Swiss musician Manuel Gagneux made massive (and unexpected) waves with his project Zeal & Ardor's last album, Devil Is Fine—enough that the record is now being given a rerelease and a shiny new PR/marketing campaign. As part of the latter, we're premiering a brand-new track,"Don't You Dare"—which was first performed live at Couleur 3 studio in Lausanne, Switzerland—below, and highly recommend tuning in.
"Don't You Dare" introduces a more refined version of the eclectic Zeal & Ardor sound. All the hallmarks are there—Gagneaux's soulful baritone croon, urgent chords, unorthodox melodies, heavy Southern influence, and the strangely harmonious introduction of black metal elements like frosty tremolo, blastbeats, Satanic vibes, and ragged howls—but here, they sound newly purposeful, and gel beautifully, even where the band's earlier work occasionally missed the mark. The vocals are a particular point of interest, as Gagneux's now-familiar bluesy croak is put on display and accompanied by two backup singers, who add their even deeper timbres in a call-and-response Delta pastiche. Given the initial speculation that Zeal & Ardor's vocals were sampled from old-time recordings, it's nice to see Gagneux flex his vocal chops.
As for the song itself, Gagneux told Noisey, "The idea of something so horrible that merely looking at it will end you is fascinating to me. 'Don't You Dare' thematically plays with biblical demons as well as Lovecraftian elements that lend themselves well to this idea. Since I wrote it after getting the band together, it's not on the album, but will be performed on the upcoming tour. I hope you enjoy watching as much as we enjoy playing it."
Zeal & Ardor has (finally!) announced a handful of live dates, with a short European tour leading up to their debut North American appearance at Psycho Las Vegas festival.
14.04.2017 CH - Basel, Czar Fest
19.04.2017 FR - Paris, Le Glazart
20.04.2017 UK - London, Camden, Underworld
21.04.2017 NL - Tilburg, Roadburn Festival
22.04.2017 DE - Berlin, Urban Spree
24.04.2017 CZ - Prague, Roxy
25.04.2017 PL - Warsaw, Hydrozagadka
03.05.2017 IT - Milano, Magnolia
04.05.2017 CH - Geneva, Usine
05.05.2017 GR - Athens, Ilion Plus
18.-20.05.2017 UK - Brighton, The Great Escape Festival
20.08.2017 US - Psycho Vegas, Las Vegas
Photo by Matthias Willi
Kim Kelly is daring to dream on Twitter.