in this genre are a dime a dozen, but generally don't last longer than two or three years. So here's to longevity, and a band that continually, somehow stays just one step ahead of the curve.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
bytheslice (October 9, 2007)

This album is really good. This is the first album by Zao I actually bought, and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. Although some may not appreciate the roughed-up production, it still rocks. Song #2 on this album is brutally awesome.

fox82 (December 9, 2006)

Being in a christcore band means that some clueless parent will eventually buy your record for their dumb kid at christmas. I mean you don't have to be a good band and write good songs anymore if you are Zao. Or MxPx.

crazytoledo (December 8, 2006)

I can't type, I meant to say god awful.

I also laughed when I noticed I typed that.

crazytoledo (December 8, 2006)

I've almost bought this on several occasions but I hesitate every time because I haven't heard anything off of it. I have the Funeral of God. It had really really awesome songs and then some really boring ones. How does this compare? and is the production really as bad as I've heard people say? The Funeral of God sounded huge.

The production was what they were going for, but it's good awful. I thought I was seriously listening to some unmixed demos when I got it, but whatever. And I have 'the Funeral of God' and it's okay, but this album is even worse.

Anonymous (December 8, 2006)

If man has an inherent sense of right and wrong, where does it come from? You can ask who created God (this is a big part of why it's called faith, it says he WAS, is, and is to come), but then where did this inherent sense come from? As far as Atheist and Christian, it seems the choice would be that you believe we just evolved and were born with a sense of morals, or that a God created us and made us with these morals set in place.

SlackMFr (December 7, 2006)

This band=moldy shitpile.

KurtTGS (December 7, 2006)

change "going" to "coming"

KurtTGS (December 7, 2006)

Man, didn't see this discussion going.

Silly philosophy majors.

Ianw (December 7, 2006)

Love dosent happen for no reason. It's a mechanism to make us fuck!

feeeding5000 (December 6, 2006)

If your choice is between acceptance or damnation, then do you really have a choice? And hey, Protestants use the Bible to further their own aims too. Look at the non-denominational megachurches that rake in millions of dollars for their charismatic preachers (who then give that money to fiscal conservatives - see a pattern here?). And as for accepting the "higher power", because it's hard to believe that nothing else was there, well...you can't give that argument. I hate to say it, but then who created god. You can't just keep having endless cycles of creation - something must have happened spontaneously, so why can't it be us? As for the thing about people being evil...well, I think that it is natural for one person to always rise into a position of power. That power then corrupts them, and makes them want more. Then, others struggle for some or all of the power that belongs to that one person. This, eventually, leads to war. All that would be eliminated if people just decided to share power, but there is always someone who wants more. It's not really being evil - it's just being fallible, susceptible to greed. Which I guess the Christians took and personifed in Judas. Also, in response to AlexPKeaton's comment- religion did not invent morality. The morality that was already within humans was codified by religion, and then taught as an invention of religion. So, basically, there is no good Zao album.

tenwestchaser (December 6, 2006)

Jesus (ya probably funny for this thread but unintended), every one knows that some hot debate about how much christian shit sucks is gonna go down once Zao is posted on. Whatever, enough opinions are flying around on it already. I just want my damn question answered. See below.

SloaneDaley (December 6, 2006)

justahippie you seem smart enough and seem to have a strong faith which I actually like in people. But here is my whole take on morality:

I am an Atheists and your point about people not being inherently good shouldn't be thrown out off hand. Every time I bring up morality (in that I have it an am not a christian) christians make the claim is that I once had it (I used to be catholic), that just because I denounce my faith doesn't mean I haven't been taught. They even go as far to say bringing up my children as atheists I would be passing on knowledge of morality I recieved from christianity so the touch of christianity would still be the basis of their morality and so on and so forth for generations to come. I say this argument has some weight and I'm using christianity but same could be said for any "people of the book" as it were.

My problem is to say for instance Native North American nations, before European's landed here they had no contact with their god's teachings. Now their moral codes would be different from European ones naturally but there did exist for them generally diverse ways of right and wrong. Their nations did not perish which one could assume a society that didn't know right from wrong would. Rather they flourished without the aid of the christian god's teachings.

