Zao: 'A Well-Intentioned Virus'

Children of the Solid State-growing years rejoice: metal veterans Zao have returned with their 11th (11th!) studio album 'A Well-Intentioned Virus'.

The Parkersburg, West Virginia band, who formed in 1993, and has had a revolving roster of lineup changes and reunions since, have always had a knack for pushing at boundaries, both musical and lyrical. Often finding themselves at the centre of the 'Christian band' debate, Zao have never been afraid to dive into the underbelly of faith and politics, exploring a range of themes from the West Memphis Three to the apocalyptic musings of the Dante's Inferno-inspired 'Liberate Te Ex Inferis'.

With so many lineup changes their history as a band has been chronicled into 5 distinct eras, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the band live on the verge of combustion, but their recent offering is one of their strongest.

In a recent glowing review, NPR remarks, "This is peak Zao, back with its most feral and fully realized offering in more than a decade. Along with guitarist Russ Cogdell and bassist Martin Lunn, the core writing trio of vocalist Daniel Weyandt, guitarist Scott Mellinger and drummer Jeff Gretz have locked into Zao's essential being: Be heavy and hooky as hell, with raw emotion at the fore. But here, they also actualize the weirdness that's always lurked behind those brick-wall riffs. The latter years of Dillinger Escape Plan come to mind, as well as Gojira, but only in the way both bands — though capable of absolute destruction — use melody as a feature rather than an afterthought."

Give it a spin below.