Sometimes, when the news is full of Cthulhu-level madness and your mentions are full of trolls, you need to go and do something just for yourself. And when you’re me, that might involve dancing to music about Satan, slavery, and the reasonable fear of imminent death.
Please see my previous post and its reminder that some people juggle geese.
I will agree that this is not relaxing. I know only one way to relax, and it requires a chaise lounge, a cup of coffee, and a good book. But relaxing doesn’t, as the kids say, help to “shake it off.” For that, we have music.
I happened to catch Zeal and Ardor this past week, and I have to say, they’re worth checking out. Their latest album, Stranger Fruit, is based on the concept of exploring American slavery. With a stunning combination of Southern blues, R&B tonality and black metal, the band encourages the audience to share in the heartbreak, grief, and fury that comes with the legacy of oppression, and then reclaims their own power to address that now, with all of us fighting together. Heavy bass lines you can feel in your chest, and sound so full it’ll raise the hair on your arms works to draw you bodily into the music while haunting lyrics focus your movement on the act of revolution.
It was absolutely stunning, a perfect blend of things you want to rock out to and things you want to fix–form and function blending with all these unlikely genres to something unique and yet universal. There really is nothing like hearing a Black man rise from Louisiana-style blues to screaming metal while chanting the words
“These are the eyes that saw them die
These are the hands that dug their graves
So don’t let anybody tell you that you’re safe.”
(You Ain’t Coming Back)
In this era of Black Lives Matter, the poignancy of this message is keenly felt. But Zeal and Ardor isn’t preaching (well, unless you’re looking to join a Satanic church, then yes, sermons start at 10 am). They just encourage us to join in, to mobilize, to come together, dance, think, and promise we won’t make false promises of safety. Insomuch as the songs were about the horrors of enslavement, the music focused more on the right of self-determination and the power of freedom.
I definitely recommend giving them a listen if you’re a fan of blues, metal, punk, or related genres. I’ve never heard anything like it.
Their music can also be found in my Summoner Sisters read-along playlist. As you’ve maybe noticed, music is a Big Deal to me and I’d love to share the sounds that motivate and inspire me! And maybe you can tell me what you think would work well with the playlist or the books! New music is best music. Bring it. Unless it’s disco, because I said music, not crimes. (FIGHT ME!)