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Written by Ben Hunter (UKF / DJ Mag / D&R)
Whilst Drum & Bass and Metal have evolved along completely different historical trajectories and draw distinct crowds to unrelated events, they share a stylistic rooting in raw, unadulterated energy and an unabashed tendency to reside on the fringes. Neither are mainstream, both make you want to move and the inherent message is one of creative expression without boundaries or limits.
It's this rejection of boundaries which defines Zardonic. Born and raised in Venezuela and defying both the UK-centric focus of Drum & Bass and the anti-electronic cultism of Metal music, Zardonic’s musical mission is to stir the sonic melting pot, to blend and cultivate a sound that resonates with music fans who worship energy above all else.
The result is an aesthetic that strikes a chord with the discordant, those who feel let down by the superficiality of the mainstream and who desire something more substantial. Zardonic uses his mask and his tendency for pummeling, cross-genre beats to both visually and audibly create alternative perspectives on what music can be; concentration replaces dilution and the results are far from monolithic. His music covers a dearth of atmospheres and as snarling riffs surge through dancefloor orientated bangers, more contemplative cuts lie in the background providing depth and melancholic ambience.
This singular drive sees its clearest manifestations in Antihero and Become, his 2015 and 2018 albums that, more than any other projects, display his now-renowned capacity for aggressive musical construction and potent collaboration. With features and remixes from Celldweller, Evol Intent, The Qemists, Dub Elements and more, both long plays represent Zardonic’s overwhelming presence in not one but two international music communities. Antihero rejects the allure of dead heroes who consistently prove all too convenient and are often used as a nationalist tool for mass manipulation, whilst Become decries the hypocrisy of the revolution and its endless cycle of broken promises. Both records therefore channel Zardonic’s experiences into a flurry of drum & bass percussive lines, metallic scars and soaring punk vocals. Dancefloor pressure needs a message and Zardonic never fails to write them in giant, searing print.
Outside of album-length endeavours, his track ‘Bring It On’ with Mikey Rukus was used as the official theme for the NBCSN World Series of Fighting and he’s also remixed Bullet For My Valentine and Nine Inch Nails, and it’s a testament to Zardonic’s innate appeal that such a diverse range of audiences can see themselves in his sound.
These audiences are now spread all across the globe and his passionate fans – who call themselves zealots – reside in all continents and all walks of life. Having headlined events in 40 countries from the USA to Switzerland and Sri Lanka, Zardonic’s DJ sets exude an energy that could be matched to that found in the best live performances by household Rock artists. Nowhere is demonstrated this best than his 2016 headline set at the legendary Japanese Metal festival Loud Park, held at the 35,000 capacity Saitama Super Arena.
2019 saw fifteen years of Zardonic, nearly seven million streams on Spotify and three nominations in the prestigious Drum & Bass Arena Awards. What will the new decade bring? The specifics are unclear, but if the past decade and a half has taught Zardonic anything it’s that the rules are there to be broken. A torn rule book is a constant in his career and the record speaks for itself: Beatport, iTunes and Amazon #1s; Tower Records Japan Bestseller lists, Deutsche Alternative Charts, Best DJ and Artist Of The Year at the Union Rock Show Awards held in his homeland; the list of milestones continues to grow incessantly. Federico Ágreda Álvarez is not one to be slept on, and it is this spirit, this determination, that looks set to continue into 2020 and beyond.
"The fact that Zardonic does this all without a live band is fascinating and amazing." -Alice Roques, Rock Revolt Magazine
"Skrillex meets Slipknot" -Yori Sugiyama, JVC Kenwood Victor Entertainment Corporation
"The missing link between metal and Electronic Music." -Hypetrap
"Pendulum meets The Prodigy meets a sledgehammer right in your face!" -Jeryl Wilton, Infectious PR
"Fresh sonic mayhem pushed to the next level." -Lenny Dee, Industrial Strength
"The second coming of Ministry meets Knife Party." -Michael Diasio, Evol Intent
"Zardonic quite literally runs the gamut from Big Room House to brutal, guitar shredding Metal" -ClubHead.TV
"Think along the lines of Deadmau5 donning corpse paint and getting out on stage with capable musicians." -Metal Injection