Zeal & Ardor Deepens Blues
with Grinding Metal Devil Is Fine
Often the word contemporary is used when in reality it is a variation on a theme. Zeal & Ardor, the concept of Manuel Gagneux is cutting edge contemporary. The short tracks that grind and disturb and at the time the electronic version of the slaves anguished field holler and clapping making compelling listening. Manuel describes the music as Metal Blues. It is so much more. Keeping the power of the lyrics to unfold a story, snap-shot into a harsh world told as if we are enveloped within a spiritual outpouring of a chain gang; with a backdrop of electronica and the grind of metal.
This debut album definitely challenges many conceptions of what is the blues but at the heart of every track is the origins of the blues as Come On Down the fourth track personifies. It could be an early recording over-dubbed with modern instrumentation as the rock beats take over and a passion is raised.
The concept behind the album is imposed faith pulling together Norwegian and American slaves shared experiences of having Christianity imposed on them. The album is a clarion call for change, freedom of thought and belief that fits in the gap between ambient, blues and metal. Music that is modern and at the same moment harnessing the traditions of songs that have been chanted for aeons to remember shared history the terrible and the enlightening. On Children’s Summon the beat is fast, we could be in a club and then the vocals have the tonal power of a Gregorian Chant.
At times the jumping from melodic piano or xylophone and back to a satanic chant does not flow it feels as if it is rushed. That said this is an album breaking new ground exploring the mix of music with a freedom and without the stereotyping boundaries that the market places on modern music.
Without the foresight of mixing the styles and having the musical intent to bring a groundbreaking project to a recorded album. New music would never evolve. This is music that certainly gains attention for being brave and different. We are back with the format that works best on Blood In The River with a chain gang chant as it collides with metal in an angry chant against the holy. Closing the album with the third part of Sacrilegium III we have ambient sound for the last two and a half minutes of a short album that experiments and makes you sit up and listen. Is this how Robert Johnson would have sung the blues if he had access to the range of technologies we have today to make music? The anger, pain and hurt of imposition and slavery is the DNA of Devil Is Fine.
Zeal & Ardor – Devil Is Fine – MVKA
Release Date 24th Feb
SEVEN doodle paws out of TEN ….
- Devil is Fine
- In Ashes
- Sacrilegium I
- Come On Down
- Children’s Summon
- Sacrilegium II
- Blood In the River
- What Is A Killer Like You Gonna Do Here
- Sacrilegium III