So, Zao, here we are. We’ve got history, you and me. You were the first ‘hardcore’ band I ever saw… way back in 2000. I’ve owned all of your albums in one form or another. I’ve even ignored your constant drama and million line-up changes. And now it seems it may be time to separate. We’re breaking up. It’s not you, it’s me.
The problem is that since 2000, I’ve changed and grown in way too many ways to count… and well you, Zao, you’ve just become… redundant.
“Awake?” marks album number 9 for Zao, and it’s just business as usual. Nothing new to see here, and I guess Zao is okay with that. They announced last year that they would mainly be a studio band from here on out. Maybe that’s not such a good idea. It could just be time to hang up the hat, and call it a day.
We start off with “1,000,000 Outstretch Arms of Nothing” an extremely standard Zao track… it even has the trademark Zao spoken passage which turned out to be completely uninspiring. “Entropica” has the cliche sung choruses, but at least these guys finally got it right(for a track). On their recent albums the singing has sounded so bland. Well, this time it’s much better done. The choruses are just so predictable, it hurts. Same problems in “The Eyes Behind the Throne”… I wanted to ask “WHY?!” These guys were once the innovators of the metalcore movement! But now they’ve basically become one of their million imitators.
As the album progresses it’s just rinse, lather, repeat… over and over. Until “What Will You Find,” which is a standout song, and even has a pretty solid breakdown and some cool leads here and there. Just an amazing change of pace. Thank God for the little things. Of course, next up the title track, “Awake?” goes right back to the same generic song formula. Rinse, lather, repeat once more. “Reveal” is quite a solid track, but it’s just too little, too late.
Man! It’s so disappointing; I was really hoping to listen to this album and just give it an amazing review. What a shame. There’s always next time. Or the time after that. It seems like no matter how many members they lose(no original members left) or fights they get in, these guys just don’t know when to quit.