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 Emersionmakes 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’.
‘Waterfowl’ is a pretty perfect rock album. I spent an inordinate and unnecessary amount of time just now trying to decide which subgenre to place it under, but it’s such a varied and ambitious record that it near enough encompasses all of them. It dabbles in punk, takes brash detours through folk rock and indie, skids its way through shoegaze and math rock, and even chooses to dabble in post-punk and grunge. I ‘reviewed’ it back in February, then because I don’t think I’d properly got across how good the album was, I wrote another post in March just to make sure I was clear how freaking good this record was. Come on, if there was any 2020 album you don’t need further convincing of its quality, it’s this one. It’s actually quite worrying how much I have to spoon feed some of you people. Sort your lives out.
Hooray for me. A winner is me. I’m the king of the world. I am a golden God. I put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp. I’m that star up in the sky. I’m that mountain peak up high. Hey, I made it. I’m the world’s greatest. I assume that allows me to enslave any underage girl I want, with occasional pissing privileges. What a time to be alive.
This week 2019 officially outstripped 2018 on Necessary Evil, with the site getting more views and more individual visitors than ever before. This despite me not even starting the end of year list, which has always been the only reason any of you miserable cunts (love you!) ever visit this piece of shit site. This is, of course, an outstanding achievement which you no doubt would have heard on the news. Whatever it is that I do on this blog is more popular than ever. Perhaps it’s due to me writing many more non-list entries this year. In 2019, I’ve written
I’ve written a number of non-list entries, which beats my previous record of ‘a lot less’ at best and, more commonly, ‘fuck all’. I’m not going to waste much time trying to analyse why I’m so popular- just luck at that fucking face. Adorable- but such a momentous occasion deserves something of a celebration. And I couldn’t think of a better one than this. Or, more accurately, I could think of a million better ways to celebrate than this, but this is the only one I could be arsed doing. Good? Good.
You could probably guess what I’m aiming to do. As we edge towards the end of the year, it’s obvious what needs to be done, and the fact that we are about to close on a decade that has seen the arrival SnapChat, Pope Francis, Boko Harem, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz only makes things more imperative.
Yeah, I know, I should have done this in January when I finished the countdown, much like I published detailed breakdowns soon after 2016 and 2017 finished. But you know what? I’ve just been busy, man, y’know? Did you not notice that it took me three entries to list the greatest Money in the Bank matches ever? If I’m spending so much time on bullshit like that how am I ever going to find time for bullshit like this? Are you going to be one of those people who doesn’t like it when things they don’t like happen?? Grow up, this is neoliberalism and you’ll accept whatever we tell you that you’re happy with.
This is officially the end of 2018! And it’s only the 5th January [EDIT: Still only the 6th!]! Although there’s freaking one hundred and thirty six tracks to get through, so this may well take until mid May! Happy Cinco de Mayo! No time to talk! A shit load of songs to get through!!
While Z-Tape’s ‘Spring’ collection was veritably busting at the seems with Legit Bosses, as you’ll soon see, this is the only similarly legitimate position of authority from their ‘Summer’ collection. They’re all still great though, as is the Epic Reflexes’s album ‘ChaChaChinatown‘.
I had a lot of problems with ‘Everything is Love’, the surprising debut release from Beyonce and Jay-Z. Part of the reason I struggled with it was that I wasn’t sure how canonical it is. Like, is this it, Bee? Is this underwhelming collection of occasionally very entertaining rap boasts officially your actual follow-up to one of the most acclaimed albums of the 21st century? It’s an album about how two very rich people love each other but probably love their money more, that includes the line “My grandchildren’s grandchildren already rich” which, despite Kanye’s crisis of publicity, is by far the line from 2018 that Donald Trump is most likely to high five in a men’s locker room. Also, there’s a moment on the opening track where Mr Carter drawls out “Let it breaaaathe, let it breaaaathe” like JB Rockefeller basking in the glory of a fart he’d just released under the bedsheets, which marks the first time in more than two decades that I’ve thought to myself that I don’t think I really like Jay-Z. However, he often wins me back with the later claim that he’s “Good on any MLK boulevard”. This song’s pretty great though
Fucking hell, Jay, that haircut though… One hundred and thirty three more after the jump!
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?
Remember: this is probably actually the best album of the year, I’m just too afraid to say so
69 Underworld: I Exhale
I Exhale is amazing: it blatantly and shamelessly rips off The Clash’s Train in Vain, Bowie’s Sound and Vision AND The Fall’s Hit the North, yet still manages to be a cast-iron banger. I couldn’t include the surrounding album on the Necessary Evil countdown, as they can’t go unpunished for such things, but this song is wonderful (especially the album’s 8 minute cut)