While the nation, and the world, are taking about all sorts of aspects involved with diversity, and we see clear enemies trying to stomp it out, the metal community is having their own conversations about diversity. This isn’t new territory for metal and diversity has been a hot button issue for years but with the heated political climate and elevated dialogs, it’s again on the tip of the community.

When talking about diversity in metal one band that is bound to come up over and over again is Zeal and Ardor. Since they released their first album last year, and started playing out, they’ve been talked about and analyzed over and over again and now, I’ve finally given them a listen, and yeah, they definitely live up to the hype.

Eclectic is the first word that springs to mind and that’s really where all the hype is coming from, how the band, led by a Swiss-American, is mixing blues, chain gang/slave songs, African-American spiritual roots, and black metal. Truly that sounds like an extremely odd mix of music and often they’re separated on the album, but the moments where they all meet are something of a creative explosion. It’s inspiring to hear such creativity unfurl before you and to be surprised at what comes next.

Surely there’s a lot more going on with this as well. The vocalists crooning, blues drenched vocals fit extremely well with the abrasive and often beautiful music and it reminds me of the chaotic and experimental nature of Sigh, particularly there more power metal moments (nobody will admit it but there are power metal guitars here and there on this) or more recently, the over the top excess and mashup style of Rebel Wizard’s negative metal.

There’s also some middle eastern vibes, EDM elements, a music box, and much more, layered carefully throughout. It’s never boring, always engaging, and fucking original.

Get their debut album on Bandcamp.