Saturday, June 11, 2016

Zeal and Ardor : "Devil is Fine"

This is getting some buzz over at my other home Cvlt Nation, but I'm not wowed by the negro spirituals that open this album since I already heard last years Algiers album. There is some Sigur Rios like ambiance in the piano line that follows the song. They get heavier on the second song "In Ashes" that carries a chain gang call and response. The mix is kinda murky, when the so called black metal comes in it feels more like industrial. I don't feel the impact of this dynamic is fully realized due to how it sounds like two albums are being played at the same time rather than this being blended in way that gives their more metal side some punch. There is a interlude that blends trap electro and world music, but it's not really a song with it's own two legs. They come back with the blues soaked "Come on Down" which without the un-blended metal moments is still very Algiers. This is the best mixture of all their varied sounds that they have presented up to this point in the album. There is a more mall like riff that leads them back into the more furious explosion. They get darker and more straight forward metal with some experimental leanings on "Children's Summon" which is still somewhat hampered by the production flaws. In the more syncopated portion this is not as glaring. The synths are way high in the mix.

They are back on the chain gang on "Blood In the River", this side of the band just has me thinking back to Algiers who sonically packs more punch without being metal. The blending of the two styles faces more challenges on this song. There are things I like about what is going on here, this just needed much more love in the studio, as the drum sound on the build up here is terrible. There is a little bit of Mr. Bungle like jazz on "What is a Killer like you gonna do here?". The bass tone that could have built this up in a more Nick Cave manner, is very thin and the guitar solo would have been better recorded on a guitar that had been tuned. If you missed out on the Algiers album then I am sure this is going sound like some next level shit, or if you heard it and wished that Algiers had tried to be a metal band, then you might be almost as impressed. I doubt the two later interludes will impress you unless you like video game music from the era of Sega Genesis. I'll round this down to a 7 as the production really kills it for me. Just dialing in certain tones and mic placement on the amps would have made a world of difference, I didn't need this to sound like something ready for mainstream radio, but I needed it to sound like it has more depth than being recorded in their bed room.

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