On their seventh full-length release, metalcore maniacs ZAO changed their sound up a bit and created what is known as their most accessible album of their career. As always a few band member changes have occurred. Shawn Koschik replaced Brett Detar on bass and Stephen Peck replaced founding member Jesse Smith on drums. While their earlier albums were rooted in punk and extreme metalcore, on FUNERAL OF GOD they branch their sound out into more of a Killswitch Engage or Shadows Fall territory but if you ask me i think they sound a lot like what Lamb Of God would sound like if they injected a heap of metalcore into their groove thrash sound. Dan Weyandt’s vocals have a rather Randy Blythe shrieky shouting style and also sounds a little black metal at times. There is also some thrash riffs and alternative type additions as well making FUNERAL OF GOD possibly their most diverse sounding release with emphasis on melodic developments.
As far as the lyrics go this is actually a concept album which entertains the silly notion of God giving up on humanity out of disgust and leaving humans to their own fate without intervening his diving wisdom and saving powers. Well as the story goes humanity falls from grace and perpetuates war, death and destruction and devolves to the point that once again all of humanity comes to the conclusion that they need God’s return. Of course, this is extreme metal so lyrics are impossible to decipher from listening alone but ZAO continue to use their Christian beliefs as inspiration for lyrical content. Personally i couldn’t care less about any such pontification but find the music fairly interesting without being ridiculously original. ZAO offers a nice mix of their punk and metalcore past with enough of the new zingy groove, thrash and alternative metal ingredients including clean vocal segments to keep the album from being generic, however there are many tracks that do sound a little samey so i’m not blown away either.