The Pitch: It's been 7 years since Zao released their last album, Awake?. Finally breaking the hiatus, the legendary West Virginia mathcore/hardcore/metalcore band with possibly their most dynamic record yet..
What I Like: Zao's sound somewhat defies genre labels. You could call it metalcore, but with that label having changed so much over the years I'm not sure it applies anymore. Instead, they have carved a similar niche as another standout group this year, Barishi. If you liked Blood From The Lion's Mouth, I could see you liking this as well. I think The Well-Intentioned Virus has it's own unique touches, but the comparison is the closest you're like to find. There are some really great tracks with plenty of variation both within and between. Bonus points for the clean singing moments conjuring nostalgia for later career Poison The Well. I had to check to make sure my man Jeffrey Moreira hadn't done a guest spot on "Apocalypse." Next reunion, please.
What I Don't Like: There are a few tracks, riffs, and transitions that fall a little flat. For instance, the title track starts off with a really great hook and then shifts into this odd chord progression that in my opinion screeches the entire song to a halt. That having been said, nothing is terrible. This album is like a burger: The greasy, dripping, delicious meat is in the middle. The pretzel bun is plenty delicious, but I came here for the cow.
The Verdict: The Well-Intentioned Virus is a fantastic example of what an album should sound like after a long hiatus. Show the fans that you had a real reason for coming back. There are some moments that could have used a bit more polish, but I can look past them given the grade-A Kobe beef held within.
Flight's Fav's: "Apocalypse," "Xenophobe," "Haunting Pools," to name just 3