REVIEW: Starquake Synthmaster – EP: Space Ranger

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Wait a second, didn’t we just review an album from STARQUAKE SYNTHMASTER? Yes, yes we did! Well, there ain’t no rest for the wicked, so Matti Meri-Huhti is back yet again with an EP, this time a storied concept, entitled “Space Ranger,” set for independent release on March 18th, 2022. We enjoyed the first album, so there was no reason not to give this a spin as well!

If you’re interested in the concept, naturally, I’m happy to share:

Starquake gets a call for a mission on planet Scyla. Upon arrival, Starquake faces off against monsters and aliens. In the end, he enters a supreme Galactic Deathmatch with one of the strongest creatures in the universe. Will he survive the mission?

Can we also take a moment to look at the cover, which seems like an alien version of IRON MAIDEN‘s Eddie is fighting a guy with a Gatling gun? Everyone noticed? Okay great, let’s move on.

The EP is quite short, with six tracks, the longest of which clocks in at just over 4 minutes in length. The opening, “Call for a Mission,” runs on a darker note, setting the scene for the character’s mission. While the overall song sounds really nice – smooth with a hint of ominousness that well-suits an intro to a concept – the mix feels a little muddy generally on the EP. Otherwise, this track acts as a fun introduction to the release. The next track represents Starquake’s destination, the aforementioned planet, Scyla. I can definitely imagine an 8- or 16-bit game with this music as its background for when the character arrives on the surface. The next couple of tracks appear to relate to Starquake’s battles: “Seek and Destroy,” (a nod to METALLICA, perhaps? Or is it just a fun phrase?), which is upbeat and definitely incites a feeling of tension and exploration; “There Will Be Blood,” a slower and darker piece that lures listeners into a feeling of discomfort as it looms forward into the “Galactic Deathmatch,” which absolutely sounds like a boss battle, 100%. The darker parts set the ominous fight tone, contrasting with the higher synth notes that add all the excitement to the sound.

The EP then wraps up with “In My Time of Dying” – a rather provocative name, no? Did Starquake survive his galactic deathmatch? It’s very hard to say, as the song is quite laid-back, leaving things on a mysterious note. It has a bit of an outro-vibe, but also feels like it could be an intro as well… a very interesting note upon which to leave this release, wouldn’t you say?

Once again, STARQUAKE SYNTHMASTER has released a fun collection of synth-y tracks. While the mix is a little murky for my taste, the overall sound is so reminiscent of old synth-heavy video game soundtracks, it’s hard not to get captivated by the EP’s charm. So if you’re interested in the kind of music that inspired bands like BEAST IN BLACK to take a more synth-oriented direction, these guys are cut from the same cloth.

Tracklist:

  1. Call for a Mission
  2. Planet Scyla
  3. Seek and Destroy
  4. There Will Be Blood
  5. Galactic Deathmatch
  6. In My Time of Dying

Lineup

Matti Meri-Huhti

Label

Independent

Links

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