Picture the scene: A late summer evening, crickets sing their song, your bare feet firmly planted in the soil, the poplars gently sway in the wind, and the stench nearly knocks you out cold.
Creative firebrand Manuel Gagneux returns with a brand new Zeal & Ardorsingle.
“Gravedigger’s Chant” is set for release on Good Friday — March 30. It serves as an omen of what’s to come from his forthcoming second Zeal & Ardoralbum Stranger Fruit.
With its haunting refrain of “bring the dead body down,” the song “Gravedigger’s Chant” (artwork pictured below) takes listeners on someone’s final journey. Gagneux intones, “The gravedigger’s chant is the song sung by the people who lay your body to rest. These people don’t care where you were, but they know what you did and who loved you. All they know is what lies before them. So they sing this song, since you can no longer breathe a note.”
“Our intent is both to familiarize as well as alienate,” furthers Gagneux. “The video of ‘Gravedigger’s Chant’ subverts roles: People find themselves in situations untypical for their ilk, tools become weapons, weapons turn into tools, and fingers meant for sensing make themselves felt.”
Watch the video for the eerie and unsettling track here.
Mixing blues, gospel, and soul with harsher music has opened up a world of possibilities for Gagneux. Previously creating as a one-man solo effort, the immense interest and critical acclaim Zeal & Ardor attracted upon release of debut album Devil Is Fine has led to the project becoming a fully-fledged, internationally-touring band.
STRANGER FRUIT TRACK LISTING:
“Don’t You Dare”
“Fire Of Motion”
“Ship On Fire”
“You Ain’t Coming Back”
“We Can’t Be Found”
“Built On Ashes”
After months hidden away, crafting the new songs for Stranger Fruit, Gagneux entered the studio with producer Zebo Adam and mixer Kurt Ballou(Converge, Kvelertak, Nails). While the finished sound is larger and heavier, it is still unmistakably Zeal & Ardor.
The diverse yet cohesive nature of the 16 tracks on Stranger Fruit (artwork pictured below) is designed to encourage the listener to dig a little deeper and find their own meaning in its words. In contrast to first LP Devil Is Fine, these songs are deliberately intended to play off each other both lyrically and musically.
While the record seethes with a justifiable rage, its wider-reaching aim is to unify, not divide, and to inspire action, not inertia. Elements of a bleak melancholy are tempered by hope. Superficially, the album tells small isolated stories, but there are also references to the Goetia, Yoruba, and obscure occult literature and history within.
Stranger Fruit will be available on June 8 in multiple formats, including CD, cassette, vinyl, and digital download/stream. Vinyl fans can choose between the 2LP 180g gatefold vinyl or the 2LP limited deluxe 180g triple gatefold purple vinyl! Pre-orders are available at all DSPs and local retailers.
Zeal & Ardor will appear at multiple European music festivals through 2018, including Download, Graspop, Hellfest, and more. All dates are here.
U.S. tour plans will be revealed in due time.
ABOUT ZEAL & ARDOR:
Zeal & Ardor is the one-man brainchild of Manuel Gagneux, a Swiss-American formerly based in New York City. His approach draws on an alternate history and stems from two thoughts: Christianity was imposed upon American slaves, just as it was imposed in Norway, and black metal in the ’90s grew as a rebellion to monotheism. What would have happened if American slaves had rebelled in the same way? Or put bluntly: What would satanic spirituals sound like?
First album Devil Is Fine was released globally in February 2017. Zeal & Ardor have been generating significant buzz ever since, with accolades piling up from both musical peers and international media, including Noisey, Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Kerrang!, The Independent, Metal Hammer, Upset, Brooklyn Vegan, and many more. Set to instill a universal and shared rage, new album Stranger Fruit will be released June 8th, 2018.
Fans can check out Zeal & Ardor at the following locations: