Zeal & Ardor - Devil Is Fine album review

Swiss multi-instrumentalist mixes it up… mixes it ALL up…

Cover art for Zeal & Ardor DEVIL IS FINE

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Devil Is Fine serves as Manuel Gagneux’s debut release through this one-man project, as he smashes extreme music against African American spirituals alongside a lullaby-inducing electro triptych.

Black metal is perverted through Come On Down’s tremolo-picked fury and shrieking, but then it’s into gorgeous blues croons, classic metal riffing, and back to Satan squeezing Manuel’s knackersack. Whether the genres run in tandem or successively, the blend’s never jarring. Children’s Summon is basically In Flames at their melodeath best channelling Rotting Christ. What Is A Killer Like You Gonna Do Here’s standup bass and rockabilly riffs are ridiculous, but so is the entire record. And it’s so catchy. Manuel seems to be an expert on his chosen genres, the chains on the title track and Blood In The River ringing with authenticity as he links Christian oppression of US slaves to Norway’s history. Behind its ideals, Devil Is Fine presents a sonic soup leaking over the table; if Manuel scoops it into one bowl, he’ll be unbeatable.

Alec Chillingworth

Alec is a longtime contributor with first-class BA Honours in English with Creative Writing, and has worked for Metal Hammer since 2014. Over the years, he's written for Noisey, Stereoboard, uDiscoverMusic, and the good ship Hammer, interviewing major bands like Slipknot, Rammstein, and Tenacious D (plus some black metal bands your cool uncle might know). He's read Ulysses thrice, and it got worse each time.