Stepping in as a replacement for Heriot, four-piece Lake Malice exploded onto the stage at Electric Brixton with their energetic sound. Formed only last year in Brighton, England, the band have a commanding presence. Vocalist Alice Guala exuded pure confidence, alternating between screaming, singing, and rapping whilst she leaped around vivaciously in front of the crowd who jumped up and down with her.
They played “Black Turbine”, a new single that would not be released for another three days, and also shared that the last-minute show was their biggest-ever gig.
Leaving Londoners cheering and sufficiently hyped up for the headlining act, the alt-metal outfit wrapped up their set in just over twenty minutes. Their expansive take on nu-metal and people’s positive reception to it proved that the genre is back and is being received well by many.
At nine o’clock sharp, to an intro that incorporated sections of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”, Zeal & Ardor arrived in front of their eager clapping fans before delivering the blasphemous “Church Burns”.
By the end of “Gotterdammerung”, Zeal mastermind Manuel Gagneux’s hood came down as he and fellow guitarist Tiziano Volante thrashed themselves in time to the infectiously heavy number. The onstage enthusiasm was echoed in a burgeoning mosh pit that brewed in the middle of the standing area.
“Good evening friends, enemies, and those still under review!” the frontman cried to the ecstatic audience, who threw an array of devil horns and clenched fists up in response. It was then explained that backing vocalists Denis Wagner & Marc Obrist were absent due to illness, though Gagneux was more than capable of holding his own as the sole live vocalist on the night, armed with two microphones that projected his already powerful voice.
“We Can’t Be Found” triggered off the first act of crowd surfing, while front-rowers chanted along lines such as “blood for the new god!” Demonstrating his satisfaction with the fevered reaction, the lead singer cracked open a beer near his mics and raised his can as a way to say cheers before he drank from it.
A furious performance of “Tuskegee” was the first of two tracks performed from Z & A’s only EP to date. Inspired by a 40-year medical experiment that was conducted on African American males in the mid-twentieth century, the black metal riffs and blast beats sent several crowd surfers into the photo pit. Digging the high notes during the delivery of the song’s title, members of the audience raised their hands to hold invisible oranges.
The crowd surfers were keen to show their appreciation during “Feed The Machine”. One repeat offender managed to be catapulted into a member of security’s arms.
Between the songs “Death To The Holy” and “Trust No One”, it was announced by Manuel that the show was being recorded and would be available for purchase afterward. He also encouraged people to tip at the merchandise stand and mentioned as they cheered excitedly when they realized the entire set was being filmed professionally.
After “Don’t You Dare”, Mr. Gagneux divulged: “There is the distinct taste of blood in my mouth…. so, I hope you’ll help me sing this next song,” and fans were beyond happy to comply, as they lent their own voices to the call-and-response song “Devil Is Fine”. There was a comedic moment that saw the singer nudge a security guard with his foot because he was leaning on the edge of the stage.
Taking a brief break whilst “Sacrilegium III” could be heard through the PA system, the quartet returned as the instrumental track ended to the sound of the crowd clapping for an encore.
“J-M-B” (an abbreviation of “jazz metal, baby”), was a rhythm section highlight, as Marco Von Allmen’s drumming took precedence and a bass solo by Lukas Kurmann at the end received a round of applause.
Their final song “Baphomet” was jokingly introduced as “Despactio” and the frontman went on to say that it comes with a cool little Satan pose. An excellent display of crowd participation, those with enough room to mirror the actions for the lyrics “right hand, left hand down” acted out by Manuel Gagneux, some even head banged simultaneously.
Many of those who were present heard three songs (“Tuskegee”, “Golden Liar” and “Erase”) live for the first time, as they had not been played at their previous London show this year supporting Meshuggah. The Swiss genre benders ended the UK leg of their tour on top form, showcasing chapters from all of their releases in their eventful and moving hour-and-fifteen-minute set.
Zeal & Ardor setlist:
- Church Burns
- Ship on Fire
- Row Row
- Blood in the River
- Gravedigger’s Chant
- We Can’t Be Found
- Feed the Machine
- Golden Liar
- Death to the Holy
- Trust No One
- Don’t You Dare
- Devil Is Fine
Outro: Sacrilegium III
- I Caught You