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Zao | The Lesser Lights of Heaven | review | hardcore | Lollipop
The Lesser Lights of Heaven (Ferret)
by Mike Delano
Not to be outdone by the recent trend of bands offering 90 or 120 minute documentaries, Greenburg, PA's Zao finds it necessary to inflict three and a half hours (plus deleted footage!) worth of interviews to ensure the fans understand the motivations behind every miniscule decision they've made over the past 10 years.
To be fair, such overkill seems to be the vision of Ryan Downey, former MTV producer and the man behind the recent DVD from fellow hardcore troopers Bleeding Through. There's no questioning his professionalism: It takes some real journalistic grit to document the myriad ups and downs of Zao's music and to track down the pile of ex-members who are the result of numerous line-up changes. And some interesting live footage from the band's overtly Lord-lovin' formative years is mixed in with the interviews, which occasionally rise above the mundane "here's what we did next" history lesson to reveal some fascinating looks into the band's inner workings.
But somebody, please, hit the edit button. The story of Zao could've been told just as convincingly in less than half the time. The second DVD of live footage is hit or miss. The 50-minute "Live at Glasshouse" is expertly shot and sounds great, while the 30-minute "Live at Soma" looks and sounds like crap. The "Live Archive" is a treasure chest for fans, with a dozen concert clips spread out over the last decade.