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Zeal & Ardor US/CH

Zeal & Ardor

A new phenomenon on the scene of heavy music genres, band Zeal & Ardor, fuses musical motifs of Afro-American slaves and Nordic black metal elements. The avant-garde metal music project is led by a composer and singer Manuel Gagneux. With his band featuring excellent musicians, he’s been praised by the likes of Independent or Noisey. The band mesmerized Pohoda crew at Reeperbahn and now you have a chance to see them at the 22nd edition of our festival.  

Before Zeal & Ardor, Manuel Gagneux didn’t have much experience with heavy metal genres. He did listen to the extreme music of bands such as Burzum or Darkthrone, but his previous project Birdmask could be characterized as chamber pop. The common denominator for Birdmask and his current band is mainly the extraordinary musical variety and Manuel’s amazing performance. The source of Gagneux’s inspiration was 4chan, where people would post their ideas on unusual genre combinations and Manuel would then fuse the genres and make songs of them. One day, someone posted “black metal” and another a racist “nigger music” comment (Gagneux’s father is Swiss and his mother is Afro-American).  Even though he didn’t come up with a song right away, the combination got stuck with him and he started looking for something the two have in common. Zeal & Ardor is the answer: a musical rebellion against the dominant culture and everything related to it. Gagneux rose to the challenge to fuse the seemingly infusible. The result are tribal rhythmic patterns and polyphony, considerably modified instruments and vocals, screams, double kick and theatricality. Other features included in the mix are chain gang chants and prison songs. His endeavor turns into a well worked-out demonic fiction. Band’s recordings as well as shows prove that it all works on the music level, too. If you are in for a soundtrack to the horrors of Caribbean plantations or Brazilian favelas, you shouldn’t miss out on the Zeal & Ardor show at Pohoda 2018.