Zeal & Ardor – Devil Is Fine [REVIEW]

With an amazing story woven in its very atmospheric and dark musical production, Zeal & Ardor are giving something powerful and gripping that is a very unique blend of styles that come through so strongly. With the album having a few singles already released so far, its time to see how the album as a whole comes off.

You are immediately thrown into a strong whirlwind of gripping notions with their album opener. The title track has such a powerful way of displaying their vocals with the chain clinking and the spacial feeling of the reverb and the track builds and builds, becoming something that is absolutely special in its structure. By the time you get into their next track, you are fully hooked into what they are offering and once the guitar crashes in on ‘In Ashes’, the black metal influences runs wild a lot more in its instrumentation whilst the chanting of the vocals get really entrancing with its delivery and make everything sound much more eerie.

Throughout the record, there is a trilogy of ‘Sacrilegium’ tracks that split up the album quite nicely. The first of the third comes through as a strong electronic number with its cut up vocal techniques and punchy drum kit that gets used. It changes the whole pace of the album but also shows off its diversity strongly. The second one sounds like a lullaby with its toy box sound that can get piercing on the ears at points, whereas the final one comes across like an old school game soundtrack at time with its beautiful melodies once again. All the tracks are near enough interludes and definitely change the paces of the record, but are split up nicely as to not dilute their predecessors.

With the other tracks on the record, they still push the boundaries that this band has. ‘Come On Down’ has a country approach with the vocal pattern and lyrics hitting hard before the instrumental picks up more and shows a great mixture of the black metal and blues that they are able to capture. The band fully utilise more of that extreme black metal prowess in ‘Childrens Summon’ with the vocals unfortunately at points taking away from the instrumentation. The great thing about this record is the carrying on of features from previous tracks and pushing them further into the following songs. A track that will definitely get stuck in your head is the poignant ‘Blood In The River’ which feels like the younger brother of the title track with the notion that it can sometimes feel a bit muddled in its structure, but the overall dynamic of the track feels much more flavourful and offers much more than ‘Devil Is Fine’ does.

For blending such two strong genres together to create something that becomes very uncommon and incredibly diverse, Zeal & Ardor have something that is enticing due to its nature and still sucks you in after listening to the first few singles. Whilst the album will most likely be a bit of a hit and miss, the positives outweigh the negatives.

[8/10]