I’ve been listening to this album for so long, but I didn’t want to review it until I got my physical copy. And that day has finally come!
This release had so much hype amongst my friends when it came out, it was crazy. I ignored it at first, since I had enough releases at the time, but when I did get to it, boy was I blown away.
Zeal And Ardor play a blend of Blues, Soul and Black Metal. Yes, you read that right. It sounds like black slave anthems with a black metal soundtrack. It’s one of the weirdest things I have ever heard. It shouldn’t work. But it’s one of the best releases of the year, and hands down one of the most unique. One of the main reasons it works, is the lyrical content. It’s dark, very dark, and combined with the ominous frost that inhabits black metal, it makes for a great combo. Where these types of songs used to instill hope, they’ve turned into ominous anthems of despair. Soulful vocals change into screams effortlessly , and vice versa. It’s crazy that this all sounds so effortless, and so addicting. You want to listen to it over and over again, trying to grasp what has been accomplished here. Since I first listened to it, I’ve recommended this release to numerous people, with very different musical backgrounds, and until now there is no one that hasn’t liked it. If that doesn’t tell you enough, I don’t know what will.
Another crazy thing , this is a one man project. Manuel Gagneux, who apparantly resides in New york, has provided everything you hear here. To me, that’s absolutely absurd, that one man has created this whole new kind of music, one that works so well you wonder why nobody has done this before.
My favourite track is Blood In The River. The repetitive lyrics and music merge so perfectly here, it’s insane.
Now go out and buy this record. I think it’s going to be one that starts a whole new movement, and it’s another step forward for black metal, showing the flexibility of the genre. I can’t wait to see what the future brings, but this band is absolutely part of it.