Would you say we need a god in general then to have morality? Is that big finger wagging in the sky really the only thing that is keeping me from blowing john and jane's head out?

justahippie (December 6, 2006)

I enjoy spirited (no pun intended) discussions and there seem to be a few people that are intelligent and can carry on a conversation without sounding like total idiots, so I'm gonna keep on posting...

It's hard for me to believe that humans are, at the core, good and moral. Being either "good or bad" (way to simple, but hey, this is punknews.org) is always a choice, that's what makes Christianity so great (in my view). There are a lot of churches, pastors, whatever (cough, catholics) that take the Bible and tiwst it and use it to their own advantage. The church used to sell pardons. Humans, imperfect beings, can take ANYTHING and make it ugly, but they can also take ANYTHING and make it beautiful. It's all about choice and freedom. God gave us that choice - we either believe in him and accept what he says (it's a lot to swallow, but isn't the fact that all this beauty and complexity "just happened" and that there is no greater being then a human even harder to swallow?) or we believe something else. Whether that's Buddha or Shinto or nothing is up to us. God gave us free will because otherwise we would be sheep. We'd be mindless zombies praising God (which some people think is true now, but you're not a sheep or a zombie if you make a concious choice) and that's not what God wants. God wants someone to love him because they believe and because they WANT to, not because he made them. No matter what anyone tells you, Christianity is about choice and it's about love.

But, like I was trying to say, when children are sold and used as sex slaves and babies are killed and thrown away and people blow themselves up in a crowded street and there's ALWAYS a new war to fight, it's impossible for me to believe that humans are "good" by nature. If left to ourselves and to our own devices, we would (and will) destroy ourselves and everything around us.

Oh yeah, and this album isn't all that great. It's ok. Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest and Liberate te ex Inferes (save yourself from hell) are the two best Zao albums.

SloaneDaley (December 6, 2006)

To Alex P. Keaton below me, how is it not logical to be religious? If it is the life one chooses to live, and they see the logic in it (which many do), then it is valid. Also, if you say religion is illogical, then by the same measure you would have to say love is illogical, because sometimes love and other things happen for just "no reason".

I don't mind that your anonymous because you don't come off as a jerk like me.

By logic I'm refering to a philosophical way of reasoning. There is no philosophical argument that can be made to say any religious doctrine is something created by a devine being that we should base our lives on or damnnation ensue. You can however make an argument for there being a God similar to what the christians believe in being all good an all powerful and think that you can write a song say for instance thanking god for creating what you see to be an essentially good world, but if someone writes religious music strictly based on any specificness of doctrine found in religious text or about anyone named Jesus it is essentially like me trying to defend songs about birthing rhinos from my ass.

about the love thing well some people would say there is no such thing as "love" in the higher convoluted sense. It is a mixture of agreeable circumstances that cause happiness (as in a void of suffering) mixed with convenience. Love as a concept mostis something most people think is a given but it isn't something that has always been around in the form people think of it as today. Not to say that those characteristics aren't nice and fun etc. I enjoy them myself as I would enjoy thinking there is something beyond this series of causal beings we call earth and its inhabitants

Ianw (December 6, 2006)

I ment that rant at That one kid, not feeding.

Ianw (December 6, 2006)

I like you Feeding5000.

Nice speach about respecting other peoples right to belive and do what they want. I especially enjoyed the colorful sprinkeling of "faggot" in the text. It really helps me feeeel the tolerence.

Fuck you dude, dudes have the right to make christian (or religious in general) music, but we also have the right to fucking reject it.

But I don't even know why im bothering argueing with a homophobe. You guys are inherently stupid.

