Taken From Forthcoming New Album Stranger Fruit Out June 8

“Extraordinary and brilliant” — The Guardian

“One of the most uniquely daring and wholly affecting albums of 2018 so far” — Rock Sound

“…draws you in, invites listeners inside the harshness rather than pushing them away. And aside from all that… an incredible knack for dramatic drops” — Noisey

“Zeal & Ardor’s mix of black metal, blues and traditional slave chant is one of the most ambitious concoctions of the past decade, but it worked, and fans are now anxiously awaiting to taste Stranger Fruit.” — Loudwire

“Explosive…surreal…no holds barred” — Revolver

It’s a busy month for ZEAL & ARDOR. The band is preparing for a series of live shows next month (including a London headline show and a slot at Download Festival) as well as the June 8 release of the anticipated second album Stranger Fruit.

The band has just shared the new song “Built on Ashes.” The lyrics hark back to Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” declaring, “Like a strange fruit out of season / You are bound to die alone / And you will swing free in the breeze then.”

Listen to “Built on Ashes” here.

The underlying lyrical topic was picked up in a recent interview with The Guardian here.

Zeal & Ardor mastermind Manuel Gagneux comments, “Here’s our last single before Stranger Fruit comes out in its entirety. ‘Built on Ashes’ is the album’s closing track and stands out as a more sombre track, acting as a farewell of sorts. We hope you like it… there’s a storm out there.”

Eerie first single “Gravedigger’s Chant” was released on Good Friday. Last month, the band shared more extreme track “Waste.”

All three tracks are available now on all streaming services and as instant grat tracks when pre-ordering the new album.

Stranger Fruit will be released on June 8 in multiple formats, including CD, cassette, vinyl, and digital download/stream. For vinyl fans, there’s a 2LP 180g gatefold vinyl or a 2LP limited deluxe 180g triple gatefold purple vinyl.

The diverse yet cohesive nature of the 16 tracks on Stranger Fruit is designed to encourage the listener to dig a little deeper and find their own meaning in its words. These songs are deliberately intended to play off each other both lyrically and musically. While the record seethes with justifiable rage, its wider-reaching aim is to unify and inspire action, not to divide and create inertia. Superficially, the album tells isolated stories, but there are references to the Goetia, Yoruba, and obscure occult literature and history.

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.

Zeal & Ardor is the brainchild of Manuel Gagneux, a Swiss-American formerly based in New York City. His approach draws on an alternate history and stems from two thoughts: Christianity was imposed upon American slaves, just as it was imposed in Norway, and black metal in the ’90s grew as a rebellion to monotheism. What would have happened if American slaves had rebelled in the same way? Or put bluntly: What would satanic spirituals sound like? First album Devil Is Fine was released globally in February 2017. Zeal & Ardor have been generating significant buzz ever since, with accolades piling up from both musical peers and international media, including Noisey, Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Kerrang!, The Guardian, The Independent, Metal Hammer, Upset, Brooklyn Vegan, and many more.