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Introducing Zeal & Ardor, black metal's brand new superstar

Zeal & Ardor’s soulful, slave music/extreme metal mash-up has set the underground alight. But is creator Manuel Gagneux ready to face the wrath of the elitists?

When musician Manuel Gagneux went onto the website 4chan and asked for genre mash-up ideas, one immediately jumped out: ‘n*gger music and black metal’.

“It’s a disgusting place and they just want to get a rise out of you,” he says today. “Even if they don’t know they’re dealing with a dark-skinned person, as soon as you react in an aggravated manner, they’ve basically won.”

Rising above the racist bullshit, our protagonist logged off with an idea burrowing into his brain: let’s fiddle with the status quo. Let’s challenge the norm. Let’s combine some harsh, icy black metal riffs with African-American slave spirituals and inject them with dashes of electronica and melodic death metal. Resulting album Devil Is Fine clocks in just shy of 25 minutes, but it’s an accomplished, fully realised statement that’s already caused a stir in the underground.

“It’s so eclectic and all over the fucking place,” he laughs down the phone, addressing his Beelzebubian banquet of genres.

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