#46 Zeal & Ardor: Zeal and Ardor

Listen to Z&A’s third full length album, listen to how this bafflingly overlooked Swiss band manage to combine a myriad of genres from soul to gospel to electronica to blues and house them all under a single roof of the blackest of black metal, listen to that at once hilarious and at once terrifying jump cut Emersion makes from BandCamp bedroom electro-pop into screaming death thrash, listen to this band redefine what could be considered heavy rock music for 44 minutes. Then come back to me, I want to see your face when I tell you that this is by far the most straightforward and standard record the band have yet made.

This is all relative, of course: Zeal & Ardor’s ‘normal’ is a far cry from that of plebs like you and I. We still get key changes, electronic swathes, and a near exhausting amount of tropes and genres paid service to. It’s just that compared to the incredibly creative places that the band have dragged their music to over their past two albums (plus 2020’s incredible ‘Wake of a Nation’ EP) their latest often sounds like the band instead turning more inwards and congregating all their visions into making a record that’s slightly more recognisable as ‘metal’.

This just means that the band and the listener are forced to instead settle on merely the greatest metal album of 2022. Sorry about that, tissues for your issues. The reason I started this entry like I did was I was aware how insane these suggestions would sound if this was your first time hearing the band. Really? This is what standard metal sounds liek to you?? Zeal might be another victim of their own success – they’ve scaled the unbelievable so often that to be ‘merely’ incredible can sound like a bit of a pause for breath.

Oh? But a career of at least three albums, all of which have been featured on Necessary Evil? You know what that means!!

But ‘Zeal and Ardor’ achieves an even greater honour with its opening track, one that off the top of my head I can only think has been repeated by 2018’s ‘Kid See Ghosts‘ and kindaSuperorganism‘. The track, album and artist all have the same title!!! One day I’m going to find somebody who finds things like that as fascinating as I do. And I will marry that person. Yeah, then inevitably disappoint and disgust them leading to a quick divorce, but the marriage will be cool!

BandCamp

2020 #22

2018 #18

2016 #84

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