Zeal & Ardor provocateur Manuel Gagneux explains, “‘Waste’ is the introduction of the other half of Stranger Fruit. Fully incorporating the gospel and soul elements in black metal and never compromising in its intent. We give you this song as a second single because it’s not what one might expect to come next. This is the feeling that permeates the album as a whole as well. We hope you enjoy.”
Both “Gravedigger’s Chant” and “‘Waste” 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. 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 justifiable rage, its wider-reaching aim is to unify and inspire action, not to divide and create inertia. Hope tempers bleak melancholy. Superficially, the album tells small isolated stories, but there are also 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.