Music » Critics' Picks

Zao

7 p.m. Monday, September 11. Creepy Crawl (3524 Washington Boulevard).

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The history of Zao is as complex as the band's math-minded riffs, so we'll try to break it down for you. Originally together from 1993 to 1997, the outwardly Christian act tempered guttural vocals with black-metal riffs and hardcore breakdowns to create a metalcore hybrid that countless bands would be ripping off a decade later. While the band's latest disc, The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here, doesn't feature any original members (drummer/mastermind Jesse Smith left in 2004 to focus on Gods, who no longer exist), it continues Zao's tradition of personal takes on the theological — all set to music so brutal it sounds like it was recorded in the depths of Hades. Trust us, your pastor has never heard anything like this.

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