The forthcoming album ‘Devil Is Fine’ – set for release February 24, 2017 – thematically revolves around more typical black metal fare – rituals, human sacrifice, fire, and blood. Zeal & Ardor take the blaspheme up a notch by delivering the lyrics in the fashion of slave spirituals sung by chain gangs. Black metal from the cotton fields.
Zeal & Ardor is the one-man brainchild of Swiss-American musician Manuel Gagneux. His approach draws on an alternate history and stems from two thoughts: Christianity was imposed upon American slaves (just as it was imposed in Norway) and black metal in the ‘90s grew as a rebellion to monotheism. What would have happened if American slaves had rebelled in the same way? Or put bluntly: what would satanic spirituals sound like?
The double first single, which includes album title track ‘Devil Is Fine’ and ‘Children’s Summon’, is set for release in Europe on November 11. Pre-orders for the ‘Devil Is Fine’ album, described by Noisey as “one of the year’s most intriguing”, launch the same day.
Having listened to the single’s first side Devil Is Fine, not once, twice or three times it has left me a mixture of excited, intrigued and confused. This is not Blues simply revisited and rewritten it has been re-imagined as to what the voices of slaves would sound like today. The sound is a mash-up as the essence of blues meets metal and gospel colliding with electronica. The beat is pagan, the chains clang with painful memories and the music is totally dark and modern as the holler of the chain gang rings loud and clear. The pain is deep with the vocals full of open pain and anguish. This is a loud message that will gain attention across the genres of music. The genre is mixed and has been garnering attention online since April 2016 belongs to Zeal & Ardor.
Gagneux comments, “Devil Is Fine was not created thinking that this many would ever hear it. There is no stylistic compromise or pandering on it. Only things I personally like.”
Zeal & Ardor intend to bring the live experience to Europe in Spring 2017. When asked earlier this year by toiletovhell about performing live, Gagneux commented, “I’d really like it to be somewhere between a concert and a seriously f*cked up play. Not just something people haven’t heard before, but something people have never seen before, leaving them frightened, weak, and loving it. That is the thing I’m currently striving for.” The following dates are now on sale: