ZEAL & ARDOR
Devil Is Fine MKVA
If anyone tells you that metal’s run out of ideas, point them in this direction. Zeal & Ardor first garnered interest due to mastermind Manuel Gagneux’s unique use of everything from black metal and early delta blues to slave chants and crude electronic samples, with songs like Come On Down or the evil-sounding Blood In The River managing to swing wildly from deep, brooding soul into scathing, scabrous extreme metal without giving the listener any warning of where the ride was about to take them. But the way he melded those disparate influences into legitimately wonderful songs is the reason Devil Is Fine is a triumph and made such a dent in the consciousness of both metal fans and musicians this year, deservedly turning an oddly bizarre solo project into one of the most unique and most talked-about new bands that our scene has provided for quite some time.