Zao Awake?

Zao Awake?
Anyone aware of Zao knows their history as a Christian metalcore band, a founding part of the genre and as an influence on more popular purveyors like As I Lay Dying, Underoath and Norma Jean. Awake? has a bit of a questionable release scheme to it: it's physical release is limited to 8,000 copies and is rumoured to have alternative cover versions. Thanks to the production work of guitarist Scott Mellinger, Daniel Castleman and AILD's Tim Lambesis, Awake? sounds devastatingly heavy and epic yet retains all the proficiency one would hope for from Zao. It also has a re-recording of "Romance Of The Southern Spirit," which finally does the song audio justice. Regardless, Awake? is typical Zao in most of its construction: crass and grimy screaming arrangements contrasted with harmonic vocals, thunderous-sounding weight, hardcore rhythms that aren't all breakdowns but offer more head banging than spin kicking and bouts of metal-inspired guitar work. For their tenth album, Awake? is a pulverising release with relentless playback payoff. (Ferret)