The Tao of Zao

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"


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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