ZAO – Legendary

Without a doubt, ZAO are one of the most respected bands in underground extreme music. Few (Christian) bands have been able to crossover to a wider, nonsecular underground audience as they have done. Although it would be shortsighted to simply classify ZAO as a “metalcore” band, they did help create and give inspiration to a legion of metalcore bands that are banging away today. With the band leaving long time home, Solid State Records, Legendary serves as a snapshot of this landmark era for the band. This compilation not only includes a selection of classics but also three previously unreleased demo tracks that were recorded with the short lived relationship with vocalist, Corey Darst. Unlike most “best of” albums, the songs are arranged in achronological order. This may seem a bit odd at first but after a few listens, the song order makes more sense. Selections from all of ZAO’s albums are included with the exception of their debut, All Else Failed. Perhaps this decision was made to not impede on the sales of the rerecorded version that was released not too long ago. Anyways, the songs included here undoubtedly demonstrate ZAO’s greatness. Their penchant for writing catchy, solid songs that combine the diversity of metal, hardcore, and rock is clearly on display here. Most importantly, some of the band’s most soulful numbers are on here. It’s this aforementioned quality along with an unrestrained sense of creativity that really separates themselves from the pack. There is simply no need to dissect and analyze the material included on Legendary. This is high quality music. So before you go on about ranting and raving about the latest and greatest metalcore stars, go back and check out one of the godfathers of this whole thing. (Solid State Records)

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