Talkin ‘Bout Flex: Zao

Since Issue #75, Decibel has brought you left-of-center b-sides, rarities, live recordings and new songs from top-tier metal bands via the outstanding Flexi Series.  Want to hear the stories behind these recordings?  Read on.

Metallic hardcore phenoms Zao returned to full-length glory recently with their spirited, multi-textured album The Well-Intentioned Virus.  To celebrate, we brought you “Drifting Shadows in Walking Dreams,” a bonus cut from the Virus sessions that had to be cut from the album proper.  The flexi shipped with our January 2017 issue (#147, Metallica cover) and can be heard (with triumphant invisible fruits aloft) on our Soundcloud page.  We asked drummer Jeff Gretz about how this flexi came about, and he dutifully answered.

When/How were you approached to contribute to the Flexi Series?

Our partner for our release, Danny at Holy Mountain Printing, had been the sponsor for them for the year. We casually mentioned that Decibel was going to give the record some coverage and Danny said, “Oh, it’s a shame you don’t have a track to give them for the flexi.”  As it turned out, we DID have one. 

How did you choose to contribute “Drifting Shadows in Walking Dreams” to the Decibel Flexi Series?

It was recorded for our album, but once we looked at the track list, it was determined that [the album] was just a LITTLE too long. That one was always problematic to slip into the track list in a way we were completely happy with, so even though it was done and mixed, we decided to set it aside for the time being. 

When and where did you record the song?  How much time and work did it take?  

We recorded it at Treelady Studios just outside of Pittsburgh, PA, which is where the rest of our album The Well-Intentioned Virus was done.  It was part of the same sessions so it’s hard to really say how long it took in and of itself.  Since the entire recording process lasted about 30 months from start to finish and we finished 12 songs, I guess we’ll just say it took 2.5 months.

Your Flexi is blue with silver lettering.  Any thoughts about the color choice?

It’s nice. Everything about our album was very “black and white” themed. So it was nice to see a splash of color thrown in there. 

Have you listened to other songs in the Flexi Series?  What is your favorite Flexi so far?

I try to catch as many as I can. I think my favorite was Godflesh’s cover of Slaughter’s “Fuck Of Death.”  I mean, come on, it’s Godflesh! Covering Slaughter’s “Fuck of Death!”  You can’t go wrong with that.

Check out all the Decibel flexis here.