Zao

The Crimson Corridor

Written by: PP on 20/07/2021 18:31:07

Caustic, harrowing, hypnotic melancholy. That's just one of the multitude of ways you can describe American metalcore legends Zao who have since taken their soundscape towards the freezingly cold, barren wastelands of Scandinavian metal bands like The Psyke Project. On the twelfth album "The Crimson Corridor", vocalist Dan Weyandt takes us a couple of decades back towards 1999's "Liberate Te Ex Inferis" in one of the most tormenting, viciously distressing vocal performances in recent memory, all the while the band incorporates elements of post-metal, sludge and much more into their expression.

Indeed, be prepared for unparalleled wrath as Weyandt growls and screams his way through the almost sixty minutes of deliberately dense, almost impenetrable murkiness brought by the instrumental department. It's a droning style that's contrasted by melancholic beauty, resulting in barrages upon barrages of soul-crushing riffs that are brilliantly contrasted through somber post-metal passages. As a result, the songs form a progressive, depth-laden atmosphere that's not easily absorbed on first listen, requiring lengthy active listening sessions before the record starts opening up.

But when it does, what you find underneath the brutal surface is a collection of songs that work best when listened through together in one long session. The contrasting somber melodies of "R.I.P.W." merge effortlessly to the devastating riffs of the title track, not to even mention the melancholic clean vocal performance by guitarist Scott Mellinger on "Nothing's Form" in comparison to the ravaging "Creator/Destroyer" immediately after.

"The Crimson Corridor" is Zao's way of torching the tunnel for their American counterparts, displaying the wide variety of styles you can explore on the same record without it losing coherency. The result is a massively heavy, progressive beast of a record that's convincingly making waves in the alternative music media this year. Expect to see Zao near the top of many year-end lists, but then again, they're no strangers to that on previous records, either.

8

Download: Croatoan, Ship Of Theseus, Creator/Destroyer
For the fans of: The Psyke Project, (old) As I Lay Dying, Remembering Never
Listen: Facebook

Release date 09.04.2021
Observed/Observer Recordings

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