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The Best of Zao (1997-2003)
Label: Solidstate Records
Time: 17 tracks/60:14 min.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Zao has done it again! One of very few bands who could possibly be worthy of the title, "the band that wouldn't die"; Zao is legendary by virtue of survival alone. Having had ten members over the years (eleven; counting their new vocalist,) and still managing to make the most unique music in the hard rock scene is a testament in itself. Combined with their touring schedule and amazing live act, Legendary is an aptly named disc if ever there was one.
On the heels of a re-released All Else Failed comes Zao's long-awaited Best of album; containing songs from every album they've ever put out. Instead of lyrics, fans are given a biography of Zao written by none other than Ryan Clark. (Vocalist for Focal Point, Training for Utopia, and Demonhunter.) In particular there are three previously unreleased demo tracks, in addition to "Walk on by, walk on me" from their split ep with Training for Utopia; one of which ("The Icarus Complex,") was formerly only found on This is Solidstate (vol.3). This collection of Zao's best and hardest to find tracks is musical gold for fans old and new.
But this is not the last we will hear of the band that wouldn't die. Newly signed on Ferret Records, their next album Burn Beautiful is due out March of this year. Five studio albums, a split ep, and a re-release; and it's still just the beginning. As always, Zao is continuing to be a driving force in heavy music.
Ryan Little 1/17/2004