Influential metalcore lifers Zao will follow 2016's The Well-Intentioned Virus with their 12th album, The Crimson Corridor, on April 9 via Holy Mountain Printing. They've just released the first single, "Croatoan," which is as crushingly heavy as they've ever been, and a little atmospheric and psychedelic too. It's a promising first taste, as you can hear for yourself below.

The band gave some background on the song to Decibel:

In 1587 a group of 115 English colonists arrived at Roanoke Island off the coast of what is now North Carolina. The group was led by their governor John White who later sailed back to England to gather more supplies. White and his ship were subsequently caught up in a war with Spain for three years. Upon finally returning to the colonies, White discovered that every single person from the initial journey, including his wife and children, were gone without a trace. The only clue left behind was a wooden post with a single word carved into it: “Croatoan”. The whereabouts of the settlers are unsolved to this day.

Vocalist Dan Weyandt added, "Based off its origin and without clear definition, the word ‘Croatoan’ embodies an unsettling feeling of helplessness to me. This song is a vehicle for that feeling and relates it back to dissociation and being lost in strange dimensions and dreams." Drummer Jeff Gretz (who's also currently in From Autumn To Ashes) said that the song "shaped the world that the rest of the record lived in: ethereal dread," and guitarist/vocalist Scott Mellinger said, "I wanted to write a super-simple, heavy, plodding part. The first riff sounds like something is crawling towards you and you can’t get away."

Listen to the new song below. Pre-orders launch Friday (3/5) via Bandcamp and Holy Mountain Printing.

Last year, Zao released the compilation Preface: Early Recordings 1995​-​1996, documenting their material with vocalists Eric Reeder and Shawn Jonas. You can stream that below too.

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