Dreddd / Black Goat Quadrilogy
I've said it before and I'll say it again, right here and now...Dreddd is one of the hardest working artists in synthwave. While everyone else is putting out the sporadic album here and there, or perhaps and EP or two, Dreddd is steadily dropping full length albums like it's nothing. You'd half expect some sort of drop-off in quality eventually, but that's not the case. In fact, somehow he continues to better himself, and in doing so has created a serious name for himself in synthwave.
Today's article is focusing on the Black Goat quadrilogy of albums. In less than half a year we've seen the release of not one, not two, or even three Dreddd albums. No, he's dropped four...FOUR albums in that span, and I thought that deserved some extra attention. Initially intended to stretch out as releases over the course of the year, we were lucky enough to get all four in a much more condensed time period, essentially making the first half of 2018 the property of one man...Dreddd.
Black Goat Part 1, released in January of 2018, is the catalyst for the journey we're embarking on today. It's honestly strong enough on its own to warrant a deeper examination, blending more styles than you can possibly imagine into a tight, dark synth package. Ranging from atmospheric pieces that lull you into a sense of security to cyberpunk shredders that pull you back down into the abyss, it's honestly what he does in the gray areas in between that makes the record so memorable. Nobody has the range of focus that Dreddd seems to maneuver through easily. As a listener it keeps you on your toes...it makes you feel alive...which was the whole point of this set of albums...to make you feel, no matter the emotions, alive. In this, Dreddd has succeeded in his mission.
Black Goat Part 2, released in April of 2018, sets off alarms of danger almost immediately after hitting play, like you've stumbled onto something you aren't supposed to see or experience. It sets you on the edge of a precipice and doesn't let gain your bearings until the final seconds have ticked away. The album opener, "Eraser," is one of the most intense tracks I've ever heard, no matter the genre. As a whole, Black Goat Part 2 feels bigger and more expansive in scope than Part 1. If this was a story being told, Part 1 was the part that gets you comfortable and an idea of where things are going. Part 2 is where the hooks come out and strap you to the chair. I am telling you this as someone who writes about synthwave on an almost daily basis...you've never heard anything like this before. This is one of the greatest dark synth albums on the market. Period.
July's Black Goat Part 3 shows that just when you thought Dreddd had shown all of his cards, he laughs an evil laugh and drops this beast of a record. This is the musical equivalent of a match being thrown into a keg of gunpowder. There's no warning...no chance to escape...just explosive combustion that melts the skin off your bones. You may think I'm being dramatic or using creative writing flair, but you're mistaken. Black Goat Part 3 is heavy to the core but there's something here you're probably not expecting...a level of creativity and sophistication that you don't find in records like this. You often hear a lot of repetition from artists who dabble in the darker side of synthwave, but Dreddd has hammered out 20 tracks of varying levels of blackness like it was a walk in the park.
As if one scorcher wasn't enough for July, Dreddd dropped Black Goat Part 4 on us while we tried to clear away the debris and ash that Part 3 left behind. With enough tracks to be a double album, this record represents the coda to one of the most ambitious musical projects the scene has ever had the chance to experience. Part 4 feels like the most progressive and experimental of the set, diving into new sounds and blends. It blows my mind that Dreddd is still finding new avenues to explore after creating the synthwave equivalent of Stephen King's Dark Tower series. While others are out there looking for artists to mimic, Dreddd is out here cutting down trees and making the paths that others are going to follow for years to come.
It goes without saying that you need to get yourself over to Bandcamp and pick these albums up. In fact, the entire Dreddd discography will cost you what you'd pay for one album if you went to a mall record store. Do yourself a favor and support one of the true visionaries out there taking risks.