Zeal & Ardor’s Manuel Gagneux: “If I limited myself to Black music and black metal, I’d end up painting myself in a corner”

Zeal & Ardor
(Image credit: Katja Ogrin/Redferns)

Swiss American multi-instrumentalist Manuel Gagneux formed Zeal & Ardor in 2014 on a dare to combine black metal with Black music. The resulting hybrid of buzzsaw riffs, trip-hop groove, haunting lyrics and gravedigger chants turned heads, and the feedback convinced him to continue the project, which he called Zeal & Ardor.

“I’ve never believed in boundaries,” Gagneux says days before beginning a tour with Opeth and Mastodon. “I love combining all these different styles I’m into and just take them in whatever direction feels inspiring. Then I throw it all up against the wall to see what sticks. I’ve done that since the beginning.” 

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Jon Wiederhorn

Jon is an author, journalist, and podcaster who recently wrote and hosted the first 12-episode season of the acclaimed Backstaged: The Devil in Metal, an exclusive from Diversion Podcasts/iHeart. He is also the primary author of the popular Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal and the sole author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends. In addition, he co-wrote I'm the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax (with Scott Ian), Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen (with Al Jourgensen), and My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory (with Roger Miret). Wiederhorn has worked on staff as an associate editor for Rolling Stone, Executive Editor of Guitar Magazine, and senior writer for MTV News. His work has also appeared in Spin, Entertainment Weekly, Yahoo.com, Revolver, Inked, Loudwire.com and other publications and websites.