Creative firebrand Manuel Gagneux returns with a brand new ZEAL & ARDOR single.
“Gravedigger’s Chant” is set for release on Good Friday — March 30. It serves as an omen of what’s to come from his forthcoming second ZEAL & ARDOR album, “Stranger Fruit”.
With its haunting refrain of “bring the dead body down,” the song “Gravedigger’s Chant” (artwork pictured below) takes listeners on someone’s final journey. Gagneux intones: “The gravedigger’s chant is the song sung by the people who lay your body to rest. These people don’t care where you were, but they know what you did and who loved you. All they know is what lies before them. So they sing this song, since you can no longer breathe a note.”
“Our intent is both to familiarize as well as alienate,” furthers Gagneux. “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.”
Watch the video for the eerie and unsettling track below.
Mixing blues, gospel, and soul with harsher music has opened up a world of possibilities for Gagneux. Previously creating as a one-man solo effort, the immense interest and critical acclaim ZEAL & ARDOR attracted upon release of debut album, “Devil Is Fine”, has led to the project becoming a fully fledged, internationally touring band.
After months hidden away, crafting the new songs for “Stranger Fruit”, Gagneux entered the studio with producer Zebo Adam and mixer Kurt Ballou (CONVERGE, KVELERTAK, NAILS). While the finished sound is larger and heavier, it is still unmistakably ZEAL & ARDOR.
The diverse yet cohesive nature of the 16 tracks on “Stranger Fruit” (artwork pictured below) is designed to encourage the listener to dig a little deeper and find their own meaning in its words. In contrast to “Devil Is Fine”, these songs are deliberately intended to play off each other both lyrically and musically.
While the record seethes with a justifiable rage, its wider-reaching aim is to unify, not divide, and to inspire action, not inertia. Elements of a bleak melancholy are tempered by hope. Superficially, the album tells small isolated stories, but there are also references to the Goetia, Yoruba, and obscure occult literature and history within.
“Stranger Fruit” will be available on June 8 in multiple formats, including CD, cassette, vinyl, and digital download/stream. Vinyl fans can choose between the 2LP 180-gram gatefold vinyl or the 2LP limited deluxe 180-gram triple gatefold purple vinyl. Pre-orders are available at all DSPs and local retailers.
“Stranger Fruit” track listing:
02. Gravedigger’s Chant
04. Don’t You Dare
05. Fire Of Motion
06. The Hermit
07. Row Row
08. Ship On Fire
10. You Ain’t Coming Back
11. The Fool
12. We Can’t Be Found
13. Stranger Fruit
16. Built On Ashes
ZEAL & ARDOR will appear at multiple European music festivals through 2018, including Download, Graspop Metal Meeting and Hellfest.