Picture the scene: a late summer evening, crickets sing their song, your bare feet firmly planted in the soil, the poplars gently sway in the wind, and the stench nearly knocks you out cold.
Creative firebrand Manuel Gagneux returns with a brand new Zeal & Ardor single. ‘Gravedigger’s Chant’ is set for release on Good Friday, 30th March, and 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”, ‘Gravedigger’s Chant’ takes listeners on someone’s final journey. Manuel 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. The video for 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.”
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 sixteen tracks on Stranger Fruit is designed to encourage the listener to dig a little deeper and find their own meaning in its words. In contrast to first LP 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 from June 8th in multiple formats, including CD, cassette, vinyl, and digital download/stream. Vinyl fans can choose between the 2LP 180g gatefold vinyl or the 2LP limited deluxe 180g triple gatefold purple vinyl!
Stranger Fruit track listing:
2. Gravedigger’s Chant
4. Don’t You Dare
5. Fire Of Motion
6. The Hermit
7. Row Row
8. 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
Bear witness to Zeal & Ardor’s captivating live show. Tickets are on sale for the following headline dates & festival performances:
27.04.2018 FR – Bourges, Printemps de Bourges
28.04.2018 FR – Audincourt, Impetus Festival
31.05.2018 ES – Barcelona, Primavera Sound Festival
04.06.2018 UK – London, Village Underground
08.06.2018 PT – Porto, Primavera Sound Festival
09.06.2018 CH – Interlaken, Greenfield Festival
10.06.2018 UK – Donington Park, Download Festival
21.06.2018 DK – Copenhagen, Copenhell
22.06.2018 BE – Dessel, Graspop Metal Meeting
24.06.2018 FR – Clisson, Hellfest
06.07.2018 CZ – Hradec Kralove, Rock for People
07.07.2018 SK – Trenčín, Pohoda Festival
12.07.2018 FR – Aix les Bains, Musilac Festival
14.07.2018 BE – Dour, Dour Festival
15.07.2018 FI – Ilosaari, Ilosaarirock Festival
28.07.2018 RO – Sibiu, ArtMania Festival
03.08.2018 AT – Lustenau, Szene Openair
04.08.2018 DE – Wacken, Wacken Openair
09.08.2018 DE – Kollerbach, Rocco del SchlackRo Festival
10.08.2018 DE – Tauber, Taubertal Festival
17.08.2018 UK – Bristol, ArcTanGent Festival
19.08.2018 NL – Biddinghuizen, Lowlands Festival
24.08.2018 UK – Northampton, Shambala Festival