The title of an album released in July 2004 by the metal band Zao. The title is in fact quite a curious one, not least because of the fact that Zao is a quasi-Christian band, having released a number of albums with a centrally evangelical tone to their tracks. Having primarily started out as a hardcore act in 1995, it apparently took their fans some getting used to when these guys stood on stage mixing heavy guitar riffs with relentlessly screaming vocals to do nothing less than praise the God they worshipped.

Which brings us back to the name of their latest release. Well, the reason for that is that this is very much a conceptual piece, and arguably their heaviest work to date. What fundamentally happens within the envisaged universe of the album is that God is dead. And we're not talking a victorious proof of atheism here or even a reference of Nietzsche's philosophy. God has literally died. It seems that the Almighty feels mankind has rejected him so completely that He has finally decided to give the human race what they have proclaimed and desired all this time... and committed suicide. From that chillingly apocalyptic concept which is laid out at the beginning, the rest of the album deals with what happens to the world as we know it in the aftermath of this. And believe me, it ain't pretty.

True to their beliefs, the members of Zao picture a grim reality in which the universe is falling apart, chaos reigns on earth, and mankind is left in despair. Hardly surprising, since the very Being holding it all together is with us no more. Lead vocalist Dan Weyandt screams with coarse, growling emotion all the way through, reflecting in the pounding anger of his voice all the pain and anguish felt through the lyrics themselves. All in all, this is a triumph for the band, who have suffered numerous line-up changes through the years and were long-rumoured to be breaking up after the release of their greatest hits album, Legendary, in 2003. They are back, however, on mainstream record label Ferret, and with a truly devastating masterpiece that captures the essence of contemporary hardcore metal (more commonly known as metalcore) that Zao pioneered with their 1998 classic Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest. Be warned, this is not for the faint-hearted. Weyandt's vocals and the music itself border closely on death metal, and the terrifying sense of hopelessness which permeates every track may very well have you believing that the end is truly here.

The track listing is as follows:

1. Breath Of The Black Muse
2. The Rising End (The First Prophecy)
3. The Last Revelation (The Last Prophecy)
4. The Last Song From Zion
5. Live...From The Funeral Of God
6. The Lesser Lights Of Heaven
7. In Times Gone Past
8. Praise The War Machine
9. Truly, Truly, This Is The End
10. I Lay Sleepless In My Grave
11. Psalm Of The City Of The Dead

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