THE FEAR IS WHAT KEEPS US HERE
Despite the fact that you need a scorecard to keep track of this band's ever-changing lineup, Zao just finds new band members and continues to crush all in its path. Their latest excruciatingly heavy excursion comes in the form of the 11-track THE FEAR IS WHAT KEEPS US HERE, a Steve Albini produced slab of the band's trademark nasty, nebulous, and noisy hardcore. Tracks like the merciless "Pudgy Young Blonds With Lobotomy Eyes" sound like a heated war pitting Melvins vs. High on Fire, while "Killing Time 'Til It's Time To Die" throws out a Discharge-like punk vibe with thunderous metalcore rhythms and a tasty guitar solo that flows into a pummeling breakdown. Flavored with the intense energy of metal warriors gone punk rock anarchists, songs like "Kingdom of Thieves" and "Cancer Eater" (which contains one of the most pristine guitar intros this side of Randy Rhoads) maintain the band's old school roots with an unrefined element that empowers THE FEAR IS WHAT KEEPS US HERE as a supreme lesson in how to keep things unwaveringly raw and punishingly heavy.