Overall Score: 9/10 performance : 10/10 setlist selection: 9/10 overall presentation: 9/10 Pros: Blistering live performance from one of metal's most interesting bands Cons: Virtually nothing
Zeal & Ardor are one of the most unique and spellbinding bands in the current metal scene. Lead by the enigmatic Manuel Gagneux, their blending of spiritual slave music and black metal is certainly something that needs to be heard to be believed. With that said the studio cannot do the band the justice they deserve and to see them live is to truly appreciate their majesty.
Live in London, the bands first live album was recorded at The Electric Ballroom in Camden last December and is an absolute juggernaut of an experience. This is perhaps the most intense and visceral live album I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. It’s very rare that a live recording truly captures the experience,the complete opposite is the case here.
Featuring ferocious renditions of Don’t you dare, Fire in Motion and the haunting Gravedigger’s Chant, these tracks come alive and take on a far more insidious and wide ranging form live drawing the audience into this dark and mysterious world that had been created for them.
Servants and Blood in the River remain two of the band’s stand outs showcasing the scope and bredth of the band’s growth over the course of their two studio albums while also anchoring this release to a fairly potent moment in the bands career. It’s astounding to hear a band knock out a 22 song setlist that already feels like it’s comprised of classic material with only 2 studio albums and 4 new songs to draw from.
The 4 new tracks on here Include Baphomet,We Never Fall, Head Low and Cut Me. It shows extreme confidence on the part of Manuel and the band that they can and do dole out songs that their audience had never heard before and mange to slot them in so seamlessly. It’s a bold move and one that ultimately pays off. These songs are a testament not only to the vision of Manuel himself but also the execution of that vision and the legacy he is starting to build Zeal & Ardor and gives the fans something to get very excited about going forward.
Live in London is a pulse pounding release from one of metal’s most interest and brilliant new bands. This is the new gold standard for live releases and it sets a high bar that many may find hard to follow.