Imagine this: Tarantino’s Django sacrifices a goat on stage while intimidating slave chants roar and screeching guitar riffs burn in the background. Then, the rhythmic chain rattling evoking a satanic summoning makes way for the eerily familiar melodies of Norwegian black metal. This genre mix that has been garnering attention online since April 2016 belongs to Zeal & Ardor.
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. But Zeal & Ardor take the blaspheme up a notch by delivering the lyrics in the fashion of slave spirituals sung by chain gangs.
Zeal & Ardor is the one-man brainchild of Manuel Gagneux, a Swiss-American formerly based in New York City. 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?
Listen to the title track here.
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 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.”