Zeal & Ardor's merch table at recent shows began offering free merchandise to fans. Unfortunately this piece of free merchandise came in the form of a red-hot iron branding Zeal & Ardor's logo permanently into your flesh, because you get what you pay for. Zeal & Ardor frontman Manuel Gagneux says the branding iron was forged by the band's merch guy, and as for the act itself, "the venues aren't too enthused about it."
So why even let this happen in the first place? Gagneux tells The Guardian he hoped nobody would do it because the branding represents not thinking for yourself, and it was more of a thinking exercise than anything else. So if you're one of those eight people, maybe stop reading here.
“The intent was that no one would ever do it. Because that’s the whole thing: you don’t want this brand. If you do, you’re just an idiot who is following, not thinking for yourself. If they want to underline my statement, that’s fine with me. But eight people is enough. If they don’t get the symbolism, let’s not encourage them.”
Gagneux also discusses the concepts of Satanism in his music, and how he thinks it should be portrayed.
"There’s the embracing of the self and the ego, and being at peace with the fact that you have needs and wants, and the pursuit of those to a degree where you get as close to fulfilling yourself without stepping on other people’s toes. As opposed to some Christian tendencies to just suppress those urges. That’s why I chose Robert Smalls for the cover of the first album. He was very determined about what he wanted – freed himself [from slavery in 1862], freed others, stole a ship, became a politician. It’s pretty extreme.”
Zeal & Ardor's new album Stranger Fruit is out June 8. It doesn't come with a branding iron.