I absolutely love it when an album turns out to be such a wonderfully unexpected listening experience. The nine track album, ‘Devil is Fine,’ by Zeal & Ardor is one of those special gems that hits you out of left field and stays in your head for a long time after. Released in the beginning of March, this album takes two completely different genres and expertly mixes them together to create a remarkably special sound. Combining the style of African American spirituals with metal seems like it might not work on paper, but let me assure you that this album indicates otherwise.
The opening and title track only has slight metal undertones, and instead sets the spiritual motif strong right off the bat. Next song, ‘In Ashes,’ brings more of the elements that are typical of metal music such as double bass drums, guitar distortion, and scream vocals into the mix. I think that the heavy nature of metal music actually perfectly compliments the more serious nature of the lyrics. This is just one of the aspects that I think makes this CD so fantastic. Additionally, the Sacrilegium trilogy add another layer of complexity to this album. ‘Sacrilegium II,’ and ‘Sacrilegium III,’ provide a beautiful, almost lullaby type sound that is a contrast to the often ominous tone of some of the other tracks.
I strongly suggest you check this album out if you’re in the mood to discover something new and innovative. This band is truly unlike anything I’ve ever heard before and I will certainly be introducing it to everyone I can. Diversity of genres and unique ideas are always something I’m searching for in music, and this album is a shining example of those exact qualities.
Other noteworthy tracks: ‘Come on Down’ and ‘Blood in the River.’