Well, here we are. The moment we see if Zeal & Ardor, Manuel Gagneux’s experimental soul/blues/metal/good music project, can prove to be more than just a flash in the pan or a one-and-done project. Earlier today, the band posted a video on Facebook titled “Gravedigger’s Chant”. The short and sweet caption for the video also revealed a new album coming called Stranger Fruit and it’s due out June 8 later this year! Take a look at this video because it’s a little wild.
I must say, I’m pretty impressed. Not only have Gagneux and crew brought forward a new song that is unlike much else they’ve released thus far, but they also managed to keep intact their dark and gritty aesthetic that made the band’s first album one of the most invigorating pieces of music back in 2016. With almost no metal elements present on this track, the soul is turned up to 11, Gagneux exploring his vocal range with impassioned yells and emotive crooning. It’s a powerful piece accentuated by somber piano and hard-hitting, stripped back percussion. The overall style of production is fitting and mostly unchanged from what you could hear on Devil is Fine, providing a thin layer of fuzz and grain.
The video itself is particularly interesting though. A week ago, the band dropped a teaser video titled “Intro” that features many of the same people featured in “Gravedigger’s Chant”. This new video appears to be a continuation of the former one, showing a fracture and somewhat cryptic story. Gagneux himself sheds a little light on the video: ‘Our intent is both to familiarize as well as alienate. 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’. It remains to be seen if these characters and this plot are central to Stranger Fruit as a whole or are a contained concept for this track.