#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’.


18 Zeal and Ardor: Stranger Fruit

Mmmmmmmmmmlet’s talk about cultural appropriation.


Zeal and Ardor are one of my favourite bands. In fact, I’d go as far as calling them my favourite Swiss band. They combine black metal with ‘negro spirituals’, the bracing gospel music sung by the black slaves in the early 19th century. What’s your initial reaction to hearing that? Are you OK with it? Are you straight up against it? Do you think that merely the fact that the band are Swiss makes any use of music born from American cruelties automatically cultural appropriation? Do you want to fnd out a little more about the band before deciding your reaction? Are you immediately against it because you assume the band is white?

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