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Three Girls and One Friday Night of Fear: Atom Force’s After Dark - Music Review

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Atom Force - after-dark

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Come on up to the house. The sun is setting on the beginning of a fabulous weekend. For the three girls at the center of this tale of transformation, the beginning steps of this secluded setting was easy enough. All that was required was a boombox, some beer, video games, and an evening free from adults.

Except, on this Friday night, there’s a killer on the loose. It’s identity, though, is going to surprise even you.

For Juliet, Tiffany, and Kelly, whose father owns the summer cabin the girls are staying at, the price of their weekend getaway is their own blood and it is drained just…

…After Dark.


Atom Force

Complete with its own short story, Atom Force’s After Dark is a pulsating revelation of synthesized terror. This fantastic 7-song arc creates an atmosphere where, yes, the medieval aspects of its guiding story – firmly established when Madonna’s “Lucky Star” dominated the radio – become believable.

Who needs a silver screen when you have your imagination and music like this?!

And it all gets started with “Ready for the Night”, a sparkling slab of saxophone and gauzy pads. Get thee back, Harold Faltermeyer. Atom Force is completely on fire, suggesting a theme song to this hellish night of endless blazes and murder most foul. The Roland hits are retro-fitted and add an unexpected depth to this most excellent tune.

And then, my favorite, “Don’t Go” kicks in with a synthageddon assault of brilliant highs and soothing washes. It is the cut-up voice, just this side of being understood, that guides us onto the dancefloor. Remember the club scene in the original Fright Night? That’s what it happening here: bodies swaying as some dark force attempts to take over the floor. Evil has plans for you.

"There’s something perfect to the tones of this ghoulishly spirited release."


But, like all great art, there is so much more to this tale of three teenagers alone on a Friday night. Vincent Price in House on Haunted Hill is included here, too. Skeletons floating in lakes of acid. Haunting images of beheadings and amputations. You name the horror and, trust me; some aspect of it is contained within these electronic fever dreams. “The creature has the mind of a murderer,” comes the quote from the void. Indeed!

There is no escape as “Murderous (Interlude)” leads us up the front steps. Complete with Carpenter-esque strikes at the keys and a wailing voice as our guide, the tune quickly strips away at its own core, providing a selected emphasis for control and we are helpless as it fades into the ether of our own mortality.

Fear is heightened with a jarring cool as Atom Force dives right into “Graveyard Bash”, a song that feels so completely at home on this release that it might get overlooked due to its rocketing spirit and ambient wash of stirring synths. I know nights like this one; I barely survive them but am always pleased to wake with a few more scratches and scars as proof of my own survival. I just hope it’s not from bashing a friend’s he…, well, you read the story.

Those PMCs deliver again in “Drawing Down the Wolf” as we are faced with another synth progression that, complete with electric shock-sounding effects, becomes something weirdly more in tune with an influential synth-pop song than anything Carpenter dared contribute to a score. Give in to the beat because, yes, you CAN dance.

This is good and groovy stuff.

Maybe the organ-like keys that begin the slow introduction to “Final Girl” is the only moment of hope Kelly gets. She alone must face down the monster that lurks in the shadows of the night engulfing the isolated cabin. The mood breaks and the crush begins as intensity gets jacked again. These synth lines RAGE. Running for your life sounds a lot like this. Don’t. Ever. Stop.

As a bonus, fans of this release gets “Creeps”, an older song that brings this story and its vibes to a satisfactory conclusion.

It’s been almost six months since Atom Force’s After Dark was originally released. In that time period, one would think I’d have moved on. But I can’t stop. I won’t stop.   There’s something perfect to the tones of this ghoulishly spirited release. Maybe it’s all the tension-filled arps that call out to me; the retro synth bass lines; the styling keys; or maybe it’s the haunting way in which voices and dialogues are used. Whatever it is, Atom Force’s After Dark still isn’t leaving my playlist anytime soon.

Turn the bloody lights to neon and just glow…

atom force - After Dark


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***Atom Force has been busy. Since releasing After Dark, they have put out SINGLE LIFE + YOUR TOUCH for Valentine’s Day and, in partnership with their Square Wave tee, the four-track SQUARE WAVE TO HEAVEN.   Both releases are free with your purchase of Square Wave’s shirt. They do NOT disappoint.***

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