For those who thought Zao's return to glory in the form of last year's The Well-Intentioned Virus LP couldn't be followed up, I have some very good news for you: not only have they done that, but they've managed to rival their own previous outing.
Aggressive, punchy, and tight as a whip, the band's latest release Pyrrhic Victory is a 5-song EP that is begging for constant rotation through the upcoming winter. One of the best features of the EP is its ability to straddle familiar territory that has made Zao's sound so distinctive and very much their own (fret-tapping guitars and Daniel Weyandt's distinctive vocals) while also exploring territory that fleshes out their sound and overall approach. A tangible example of this is on closer "Feed It Pain", which does see the guys delivering the punchy goods of their hallmark thunderous approach, while also exploring more morose sonic landscapes, before diving back into the fray. Of course, from start to finish, this is a frantic release that wastes absolutely no time in getting to the point, eviscerating the listener and continuing the carnage the whole way through.
It has been a welcome sight to see Zao back on the touring and recording circuit, and most especially when they have been able to churn out material of such a high caliber. What is also welcome, is see the intensity the group still manages to achieve, pushing the bar as they always have for themselves, both musically and lyrically. Of course, lyrics have always been a huge part of Zao's package, but to hear the type of acidic loathing achieved on "The Host Has Bared Its Teeth", a seething meditation on the physical world turning from humanity's presence on earth, will bring a smile to any listener's face, whether already a fan or newly attuned.
Make no mistake, this is a bastard of an EP, and one that deserves your attention, pronto.
Pyrrhic Victory Track Listing:
01. Drifting Shadows In Walking Dreams
02. Gifts Of Flowers And Stone
03. Clawing, Clawing, Never Cutting Through
04. The Host Has Bared Its Teeth
05. Feed It Pain