The band's name comes from the Greek word (ζάω), which means "alive" or "to have life".
Former drummer Jesse Smith slowly changed the band's vision.
Because only half the band's members identified themselves as Christians, Zao no longer considered itself a Christian band but rather a group of open-minded artists.
Lyrics in future productions may or may not include Christian messages, but Zao has stated they would have loved to return to the Christian Cornerstone Festival when it was still active.
The founding members of Zao, were vocalist Eric Reeder, guitarist Roy Goudy, bassist Mic Cox, and drummer Jesse Smith.
Jonas left the band after recording two albums and is now a youth pastor at New Life Church in West Virginia; original bassist Mic Cox left the band, and Kevin Moran took his place.
Ron Gray also joined the band as a second guitarist after the recording of The Splinter Shards the Birth of Separation.
All of the band members, except for drummer Jesse Smith, quit Zao following the 1997 Cornerstone festival and a couple of shows they played on the way back home.
is a metalcore band from Parkersburg, West Virginia.
Founded in March 1993, Zao has hosted several musicians and endured numerous roster changes to the point where no original members remain.
Former drummer Jesse Smith, singer Daniel Weyandt, and guitarists Scott Mellinger & Russ Cogdell are seen by most fans as the "core" of Zao.
Christianity has been a key influence in the band's work; because the founding members claimed to have a strong relationship with God, they were considered a devoted Christian band, which changed as time passed.