Anonymous (December 6, 2006)

See, to me, punk isn't about nihilism, or apathy, or "not giving a fuck". To me, punk has the capacity to be a laser-pointed political movement, an anti-authoritarian, counter-cultural force. See, some people believe that morality comes from outside each individual, and I agree that yes, we do have to be taught morals. But I believe that morality is something inherent to each and every human being. And that is why I cannot be religious. You do not become a fulfilled human by accepting an invisible, intangible diety as your savior, you are complete because you are. Every person, deep down, is a sane, moral, being. Religion tries to crush the individual beauty, and replace it with its own laws and rules, and make it a sinner who needs to supplicate himself to some god or church. Punk, to me, at least, is about getting together with other people, and cultivating your humanity, without someone telling you how. Back to what I said before...punk can be a way for naturally rebellious teens to take that anger, and energy, and use it righteously, as opposed to society and organized religion, who wish to make you destructive so that they can force you to give up more of your own liberty. Punk, at its heart, is about creating a better (i.e. radicalized) society. I don't think this made a lot of sense, and I didn't articulate my ideas very well, and I kind of rambled, but I'm just trying to give a better argument than, "Oi oi oi, fuck you"
-feeeding5000

justahippie (December 6, 2006)

People don't make any sense to me. They base whether God exists or not on what people do and say. They say God doesn't exist because priests rape little boys. They say God doesn't exist because Christians killed millions during the crusades. You know, God didn't do any of that stuff. People did it. Yeah they do it in the name of God, but they use that as a front just like the government uses democracy as a reason to invade, addicts use excuses to keep doing drugs, or gamble, or whatever, etc. If you're gonna believe or not believe in God, don't base it on the actions of people, because we all know that people are, by nature, evil. Base it on what your heart says.

Andy

Anonymous (December 6, 2006)

If this was a Nazi band all you chodes wouldn't be defending them. The Abrahamic religions are a fascist virus that must be exterminated. Let's start with "hardcore."

Anonymous (December 6, 2006)

fuck the words gay, faggot, and myspace. thats for you mr nebraska. real punk , dude.

Anonymous (December 6, 2006)

To Alex P. Keaton below me, how is it not logical to be religious? If it is the life one chooses to live, and they see the logic in it (which many do), then it is valid. Also, if you say religion is illogical, then by the same measure you would have to say love is illogical, because sometimes love and other things happen for just "no reason".

And I know I'm just an anonymous poster. I don't normally do this, so didn't want to take the time to register.

tenwestchaser (December 6, 2006)

I've almost bought this on several occasions but I hesitate every time because I haven't heard anything off of it. I have the Funeral of God. It had really really awesome songs and then some really boring ones. How does this compare? and is the production really as bad as I've heard people say? The Funeral of God sounded huge.

Anonymous (December 6, 2006)

metalcore is alongside with emo/screamo the worst genre to come out of hardcore/punk.....

SloaneDaley (December 6, 2006)

For me musically Zoa sucks cack. The whole God thing well see if you are a person that thinks faith and belief have merit then it is reasonable to enjoy faith-based music and more power to you punk or not. If you prefer logic well there is no logical way anyone can defend religious teachings, logically it is safe to assume a God exists and it is even a defendable position to say that a good all powerful god exists in the christian/jewish/muslim tradition. However if you live a facts/logic based life then it isn't reasonable for you to enjoy music founded in religious doctrine (not saying this is I have listened to this particular album or read the lyrics). I'm of the later position.

GreenVandal (December 5, 2006)

Who cares about if they are Christian or not? Point is: they suck no matter what their religious affiliation is! This band should have stayed broken up after the 4th or 5th time. They are god-awful.

justahippie (December 5, 2006)

If I understand correctly, being "punk" means not giving a rats ass what people think and doing whatever the hell you wanna do, right? Along with all that "fuck the government" and "oi, oi, oi" crap. So wouldn't a band, whether they are Christian or not, that does what they want and makes the music they want no matter what people say be "punk"? If so, then Zao is way more "punk" than any kid talking shit on the internet (like all you guys), Anti-flag and whoever else you guys champion as "punk." And doesn't discussing "punk" on a website totally defeat the purpose of being "punk?" You guys are all just as dumb (well, more actually) than anyone that follows a religon or political belief. You believe in a set of values and ideas that specifically says "fuck off" to any set of values and ideas. That's what I never understood about "punks." If you're a "punk," then wouldn't you not give a fuck? Wouldn't you NOT waste your time posting on a website and arguing about something that is nothing more than a marketing term used to sell shit to all the kids that "don't fit in?" Wouldn't you just go put glue in your green mohawk or find a way to write a new song with the same three chords instead? You know, something productive?

