Zao – 9 Albums That Inspired ‘The Well-Intentioned Virus’


The Well-Intentioned Virus is out 9th December.

Zao is a borderline mythical beast that cannot be killed. After numerous lineup changes, five distinct band “era’s” spanning over 23 years, 4 EPs and 10 LPs, they have returned in what could arguably be their greatest form yet to birth unto this world a terrifying and haunting new work, The Well-Intentioned Virus.

A furious mix of metalcore and hardcore-punk littered with mathy-elements and at times teetering on death metal, the first two singles give us a taste of what to expect when the album drops. Daniel (Vocals), Scott (Guitar), and Jeff (Drums) recently took the time to lay out 9 albums that helped influence the creation of The Well-Intentioned Virus.

(Keep an eye out on Overblown for a complete Track by Track from Zao of The Well-Intentioned Virus that will be posted on the album’s release day.)

1. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Boatman’s Call

Nick Cave is my favorite lyricist by far. His use of imagery is unparalleled. I always go back to this record for inspiration when I write. – DAN

2. Converge – Axe to Fall

This record is everything I love about the scene we’re in, I feel these guys just let the music happen without boundaries, I love the experimentation. Converge were willing to explore and their self imposed freedom was extremely inspiring. – SCOTT

3. Dillinger Escape Plan – One of Us Is The Killer

My hands down favorite of theirs and I was listening to it a lot when we were working on stuff. Little known fact: I actually went through an intense audition process of a couple months with these guys back in 2008 in the same hunt with Billy Rymer. The “Pennie Blast” as I call it, constant kick and snare with china accents following guitar rhythms or vocal phrasing, has stuck with me and pops up a few times on the album. I had to learn the damn technique, why not use it – JEFF

4. Faith No More – Sol Invictus

This came out right when we were REALLY getting into the nitty-gritty of the record and aside from being really inspired by seeing a band come back from a hiatus and having something NEW to say without it actually sounding like a re-tread of past success, I just loved the SOUND of it. Especially the drums, when we were dialing in my snare sound on the new record, I always used this one as a reference point. – JEFF

5. Gojira – From Mars to Sirius

I love this band, I listened to this and L’Enfant Sauvage pretty extensively, I love their mixture of Morbid Angel like riffs in a little more accessible format. I’ve always had death metal in my writing style and these guys nail it in the best way. – SCOTT

6. Iron Monkey – Iron Monkey

The first time I heard Iron Monkey I was seriously blown away, especially by the vocals. Johnny Morrow’s vocal style was insane and I wanted to sound like him. His style the foundation on how I would approach vocals from the very beginning. – DAN

7. Mogwai – Mr. Beast

The mood that this record sets is incredible, I listen to a lot of instrumental post rock, I love the texture and space on this record and really wanted to add that element to our sound. – SCOTT

8. Slayer – Seasons in the Abyss

In my opinion “Seasons” is Slayer’s best record (with South of Heaven in a close 2nd). I love how Tom Araya’s vocals patterns/phrasings fit into the songs. There is a lot to learn from that record from a vocal standpoint. – DAN

9. Swans – The Seer

Every Swans record is great, and they are all vastly different, and that always has been a method by which we worked. Do something different than before, even if it’s minor. At times the guitars and the wash almost drowns the drums out and it makes the music jump out at you in a very different way than a “metal” record normally would. Key reference point for me in terms of setting atmosphere on some of the mixing decisions that I personally made – JEFF

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If you like this Zao list, you might enjoy our interview with Neurosis.

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