Dan Weyandt, the vocalist on ZAO’s last six recordings, has officially returned to the band after a brief separation. The enigmatic vocalist rejoined his mates in the cryptic (and often volatile) metalcore giant shortly before the writing process began for their next studio album, which will be recorded in March at Trax East in New Jersey and delivered via Ferret Music later in the year.
“I’m incredibly psyched to be playing with my brothers in ZAO again,” Weyandt said. “It’s a return to my family, but at the same time, it’s totally different in an incredible way.”
“I’m so ecstatic about having Dan back,” said guitarist Scott Mellinger, whose unique songwriting chemistry with Weyandt began with 1998’s Liberate Te Ex Inferis. “He is, in the minds of many fans and in the hearts of myself and [guitarist] Russ [Cogdell], the true voice, face and lyrical power behind the band. It was his presence that redefined what ZAO means back in 1997 and it continues to be Dan who kids, and more importantly, the band, really want to hear fronting us.”
Weyandt brings with him drummer Steven Peck, former bandmate of his and Russ’ in the group, SEASONS IN THE FIELD, before any of them joined ZAO. Bassist Sean Koshik has also joined.
“For the first time in this band’s history, we all live in the same town, we are rehearsing consistently, and we are dedicated to pursuing our creative vision with ZAO like never before,” Mellinger said.
And while the band’s core spiritual values remain in place, their unique interpretation of them now has a much broader range within to grow. Scott, Dan and Russ have never been interested in preaching, and their palette is much wider than some might have thought. “I’m very excited about the freedom I have, artistically, away from the restraints of the business side of the Christian music industry,” Weyandt said.
New home, Ferret Music, is backing the band as they make a bid to prove to their fans that ZAO lives, ZAO breathes and at last, is here to stay. The relationships between Scott, Russ and Dan are just too strong, and as always, they persevere.
“We know that with tour cancellations and line-up problems, we have let our fans down in the past,” Mellinger acknowledged. “But we are all completely excited to have this re-energized and at last healthy opportunity, together with Ferret Records behind us, to make the name ZAO worthy of the devotion its fans have placed upon it. And we are fighting to employ the kind of work ethic they deserve.”
Expect ZAO’s still as-yet-untitled new effort later this year.