I mean, really, c'mon. Zao has members that are Christians. They make the music they want to make. They don't listen to you idiots. And their music kicks a whole bunch of ass whether they're singing about God, Satan, flowers or drugs. And isn't it a little ignorant to dismiss a band just because of what they believe? It's just as dumb as hating Green Day for cashing in on their popularity or Anti-Flag because they hate the government. If you listened to the album and don't like it then that's fine. If you saw their live show (which rules) and hated it, fine. But to repeat the same old ignorant crap of hate and stupidity (Christians are dumb, Christian bands suck, punk and Jesus don't mix, fuck arabs, whatever else you idiots say) is a waste of time and really, really fucking dumb.

Andy

Anonymous (December 5, 2006)

Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, December 5, 2006 at 2:00 PM (EST)

mr. nebraska can fuck off. he knows nothing about what punk rock is and can be! live it, brother. your wrong. but your right about the band being shit. i bet you love jesus. may he grant you many more days on this shit planet, fucker.

I don't know anything about what punk rock is and can be? You're probably some 14 year old faggot who still thinks the crossbuster logo means "fuck jesus".

you hide behind an anonymous name on a message board, making sure to give your day to day critique on everything from selling out to what punk is to who's new album "isn't as good as the first". You're as see through as the next, and you mean just as much - nothing.

You don't even know who I am, yet you feel comfortable in saying what I believe and what I know. Well let me sum this one up for you, champ. Fuck off and kill yourself. Who cares what I believe, all I know is that punk is what you want it to be - it's not about conforming to an anti-religious thesis stated by some P.R. Icons, It's about the opposite. Fighting for what you believe in, and holding your opinions for good reason.

With that being said, I'm sure if you shoot yourself in the face tommorow, no one will give 2 shits. Here's to you, anonymous douchebag!

-Nebraska
myspace.com/joshuanebraska

feel free to contact me and tell me how "gay" I am for having a different opinion then you.

Anonymous (December 5, 2006)

The cover scares me far more than it should.

Anonymous (December 5, 2006)

"mr. nebraska can fuck off. he knows nothing about what punk rock is and can be! live it, brother. your wrong. but your right about the band being shit. i bet you love jesus. may he grant you many more days on this shit planet, fucker."

fag!

sickboi (December 5, 2006)

Do these guys release and album every year? Also, isn't this the band that has no original members?

Anonymous (December 5, 2006)

mr. nebraska can fuck off. he knows nothing about what punk rock is and can be! live it, brother. your wrong. but your right about the band being shit. i bet you love jesus. may he grant you many more days on this shit planet, fucker.

crazytoledo (December 5, 2006)

1. Got the album
2. Listened to one of the song a few times here and there
3. Couldn't stomach the rest of the songs
4. Got rid of the album.

Anonymous (December 5, 2006)

I see there is a bunch of people saying "Fuck christian metalcore" and "religion has no place in punk". I would like you to know that I think you are the biggest pieces of shit on planet earth. Who the fuck are you to tell people what to believe and what not to believe? And who are you to tell them that because they believe something means they can't be a part of the punk/hardcore scene. Last time I checked, punk was started because people had convictions and beliefs and wanted to stand there ground.

With that being said, I think this record is complete shit. I think the last 2 Zao albums have been garbage, and they definitely aren't the same band they were 10 years ago. But they have a right to put this record out, and if they wanna make more records saying how great god is, they have a right to do that too. You don't have to fucking listen to it, you don't have to like it, but you should respect the fact that they are allowed to have personal beliefs.

-Nebraska

Anonymous (December 5, 2006)

fuck this christian shit. its done better by the devil. fuck, he invented it. i am ashamed steve albini had anything to do with this shit band. fuck zao and all the christian sheep. baaaaa

skankin_in_the_pit (December 5, 2006)

Jesus' middle initial does not stand for hardcore.

Back-to-back R.A.M.B.O references. You bastards better keep this streak going.

Anonymous (December 5, 2006)

how many time does it need to be said, fuck christian metalcore. religion has no place in punk.

there no circle pits in heaven

Big_Guy (December 5, 2006)

great record

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