Written by rick florino (mnrk music group)
The clash of disparate elements activates innovation, and every generation brings us timeless figures who accidentally spark a new revolutionary sound within the music world. Chuck Berry mixed jazz, blues, gospel and country music to create Rock N Roll. A few decades later, Ozzy Osbourne turned up the gain to create Heavy Metal. And since the early 2000s, Federico Ágreda Álvarez, the masked performer known to the world as DJ and producer Zardonic, has harnessed the power of the nexus between Drum & Bass and Heavy Metal to create the sound that is now known as Metal & Bass.
Born and raised in Venezuela, inspired by America, and based in Germany with a passport book stamped into oblivion, he also represents a union of cultures. In his music, these elements charge forward on a collision course towards a future without creative or spiritual borders. Instead, the award-winning artist draws an inimitable energy from this confluence. Following a prolific string of releases, high-profile remixes and video game collaborations, packed shows on multiple continents, and 100 million-plus streams, he realizes the power and potential of his vision like never before on his 2023 full-length offering Superstars [MNRK HEAVY].
“It’s been a long road trying to find the perfect flashpoint between the metal and electronic worlds,” he states about his third MNRK studio album, which follows Antihero (2015) and Become (2018). “To me, music is a direct translation of human emotion. I’m all about bringing sounds and people together with no boundaries at all. I don’t like limits, so my approach is to be limitless.”
Boundlessness has defined his output since day one. Zardonic has cultivated an expansive catalog of original tracks and remixes for platinum icons, leaving his imprint on Pop Evil, Fear Factory, Bullet For My Valentine and Sonic Syndicate, among others. He has also contributed music to soundtracks for videogames such as Superhot: Mind Control Delete and Redout 2, plus features on All Elite Wrestling, TNT and NBC Sports.
He’s the rare force of nature who can earn praise from both YourEDM and Metal Injection. Renowned as “Venezuela’s Top DJ Act,” he has impressively toppled Beatport’s Drum & Bass Releases of the Week and Amazon’s Hard Rock Bestsellers at #1. Not to mention, he even appeared in Warlocks Vs Shadows, standing out as “the first Latin American musician to ever be featured as a playable character in a video game.”, and if you’re a music producer yourself, chances are you’ve already used a few of his hundreds of factory presets and artist packs he’s created for Arturia, Brainworx, Slate Digital, BABY Audio, GForce Software, and many more.
As if reflecting progression in palpable form, Zardonic’s signature mask has evolved with him.
“To some extent, every mask marks the end of an era in my life and my way to approach music,” he notes. “The mask from the Become album and recent tours received a lot of battle damage. I had to constantly glue it back together. The paint scraped off. It wore a lot of scars with pride, yet it was a huge weight on my shoulders because no longer want to these scars to rule my decisions. Hence, the new mask is the exact opposite: shiny, sparkly and full of life. You could say I’m constantly resurrecting the Zardonic character, so to speak.”
The new album features an assortment of international talents from the Drum & Bass and Hard Rock worlds, including UK singer/songwriter Reebz, featured on the single “Bitter”, as well as Nazareth singer Carl Sentance, Toronto Is Broken, Daedric, Hevy, Bruno Balanta from The Qemists, Rage guitarist Jean Bormann, Blitz Union, norwegian Blackjazz virtuosos SHINING, The Surgery & MC Reptile, Mechanical Vein, Camo MC, and Omnimar. “I am humbled to have such a strong relationship with a group of amazing people. I could spend hours writing about them, but they know themselves that if we’re working together, it’s because they mean a great deal to me. My most important thing is being able to genuinely connect with the people I work with. If I can’t have fun with an artist, there’s simply no point in it, and I am glad to call these amazing Superstars my friends.”
In the end, Zardonic will unite listeners with Superstars.
“At the core of everything, I try to breathe life into people,” he leaves off. “I’m blessed enough to be able to do what I love the most, and that is Music. Music is my own form of self-healing. It allows me to float above the darkness. Maybe, it will do the same for you.”
“It’s hardly unusual these days for bass artists to weave snarling rock riffs or speed metal-esque percussion into their festival sets. But there’s one producer who walked so current crossover acts — names like Kayzo and the string-shredding Sullivan King — could run. Zardonic has honed an ever-evolving soundprint, wherein visceral electronic beats meet rock’s razor-sharp edge.” – DJ MAG USA
"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." ben HUNTER (UKF / DJ MAG UK / D&R)
"A perfect flashpoint and balance between divergent styles joined together through a prism of aggression, atmosphere and absolute immersion." -Ryan J. Downey, MTV / Billboard / Alternative Press
"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