Manuel Gagneux, the brainchild behind Zeal & Ardor, has unleashed a rootsy new ripper called "Baphomet." The track, released as part of Adult Swim's "Adult Swim Singles" series, showcases the mesmerizing blend of gospel and black-metal that made his 2016 breakout, Devil Is Fine, so compelling. It's less a song than a tug-of-war between heaven and hell, pitting handclaps, foot-stomps, choir-like vocals – the sonic equivalent of a Sunday service – against sputtering blast-beats and screeching guitars straight from the book of Mayhem. Listen below, and nab the track here.
Gagneux has framed the sinister approach to spirituals heard in tracks like "Baphomet" as his answer to a hypothetical question: what if American slaves embraced Satan instead of Christianity? When asked to outline this eyebrow-raising creative thought process, in an interview with Revolver last year, Gagneux responded, "Well, [there's] two things: Firstly, the black metal aspect of it and how the Norwegian people reacted to the Christianity imposed upon them; secondly, it struck me as odd that American slaves adopted the beliefs of their oppressors and masters in their very personal music. If they sung the spirituals truly for themselves, it's hard to believe that they incorporated Christianity into it. So [embracing Satan] seemed like an interesting form of rebellion, at least in my head," he concluded.