Welcome to Episode 24 of the Loudwire Podcast! For this audio assault, we hung out with Zeal & Ardor mastermind Manuel Gagneux to dive deep into his fascinating and highly experimental project.

Zeal & Ardor sprouted a new branch of metal’s family tree. Combining the styles of black metal and African slave spirituals, Z&A created a hybrid never before attempted. On paper, the styles shouldn’t work together, but Zeal & Ardor pulled it off in spectacular fashion with Devil is Fine, one of the most critically acclaimed records in recent years.

We spoke to Gagneux about the initial ugliness that led to Zeal & Ardor’s creation. Manuel would hang out on 4chan’s music section creating sonic hybrids by request. After asking for two genres to combine, Manuel was hit with messages that read “black metal” and “n---er music.” As a black man, Gagneux felt the ultimate “f—k you” would be to fuse together something great… and that’s how Zeal & Ardor was born.

Since releasing Devil is Fine and putting together a band of friends in his native Switzerland, Zeal & Ardor were invited by Tom Morello to open for Prophets of Rage in Europe. Gagneux told us all about the journey from his computer screen to playing for 10,000 people a night and getting praise from artists like Slash and Gojira.

Check out the Zeal & Ardor edition of the Loudwire Podcast above and be sure to subscribe on iTunes and YouTube so you never miss an episode. To grab a copy of Devil is Fine, click here.

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