Published Jan 01, 2006
"There isnt a word that describes how tired I am of it, laughs Zao guitarist/vocalist Scott Mellinger about the constant, endless inquires about their religious beliefs. "The religious questions suck and we get it all the time, but the worst part is when people dont understand what youre trying to say. A lot of people are like, Dan [Weyandt, vocalist] is a Christian, youre a Christian band, or You dont talk about Jesus? Fuck you, youre not Christian! I started playing music because I love music.
Over the course of nearly a decade, Zao have evolved from straight-ahead metallic hardcore Christian warriors to one of the premier aggressive units in the underground. In the process, theyve become one of the few names that can be mentioned with genre stalwarts like Converge, exemplified by The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here. Along the way, they have endured a litany of line-up changes, numerous break-ups and a musical evolution that has seen them fuse their climactic, abrasive metallic hardcore with elements of black metal, punk, rock and all things noisy in-between. Yet the struggle to move peoples attention from their past and onto the music continues to be a challenge.
"Right at the beginning, when Zao took the Christian stance, they did it to the full extent and were pegged Christian hardcore. But when I joined two or three records later and Dan joined, we tried to become a more personal band, comments Mellinger. "Were definitely not 100 percent Christian, but Dan is, so when Dan sings theres going to be a hint of religion, but thats not the end all be all of what Zao is. If people have that religious background and they find that in the lyrics, were not against that, but I want people to realise that thats not what we intend for everything. Some songs are just about what theyre about.