ZAO - Pyrrhic Victory - (8.5/10)
Published on December 20, 2017
Genre:Metalcore / Melodic Death
A little less than a year ago, the long-standing metalcore act Zao released what was their 11th full-length, The Well-Intentioned Virus. While the album was a good return for the band after a hiatus, the band was working off some rust, and had a few kinks to work out. Now, the band is back with an EP, entitled Pyrrhic Victory, acting as a solid continuation of the full-length.
With this EP, the band has continued the sound and structure largely in place on the full-length. That being said though, the tracks actually feel more solid, and to use the word again, structured in their approach. The band sort of reigned in the chaos a bit from the full-length to focus on what made those songs so impactful and stuck to that formula. The vocals are intense as always, and the guitar work had some more memorable riffs and some excellent solos. The drums also feel more contained, but are none-the-less an impressive and enjoyable part of the sound of this EP. The inclusion of the clean vocals also help break up the tracks slightly, and really make the third track an absolute standout. From the interplay on vocals to the aforementioned guitar work, the halfway point of this quick release is worth the price of admission alone.
Zao have had a tumultuous career to say the least with various line-up changes, a hiatus or two, and not being considered “real” metal due to their Christian faith or even metalcore sound. However, Zao have been providing quality material for nearly 25 years, and this EP shows that the hiatus the band took for about seven years paid off incredibly well. Improving upon the full-length, Pyrrhic Victory makes a case that this group is at the top of their game now, and the future looks very bright.