Review/Zeal and Ardor/Devil is fine

Zeal and Ardor takes bastard metal to a whole new level on “Devil is fine”; mixing bluesy spiritual chants with lo-fi black metal, samples and just a little bit of Beck and The White Stripes on top. If you think that sounds crazy, you’re absolutely right. This is crazy, crazy good.. And quite possibly unlike anything you’ve heard before.

This is the second full-length release from the one-man project by Manuel Gagneux from New York; having only released the self-titled “Zeal and Ardor” prior to this back in 2014. Having listened to the debut, it seems that Manuel has turned to the dark(er) side both music and lyric-wise since then.

In the time being, between the debut and the follow-up, Manuel has tied down some of the loose ends I found to be on the first album. Every idea seems much more integrated this time around, and he sees to have a greater idea about what the final output should be concept-wise.

 The lyrics is most about praising the devil and darker things in life, and they’re very well delivered, with the vocals changing between shrieks and the blues-like clean vocals. Don’t waste your time, trying to look up the vocal samples, as they are all written and performed by Manuel himself.

The musical arrangements are near impossible to describe; a mix of everything I mentioned in the beginning, and then some.. You’ll easily identify most  genres known to man if you decide to give the album a shot.

“a good lord is a dark one
a good lord is the one that brings the fire
the riverbed will run red with the blood of the saints and the blood of the holy
(the one that brings the fire)”

Should I choose to mention a few favourites from the album, it would have to be “Come on down”, “Children’s summon” and “Blood in the river”. Despite being very different compositions they all have a thriving riffs, catchy melodies and strong lyrics in common. If you only got ten minutes to check out an album, these gives a great impression of what to expect.

So, to sum up the above..  This is one of the most interesting things I’ve come across in a VERY long time, and the only bad thing I have to say about this album, is that it might just be a couple of tracks too short; Twenty-four  minutes playtime, from start to end is not much. That being said, this is a must-listen; whether this turns out to be your thing or not, this is not an album to miss out on. 

Being fresh and groundbreaking it deserves, at least, your honest opinion; one that’s only to be given, when you’ve heard it a couple of times. At some time, people will ask you about “that Zeal and Ardor thing” – better be prepared..

On the Zeal and Ardor Bandcamp page it says the following in the description:

“Zeal and Ardor is a project trying find new combinations of established components. The most important factor is a thematic coherence, not a musical one.”

Status: Mission completed, with excellence.