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The Tao of Zao 

Wednesday, Jan 26 2005
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Like its myriad alphabetical predecessors in the metal/hardcore dictionary, Zao (which plays Slim's on Thursday, Jan. 27) combines brickshit-heavy breakdowns, scalpel-sharp riffs, and wounded-griffin wails. Its most recent release pairs an ominous title, The Funeral of God, with austere religious-themed album art -- a stern statue clutching a cracked cross -- a design combination that has worked well for satanic shredders. However, all misleading signs aside, Zao loves the Lord, not that you might guess that from its lyrics, which raises an odd concern: With today's holy headbangers injecting gruesome violence into their verses, it's difficult to discern inverted-cross brandishers from the divinely inspired right-side-up brigade. Disagree? Then attempt our sacri-licious quiz. Try to separate the Strypers from the Slayers using the following lyrics; answers appear in the key at the bottom.

1) "Trembling prophet/ Anointed wrath of God incarnate/ Cutting and tearing dissection/ Strangled and hanging before me/ Weeping and screaming become you"

2) "I taste blood in the air/ Dissected from heaven/ Cut and stripped of her skin"

3) "Impaled crucifixion/ Compassion forgot/ Eternal damnation/ Once upon a cross"

4) "I'll take your soul and you'll be like me/ In emptiness, free/ Just bow to me faithfully/ Bow to me splendidly"

5) "Thrusting needles in eyes/ While your empty sockets swarm with maggots inside"

6) "Breathing murder upon the early church/ Destruction the new faith to hurt/ Fueled by zeal, a twisted perception/ Creating disorder a morbid obsession"

7) "Silent scream/ Bury the unwanted child/ Beaten and torn/ Sacrifice the unborn"

8) "He'll smear the offal from your feasts on your face/ Your sacred places will be filled with human waste/ Your desolation, so cruel and complete/ The flesh of your children you'll hoard and eat"

9) "Paralyzing brilliant light/ Trying to run/ Want to scream but cannot speak/ I cannot look at God's face"

10) "Crushed skull/ Dismembered head/ Snapped spine/ Severed torso/ Shattered ribs/ Punctured throat/ Squashed spleen/ Stabbed eyeballs/ Ripped-out intestines"

11) "Jesus came once to save you/ Turn away and he's gonna slay you/ Your life is in danger -- holy danger!"

12) "You go to church/ You kiss the cross/ You will be saved at any cost/ Jesus saves/ No need to pray/ The gates of pearl have turned to gold"


Key:

The God Squad: 1, 2 (Zao); 5, 6 (Living Sacrifice); 8 (Frost Like Ashes); 10 (Vomitorial Corpulence); and 11 (Tourniquet).

The Devil's Brood: 3 (Deicide); 4 (Morbid Angel); and 7, 9, and 12 (Slayer).

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Andrew Miller

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  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

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    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
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    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
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    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

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