I reviewed the debut album by Zeal & Ardor, Devil is Fine, back in 2017. And Maria Haskins picked their track ‘Gravediggers Chant‘ from their second record as track of the day the following year. They’re a great band, a really great band, but difficult to write about because they’re so hard to categorise. Oh well, I love this song and I’ve only gone and picked it so I’ll have to give it a go.
In my review I talked about them being ostensibly a Death Metal band. Which is true. And also not true. Because there is just as much blues and spiritual mixed in with those earthquake guitar riffs. There is the odd bit of electronica, and a pinch of baroque. Yes, that’s not a typo, I do mean baroque music. It is fair to say, I think, Zeal & Ardor are pretty unlike anybody else in the world ever.
This time around, they’ve produced a torch song. A proper haunting lament to the times we live in. It’s emotional and introspective, and yet has a kind of hypnotic swing to the rhythm. And it builds, as all their music does, although this time they stop short of the all out metal assault. It pulls back just as the gospel chorus starts to reach its crescendo. And, somehow, that pulling back gives the song an even greater punch.
Yeah, it’s a special one this one. A special one from a band who quite literally defy description. It’s perfectly named – the whole structure of the track makes you picture a vigil, a bunch of mourners huddled around a spot late at night clutching their candles. You’ll see from the video and the artwork that a single pair of police batons are featured, and I think you’ll be able to work out from that what this song is all about. It’s quite a moving statement I think.
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