T. Ray Verteramo
October 20, 2016
“Purists” protesteth too much that this is not Black Metal. But, they forget that Black Metal was never about the music, but the desecration.
And on that platform, he nailed it.
It is amazing that a native Swiss, New York resident, Gagneux, the sole soul of Zeal and Ardor, was able to capture the antique mystique of the American slave-black spiritual so authentically, the chills remain after the silence. Call and returns through a distant echo, praising the freedom promised by the antichrist, shock and awe, while providing the blood-rushing shot of sweet, sweet Metal, make this a devil of an addiction.
The project may have started as a joke, (“Black Metal”…black Metal, get it?) but, the punchline is so brilliantly executed, the pun becomes groundbreaking, too stunning to laugh at.
This is a one-man project; harmonies, tech, rhythm, and string, very “trve” to form. Aside from the dark, infanticidal, and blood-thirsty and catchy intonations, such as “In Ashes,” the title track, “Blood in the River,” and “Come on Down,” Gagneux conjures chants and corruption upon electronic music box meditations and instrumental intervals, which contrasts against the primary work, but compliments the theme. One slick, jazzy beatnik track, “What’s a Killer Like You Gonna Do Here?” is dangerous, sexy, and deliciously disturbing.
There is a reason why this album created such a stir, it attracted the critical eyebrows of Rolling Stone before its full year of release; The entire project proves that Zeal and Ardor is a visionary to be reckoned with. This project is wickedly beautiful, a living evil and art at its boldest.
While new up and coming acts trounce upon those who dare to label their familiar motif, Devil is Fine presents something beyond labels – even so far as to fit them better than the purists would like to admit.
Zeal And Ardor will be embarking on a European tour next year: