“We are in the process of making new music” – interview with Zeal & Ardor

Author Arto Mäenpää - 22.6.2023

Zeal & Ardor is a unique and groundbreaking musical project that defies traditional genre classifications. Combining elements of black metal, gospel, blues, and soul, Zeal & Ardor creates a haunting and powerful sound that pushes the boundaries of contemporary music.

The brainchild of Swiss-American musician Manuel Gagneux, Zeal & Ardor emerged in 2014 as an experimental project that aimed to explore the juxtaposition of spirituals and black metal. Gagneux’s vision was to merge two seemingly contrasting genres, blending the raw intensity of black metal with the passionate and emotive qualities of gospel music.

The band’s name, Zeal & Ardor, reflects the duality of their music. “Zeal” represents fervor, enthusiasm, and dedication, while “Ardor” symbolizes passion, intensity, and burning desire. These qualities permeate every aspect of their compositions, creating a unique sonic landscape that captivates listeners.

Zeal & Ardor gained widespread attention and critical acclaim with the release of their debut album, “Devil is Fine,” in 2016. This record, characterized by its innovative fusion of black metal and African-American spirituals, established Zeal & Ardor as one of the most exciting and genre-defying acts in modern music.

Zeal & Ardor‘s latest self-titled album, “Zeal & Ardor” (2022), continues to push boundaries and explore new territories. The album delves deeper into their unique fusion of genres, with tracks like “In Ashes” and “Bow.” The album showcases their evolution as a band, demonstrating their ability to create dark, atmospheric soundscapes while maintaining their signature intensity.

In their live performances, Zeal & Ardor delivers an intense and immersive experience. The band’s line-up expands to include a full ensemble, featuring multiple vocalists and instrumentalists who bring Gagneux’s compositions to life on stage. The combination of blistering black metal riffs, soulful harmonies, and a dynamic stage presence creates an unforgettable concert experience.

As a band, Zeal & Ardor represents a true artistic embodiment of innovation and fearlessness. With their boundary-pushing sound, thought-provoking lyrics, and captivating live performances, they have garnered a devoted and diverse following worldwide. Zeal & Ardor continues to redefine what is possible within the realms of heavy music, leaving a lasting impact on the music industry.

Chaoszine sat down with the band’s leader Manuel Gagneux before the band’s show in Copenhell on June 14th and discussed about the reception of “Zeal & Ardor” as well as what does the future hold for the band in terms of new music. You can check out the entire video interview below:

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You can check out Zeal & Ardor‘s latest highly praised “Self-Titled” album below: