Zao Are Losing Their Religion

Zao Are Losing Their Religion



"There isn’t 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 don’t understand what you’re trying to say. A lot of people are like, ‘Dan [Weyandt, vocalist] is a Christian, you’re a Christian band,’ or ‘You don’t talk about Jesus? Fuck you, you’re 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, they’ve 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 people’s 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. "We’re definitely not 100 percent Christian, but Dan is, so when Dan sings there’s going to be a hint of religion, but that’s not the end all be all of what Zao is. If people have that religious background and they find that in the lyrics, we’re not against that, but I want people to realise that that’s not what we intend for everything. Some songs are just about what they’re about.”