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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. New album Devil Is Fine 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?
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."