ZAO- The Funeral of God

It's difficult to know what audience Zao are going for with this, their ninth album.

The passing of time and band members has made 'The Funeral of God' far less abrasive than previous efforts and in fact weaker than anything currently on offer from same-label macabra obsessives Bleeding Through or riff brethren Throwdown.

The production is thick and fierce but lighter moments are mostly ugly interruptions rather than genuine flashes of a desire to change or brilliance and newly appointed clean vocals feel uncomforatbel and tacked on.

There are a few standout moments, the twisting static and screams of opener 'Breath of the the Black Muse' and the Pantera-like groove to 'Praise the War Machine' but the tempo, high though it is, remains almost constant, leading to deja vu and eventually boredom.

Back to the drawing board then.

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