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Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor

Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor

Zeal & Ardor - Zeal & Ardor

  • Rating: 9/10
  • Release Date: 11 February, 2022
  • Label: MKVA
  • Musicians:
    Manuel Gagneux – lead vocals, backing vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, synthesizer, samples, programming, production, art design
    Marco Von Allmen – drums, photography
    Marc Obrist - recording production
  • Favorite songs:
    Golden Liar, Feed The Machine, Hold Your Head Low
  • For Fans of:
    DHG/Dodheimsgard, Ministry, Satyricon

Metal and its various subgenres are fairly stagnant when it comes to new developments and bringing the genre as a whole to new creative and experimental heights. This is understandable, because when a band or artist makes too many changes to their sound, they might risk losing their core fanbase. Luckily, every now and then a band comes along that breaks all the perceived rules. Post blackmetal outfit Zeal & Ardor is such a band, reaching new creative heights with their latest self-titled record.

Combining black metal, industrial metal, post rock, classical music and motown soul may seem like next to impossible. However, Manuel Gagneux and the rest of Zeal & Ardor pull it off with such ease that it is equally awe-inspiring and terrifying. This eclectic cocktail of styles is captured in well-structured songs. For example, ‘Run’ combines “Rebel Extravaganza”-era Satyricon with some viceral Ministry-inspired industrial sounds.

Zeal & Ardor – Golden Liar (click here if the video doesn’t play)

‘Emersion’ showcases post rock-type soundscapes with blistering blackmetal. ‘Erase’ is another Ministry-inspired industrial stomper with some surprising jazz-inspired musical breaks. These aforementioned tracks are just a taste of the amazing versatility and musical vision behind “Zeal & Ardor”. Not to mention that Gagneux easily changes some soothing soul-like vocals to vicious black metal screams without breaking a sweat.

‘Feed The Machine’ and ‘Hold Your Head Low’ features slave chants, dirty delta-blues inspired guitar riffs and staccato-like drums and could have easily been on the two previous albums. ‘Götterdämmerung’, contains some musical references to Richard Wagner’s famous classical piece, gospel choir included. It’s these types of unconventional musical ideas that should appeal to fans of Satyricon, Ulver, DHG/Dødheimsgard and Arcturus.

Zeal & Ardor – Run (click here if the video doesn’t play)

It takes an open mind and a lot of determination to truly appreciate the depth and width of this album. Manuel Gagneux and co delivered a true avant-garde masterpiece with “Zeal & Ardor”. This is one of the finest records so far this year. Heartily recommended for everyone who has a healthy appreciation for forward-thinking and adventurous music!

Track List:

  1. Zeal & Ardor
  2. Run
  3. Death To The Holy
  4. Emersion
  5. Golden Liar
  6. Erase
  7. Bow
  8. Feed The Machine
  9. I Caught You
  10. Church Burns
  11. Götterdämmerung
  12. Hold Your Head Low
  13. J-M-B
  14. A-H-I-L

About the Author


Raymond is a fourty something Dutch male, very much into travelling, foreign languages and cultures, history, philosophy, reading, architecture, art and literature. Lately dabbling somewhat with writing and urban photography. Has a healthy appreciation for King Crimson, Ulver, Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Cynic, Charles Mingus, Tool, Deftones, Omar Rodríguez-López/The Mars Volta, Isis, Anathema, The Gathering, Mike Patton/Faith No More, Meshuggah, Snarky Puppy, Nevermore, Chelsea Wolfe, The Comet Is Coming, Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, The Cinematic Orchestra and much more.

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