Shredder 1984 is the project of French darksynth producer Steven Schriver. He also plays in two metal bands, Can of Worms (thrash/death) and Silent Opera (progressive death metal).
“Prophet of Doom” is a “special quarantine album” Shredder 1984’s which features six tracks of metallic darksynth clocking in at a runtime of around thirty minutes. The cover artwork was created by a really talented tattoo artist from Bayonne, France named La Belette Bleue. The color scheme of the artwork is really eye-popping which successfully combines a glowy fuchsia with an overwhelming amount of neon seafoam green. In the center of the painting is featured a very sexy looking prophet/oracle of doom who appears to be, at least to me, a demonic form of Lady Justice herself. It seems she’s had enough of humanity’s shit, so she’s taken her blindfold off to deliver some brutal justice to the world. Behind her are a bunch of evil looking critters and a city that looks like it’s been laid to waste. I quite like the artwork, as it reminds me of Dimmu Borgir’s “Godless Savage Garden.”
Musically, “Prophet of Doom,” is quite epic sounding, in a melodramatic sort of way. And while I would classify this album as being under the darksynth genre umbrella I think that it’s also very different too. I say this because Shredder 1984 definitely has a sound that’s unique to him. Out of the hundreds of hours of darksynth I’ve subjected myself to over the last ten years or so I can’t say I’ve heard anything remotely like Shredder 1984. His signature sound is encapsulated underneath a wall of gritty sounding guitars combined with synthetic soft-clipped bass sounds. From a technical stand point, I would be curious to see how exactly he EQed the palm-muted wall of guitars to sit with the heavy bass in this recording. I reckon that there’s a decent amount of automation going on that helps this process, but I can’t really say for sure. If I had to guess, I think that a lot of the guitars are actually synthetic à la reFx guitar expansions but I’d like to think I am wrong. Regardless, I’m honestly kind of impressed with how well these two elements co-exist together since I feel that nothing substantial has been lost in the mix. That said, I do think that the lead guitars suffer a little bit in the mix from how upfront the low end can be at times.
There is a rather liberal use of orchestral sounding choirs, organs, and trailing arpeggios that line the high end and and mids for “Prophet of Doom.” One of the best moments that showcases this aspect of Shredder 1984 comes in the form of a musical reprise of “Sharpen that Guillotine” with “Oracle Interlude.” If I had to pick a song off the album deserving of a music video treatment it would probably be “Justice Outbreak.” It stands out to me as the most single sounding of the bunch and shows off everything that “Prophet of Doom” is doing in one song.
Overall, I think that “Prophet of Doom” is worthy of a listen. To me, it stands out as one of the cooler releases of 2020. So if you happen to like your darksynth sounding post-apocalyptic with a slight tinge of horror there might be something here for you.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Darksynth fans looking for something a little more metallic.
Stand-Out Tracks: “Prophet of Doom,” (my favorite track from the album), “Sharpen that Guillotine,” “Justice Outbreak.”
Album Color Profile: #512E5F
You can find all things Shredder 1984 at https://shredder1984.bandcamp.com/