Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor

They do this soul-blues-metal whatever the third time, and it still works. I postponed playing this record for a long time because I thought two albums of this was probably enough, but here I am, finally listening to the third one, and it’s still great. It’s rawer and more metal-like than the previous ones perhaps, but I cannot even imagine repeating that smash-in-the-face-feeling of their first arrival when this whole style just blasted into the music scene.

Btw, it’s still hard to believe how ahead of the curve I was being on a Zeal & Ardor concert in a club in 2017, at the very moment when the first album dropped. And now, I cannot get a ticket to their stadium tour in town. But, they deserve all the fame and success, I just wish that they keep going.

I also feel like I don’t want to put them in a box and want them to stay there for ever. I can easily imagine this style to evolve and grow beyond what it is now. There’s already a process there that I see in their three-record span, and this is a band I wish won’t be afraid to reach further and innovate more.

Zeal & Ardor – Stranger Fruit

Zeal & Ardor hit extremely hard when it arrived with its blues rock meets death metal flavor. I couldn’t even imagine how they can follow this up with a second album. Maybe it is something that works like a concept record and should not be followed up. But then they announced a sophomore and I was cautious. They could have done something totally different and I might not like it. Or they might have become too famous with this too fast and have gone into some more compromising ways.

And now the album arrived and I am relived. This definitely isn’t the smasher the first one was simply because we have already seen the trick, but still it is completely okay and works just fine. Even at some points I feel like the guys were pushing the shrieking edge a bit too much to compensate for other parts or the feared expectations they felt people might have.

Anyhow, this is good. Works after several plays, too.