Right Hand, Up. Left Hand, Down.

The sign of Baphomet. I took the title of this post from the lyrics of the song “Baphomet” by Zeal and Ardor, which has become one of my favorite new bands to come out in a long time. I’m always skeptical when someone tells me to check out a new band because people think because I like metal I’m going to listen to death or doom metal, of which I don’t particular care for at all, the one exception being Opeth.

Zeal and Ardor: Baphomet

Zeal and Ardor, however, were unique. This was a metal I’d never heard before. The way the lead singer and founder of the band describes his singing is, “I sing Satanic lyrics in a gospel voice.” I know what you’re thinking. “Whoa. Wait a minute now. Satan?” Yes. The band formed at first as a “fuck you” to someone being racist on 4chan when the founder, Manuel Gagneux was looking for inspiration and asked the people of the site to give him ideas of two genres of music to combine. Someone replied, “Death metal and nigger music.” As a middle finger to them, he combined death metal and negro spirituals much like the American slaves in the South would sing.

Zeal and Ardor – Blood in the River

With the sound being put in place, the lyrical themes he said deal with the question of “What if the slaves back then embraced Satanism instead of Christianity?” So what you have is something that explores that idea and it’s beautiful. It’s unique. It’s something that I have come to find the more and more I try to get people into, they’re just not into it and I’m OK with that.

I saw them live last month with a friend of mine. He’s the only friend I know that likes them as much as I do so he agreed to go with me. I’ve seen every band/musician from Ozzy to Marilyn Manson to Tool to Metallica, etc. and Zeal and Ardor have by far been my best live concert experience. I don’t know what it is about them. Is it the enigmatic nature of the members themselves? The themes they explore in their music? The originality of the whole concept they’ve created? Whatever it is, I feel I have my own band to turn to when things look bleak.

Zeal and Ardor – Built on Ashes

I say that because sometimes I tend to get people interested in musicians, people that I have fallen for in some form or another and that person leaves, leaving me with shit memories of them as I listen to bands that used to lift me up with their music, but now all I can think when I listen is “I used to listen to this with such and such. Fuck this song.” So maybe it’s a good thing that not many people are as into Zeal and Ardor as I am. I have this band that is my own in a way, and I can turn to them when I’m going through one of my particularly dark phases as I cope with and manage my bipolar disorder.

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