Devil Is Fine was the breakout debut of 2016. For an album that seemed to lack serious promotion or too much of a serious infrastructure behind it it's amazing to see how quickly Zeal & Ardor became the sort of project that everyone who was anyone had an opinion on. Devil Is Fine is an insane quasi-masterpiece, a fusion of African spirituals with black metal, weird hip hop, soul and just about everything else. For whatever reason, people connect to Zeal & Ardor making this a hope for a new generation.
There is something strangely mesmerizing about this record that invokes a very human element inside all of us. The powerful atmospheres, subtle instrumentation and the general beautiful roughness of this entire thing leaves me in awe, constantly trying to understand exactly how this project could be so goddamn good. The sheer pain communicated through the music and the burning agony of the songwriting hints at a far darker world, but also shows us that Zeal & Ardor is far more than the sum of its parts. Devil Is Fine is an invocation of heavy metals blasphemous roots as much as it is hinting at the future of music whilst simultaneously forcing us to embrace an ugly time in Americas History.
Zeal & Ardor is certainly something to get excited in and it definitely lives up to the hype. The mastermind behind this project, Manuel Gagneux is going to keep you in thrall, constantly trying to understand the bizarre and ever changing realities of this sound and reminding us time and time again that this isn't just music for the metal elitist, but rather anyone who can appreciate a trip hop beat set next to a Gregorian chant, or a raging black metal riff falling perfectly in line next to a slave spiritual. It's simply that good.
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