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CD Review: Zeal & Ardor – Stranger Fruit


Band: Zeal & Ardor
Album: Stranger Fruit
Reviewed By: Hear2Zen

Swiss-American man of many hats Manuel Gagneux has returned with a new album from his project known as Zeal & Ardor.  Mixing black metal, with atmospheric gospel parts it seems like a match made in hell, or heaven I guess, depending where you choose to look.

The first album ‘The Devil Is Fine’ took the metal world by surprise and it seems its creator as well to a certain extent. So what would he want to project for a follow up? Joining Gagneux are bassist Mia Rafaela Dieu, vocalist Denis Wagner and Marc Obrist, drummer Marco von Allmen and guitarist Tiziano Volante. It could be seen as a “project” but the quality of the players give it a band vibe.

Stranger Fruit’ is a more expansive than the previous effort, and seems to draw on many different influences and cultures. Songs like  ‘We Can’t Be Found’, and  ‘Fire Of Motion’ are brutal and thrashy, with a very in your face metal attitude. ‘Waste’ is like a car crash of 70s fuzz rock and death metal, which may seem confusing but the chorus harmonies bring it all together.

‘Gravediggers Chant’ drips blues, with a voodoo vibe, and the emotion of it sticks in your head, in all its creepiness. And speaking of Chants. The gospel sounds of ‘Row Row’ keep you enthralled and wondering what might be next. It seems Gagneux always wants to keep his listener in an state of confusion and discomfort. The lyrics are well thought out and designed to keep these elements fresh in the mind. Magneux seems like he goes through phases on this record where he almost wants to be commercially accepted and become mainstream of sorts, but then flips a switch and becomes anti establishment and almost raises a middle finger to anything that may be considered the “norm”.

If you want to be taken on an trip between fear, confusion, euphoria and anger this might just be your album of 2018

02. Gravedigger’s Chant 
03. Servants 
04. Don’t You Dare 
05.Fire Of Motion
06. The Hermit 
07. Row Row 
08. Ship On Fire 
09. Waste 
10. You Ain’t Coming Back 
11. The Fool 
12. We Can’t Be Found 
13. Stranger Fruit 
14. Solve 
15. Coagula 
16. Built On Ashes

Hear2Zen Magazine
Hear2Zen is a "Non Genre Specific" publication that celebrates all things sensory.

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