Heavy metal synthwave – is it a thing? Does it exist? Or is there just flickers of metal riffs in a few synthwave tracks? The answer is there are most certainly heavy metal synthwave pioneers. Forging a path with diverse musical soundscapes. Bridging the two genres. That is one of my goals with Jon of the Shred. And with Scythe Saga Records in general. I strive to create a new sound. A signature sound, music that’s unlike anything else being produced. I write the music I want to hear, the music I wish other people were making. Taking my favorite elements from my favorite bands and composers, and figuring out how that would sound in my head. With my 6th album, I continue the trend of forging new musical paths. Mixing and blending a variety of genres. Introducing….THE DAWN OF PARAGON.
Heavy Metal Synthwave – Jon of the Shred’s “The Dawn of Paragon”
In my 6th album I felt more compelled to focus on the human condition. The Dawn of Paragon is yet another concept album in the Scythe Saga Universe. This story follows Dr Zaine Grimm, founder of Paragon, through his early years. The first half of the album references a broad range of emotions. “The Wonders of Discovery” is an anthem for passion. Dr Grimm is driven by his interest in science to better the planet Scythe. The song is uplifting, but features passages reflecting the inner struggle of always seeking to learn more. To gain more knowledge. To improve. The song dances around from orchestral movements to funk-laden metal grooves and cinematic synthwave breakdowns.
“Visions” is more about the fear of the unknown. An uncertainty of the future. Grimm is plagued by visions of the apocalypse. But instead of allowing the fear of the unknown to impede his research, it only inspires him to push himself further. This track blends my signature heavy metal synthwave sound with more symphonic orchestral moments. It ends with a tribute to Spaghetti Western soundtracks. (Something I did much earlier on my debut album Apocalyptic Dawn in the track “Herd of the Dead.”)
The good times return for Grimm with the track “Youthful Excess.” This number reflects Grimm’s college years. What good is saving the planet without enjoying what it has to offer?! This track has a light tone to it. A party vibe. This heavy metal synthwave blend takes cues from a wide variety of my favorite influences. Meat Loaf, X-Japan, Van Halen, Deep Purple. This track features a very special guest. Damokles joins me to add a ton of extra noise. Honky tonk pianos, additional rock organ riffs, and some crazy Styx sounding moog solos.
The fourth track is called “The Beauty of Life,” and it represents a few key moments in Grimm’s life. It represents him meeting his wife, and the birth of their daughter. The chord progressions and movements in this song are very old. I composed many of these parts back in 2009 and 2010. Older versions of the track exist, but this version is entirely reworked. The ideas finally evolved into my original vision for the track. A large, pompous, Wagnerian rock opera number that rivals the scope of a Jim Steinman penned Meat Loaf epic.
The synthwave roots start to show more on the fifth track. “Going Underground” represents Dr Grimm doing just that. He takes his research underground, having been stigmatized by the mainstream media. After discovering a potentially cataclysmic planetary alignment at the edge of the Scythian Solar System, Grimm tries to make his revelations public. But he is immediately silenced. This heavy metal synthwave track represents that struggle. While Grimm is away, and reaching a breakthrough in his Ecliptic Prophecy hypothesis, his infant daughter tragically dies. This moment is represented in the 6th track, “Tragedy.” The song is both sorrowful and laced towards the end with a bit of bittersweet frustration.
The next track, “Two More for the Road,” represents a binge of alcoholism. Grimm is drinking away his sorrows. His relationship with his wife has come to an end. His daughter is dead. The track stumbles and swings like a drunk. The descending chord progression is a melodic call to Grimm’s descent into insanity. All of his efforts, all of his work to save the planet….and he couldn’t even save his own daughter. The visions he gets of his deceased child are infinitely more troubling than the apocalyptic visions of his younger years.
In “A Determined Pledge,” Grimm sobers up. With a newly reinvigorated sense of purpose, Grimm decides to continue his studies. The tragedy will only serve to motivate him to prevent any other parent from going through what he had. He begins gathering other fringe scientists and philosophers to his cause. They begin to plan the construction of a research on the Outcast Islands, away from the laws of the government of Sabit. There was nothing left for Grimm in his hometown of Donovan City.
In “The Scythian Solar System,” Grimm reaches a major breakthrough. During the construction of the Outcast Island Outpost, Grimm and his team discover ancient technology. Technology that existed thousands of cycles prior. The remnants of a lost civilization. This discovery adds more fuel to the fire of Grimm’s Ecliptic Prophecy. But what they unearth as they dig further is truly awe-inspiring. A space craft. With some proper restoration and research, Grimm deduces they could unlock space travel. Their work had only just begun.
This album is the sixth Jon of the Shred album. It’s available on a variety of stores, including Itunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, Spotify, and more. This heavy metal synthwave symphony is unlike anything you’ve ever heard. A very important piece in the puzzle that is the lore of Scythe. I hope you all enjoy the album. Leave your thoughts below in the comments!