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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Nightsatan

Nightsatan and the Loops of Doom

Review by Mike Korn

30 years after the bombs fell, there’s not much live music any more. But there is Nightsatan. These three mysterious warriors stalk the atomic wastelands, fighting mutants and barbarians and also bringing the music of synthesizers to the blasted world of the future. Through some quirk of time travel, their music has now come to us. . . maybe as a warning?

Nightsatan is definitely one of the more unusual bands you will encounter. Hailing from Finland, the trio keep their true identities unknown but hide behind the acronyms of Wolf-Rami, Mazathoth and Inhalator II. One might imagine a band inspired by post-apocalyptic movies like The Road Warrior and After the Fall of New York might be metalheads, but one would be wrong. Instead Nightsatan plays synthesizer-based music that takes its cues from the soundtracks of John Carpenter as well as the music of Zombi and even Vangelis. They are nothing if not ambitious. They’ve just released a mini-movie known as Nightsatan and the Loops of Doom, where the trio encounter the sinister traps of a mad wasteland survivor. This is the soundtrack to the film and the music plays a key part in the story itself. If you can find the movie online, be warned it’s not for kiddies, with some pretty graphic gore and sex. But anybody who loved the cheap Italian post-apocalyptic films of the 80s will enjoy it.

Nightsatan’s music tends to be minimalist rather than bombastic, but here there’s a lot of variety to their approach and that keeps Nightsatan and the Loops of Doom interesting throughout. This is one of the more peculiar acts you can find today. This album kind of dragged in the middle but the last few tunes really elevated it.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Lost Karelia
Winds howl across the barren wastelands. Then we hear a mournful, crystalline synth tone. I’m reminded of some of Vangelis’ work for Blade Runner already.  It’s a slow and sad sounding piece that subtly creates of layers of synth tones to create a mood.
(Obey) Thy Master
This continues in much the same fashion as a simple, mysterious theme is repeated. A metronome-like drum beat kicks in.  Again the layering these guys do becomes obvious. It’s also notable that their synths have a very “retro” sound, nothing like what you’d hear on a modern video game. The pace and the beat picks up in the middle of the song and you can imagine a chase across the wasteland as it plays.
Of Wolf and Rami
This is dedicated to the skull-faced, feral member of Nightsatan and sounds like something you’d hear in a horror movie, with a nervous beat in the background, some big percussive strikes and a creepy vibe. It lasts only a little more than a minute.
Theme from Loops of Doom
This is one of the album’s best. Big, fat and ominous synths underlie the song as a repeated arpeggio swirls on the top. It has a truly cinematic sound and could serve as the theme introducing a “Vader” type villain into the story.  Sharper and higher tones come in on the top towards the end.
Secret of the Mystery
This bleeds over from the last song. There’s a rising and falling synth arpeggio that will bring 70s Pink Floyd to mind and over this is a poppier synth riff that brings 80s New Wave to mind.  Also, for the first time, there’s a guitar solo that appears and the guitar mirrors the main synth hook. This song is one of the longest on the album.
Doom Doom Girl
I had a feeling this would be an up-tempo tune but it starts very slowly, with a sound like the sun rising slowly over the mountains. It is the slowest and most minimal track so far. . . very spare and restrained,  with no percussion. You can hear something breathing in and out in the background. This is almost New Age style ambience.
Nightmare in the Night/ Doomsday Judgment
What sounds like a Gregorian chant leads to more spooky, minimal sounds. By now, the album could use an energetic track with some driving percussion. And about a minute and 45 seconds in, a drumbeat and a slightly more upbeat sound appears. The song still has a melancholy sound to it and there’s lots of layering of different tones here. The second part “Doomsday Judgment” gives the album the kick it needs and again sounds like the soundtrack to a “chase” scene.
Enter the Loop
This brief tune has some staccato synth beats and a very icy, cold sound to the main theme.
Mazathoth Speaks
Mazathoth is the  Boba Fett looking member of Nightsatan.  We get another repetitive synth loop here for this brief interlude.
Battle Knights
The repeated female scream that plays a part in the movie starts this off and then we get a cool fast-paced riff with a kick to it. This is obviously the soundtrack to a battle scene, although it has the same spare feel as the rest of the album.
Inhalator II Love Theme
This languid and melodic cut sounds like the accompaniment to a sci-fi sex scene. . . which is exactly what it is, as the most “human” member of Nightsatan couples with a girl from the wasteland. It’s soothing and laid back and features what almost sounds like a saxophone filtered through a synthesizer.
Rejects of the Wasteland
After the previous song, the thick, loud buzz that starts this tune almost blasts you out of your chair. This is by far the heaviest sounding track of the entire album, with huge low frequency riffs. That settles down into something quieter and more mysterious but just as compelling. It returns to that heavier sound, then slows down once more only to build to an epic conclusion. This is really spacey and easily my favorite tune here even though it’s the longest on the album.
Echoes of a Dying World
This qualifies as the album’s ballad and is an achingly sad and beautiful piece. It really does sound like a lament for a healthy, green world that has been turned into a desert full of desperate, lonely people. The main synth riff is so simple but effective.  A bleak wind brings it to a close.
Loops of Doom End Credits
A long monologue in the electronically distorted voice of Mazathoth introduces this song, which soon becomes a fast paced “chase” type of song with slithering synth tones over a strong background riff. It’s a good spacey jam to cap off the soundtrack!
 
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