Monday, 4 July 2016

Zeal And Ardor "Devil Is Fine" (2016)

Here's a record that pays tribute to the times, the internet age, a treat to spoil yourself and indulge in something rather unimaginable two decades ago. Much like IGORRR's genre blender from hell fusing Breakbeat, Baroque and Black Metal, Zeal And Ardor throw us at the mercy of genre mixing that comes up all aces. Its core theme is rooted in a dark satanic tone fronted through the blues, or more accurately the vocal origins which originated from slave songs. You'll hear emotion bluesy, gospel singing that collides with ferocious Black Metal and zealous electronic melodies. There's even a short Trap banger in the mix, chop and screwing the vocals, throwing in light organs between the spacious grooving beats and fluttery sampling.

 Starting with the title track, call-respond singing chimes out, the clank of slave chains rattle to keep tempo and peaking the microphone it creates a stunning authenticity, although I'm fairly certain this is original, not lifted or sampled. Some grizzly distant guitars drift in and out, rumbling beneath with a groan. "In Ashes" has the menacing guitar grinding a string as eerie, morbid calls are sung. Then the pedals come crashing in and swing the song into full tilt. Whats fantastic here is how the drums take a temperate and structured raising and lowering of intensity rather than blasting out typical Metal drumming patterns.

"Children's Summon" gives light to a xylophone lead that features individually on "Sacriegium II & III" with a playful lullaby, full of carefree wonder, not far from the sort of melody you might expect to hear on an Izioq or C418 record. The song itself sets its tone after a brief blasting of instruments and screams, satanic chants reign out and before long it all amounts to a rampant onslaught of menacing Black Metal peaked by a chirpy xylophone. "Blood In The River" brings back the main theme and expands on its evil undertone with more Black Metal and rash screams.

No moment here feels without purpose or intent, although its a short listen at twenty four minutes it serves itself just fine and leaves me yearning for more with every listen. These songs have been on repeat, they are short and sweet but infectious. Charming, dreamy melodies, furious Black Metal and bluesy slave songs, a strange and enigmatic combination that does everything so right despite sounding like a calamity on paper. Completely in awe of this record, wanting, waiting for more.

Favorite Tracks:
Rating: 8/10