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Symphonic Prog • France

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Satan biography
Founded in Le Mans, France in 1968 (initially as New Rainbow) - Disbanded in 1976

SATAN WAS founded by guitarist André BELDENT with friends from school in 1968. The band was playing covers from bands such as COLOSSEUM, THE WHO, JETHRO TULL, and SOFT MACHINE. The album that they recorded in 1975 was lost before keyboard player Jérôme LAVIGNE transfer the album on tape in 1980. IN 2016, Monster Melodies released the album in vinyl to save the whole music from being forgotten. The band has shared the stage with CARAVAN and his known to offer to the audience some multimedia experience on stage with video projections and costumes. The band never continue after those tours because of financial difficulty despite trying to change the band's name and sound to a more commercial style. The band uses simple lyrics in french looking more on creating a cinematic atmosphere to their music.

Bio adapted from Gonzaï Magazine

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 Satan by SATAN album cover Studio Album, 2016
5.00 | 1 ratings

Satan Symphonic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

— First review of this album —

The progressive rock revival has been an exciting ride not only because bands that released albums in the golden age of the 70s have been rediscovered and given a second chance and in some cases finding a multi-decade lag in popularity but also because other bands that recorded material and never had the chance to release it during their heyday are also coming to light thanks to the tenacity of a few dedicated indie labels that are bringing these long lost gems to the world. Starting out as a record dealer in Paris, France in 1985, Monster Melodies became a label in 2013 and has enthusiastically revived several underground French bands that had all but been forgotten as they were swallowed up by the annals of time. Along with bands like Foam, Bananamoon Band, Moving Gelatines Plates, Robert Wood and Woodlands, Dies Irae and Jacques Dudon who have found releases on the label, the band SATAN which was active from 1973-76 under that moniker finally found a long lost release of an album that never found a home after a long four decade delay.

The band's history dates back to 1968 when The New Rainbow was formed in Le Mans but the moniker was quickly changed to Heaven Road. The band was one of many typical French bands looking across the channel for inspiration and played blues rock covers in the English language and performed several gigs around Paris and won in various competitions however the band became attracted to the more progressive scenes of rock especially after discovering bands like Magma and Ange. Having shifted gears and crafting its own material, Heaven Gate experienced a polarity shift and adopted the rather interesting band name SATAN which musically speaking adopted a darker and more sinister sound with subject matter based on literature based on science fiction and nightmarish dreamscapes that was completely sung in the native French due to the nationalistic pride engulfing the nation as the English language was beginning to dominate.

The music perfectly exemplifies the darker subject matter through heavy rock guitar heft and the excellent keyboard skills of Jérôme Lavigne which not only exhibited fiery workouts in the vein of Keith Emerson along with darkened atmospheres that channeled the English spirit of bands like Genesis, Yes and Gentle Giant with the more local spirit of bands like Ange with whom the greatest comparisons are made, however SATAN was a much more dynamic band with more elaborate progressive rock elements that meandered through a variety of moods and sonic textures. While SATAN emerged as a symphonic progressive band mixed with hard rock in Le Mans and reached a level of regional fame that was on a national level and had crafted its own compelling original material which resulted in five excellent tracks that were composed and recorded between 1972 and 1975, the band failed to gain the attention of any record label and as a result these tracks sat in the vault for over 40 years before Monster Melodies released this eponymously titled album at long last in 2016.

The five tracks that add up to just over 33 minutes of playing time are quite diverse showing many influences not only from homegrown acts such as Ange, but from Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, King Crimson, Colosseum, Genesis, ELP and PFM. "Le Voyage" immediately displays the double-sided nature of SATAN, one that showcases the band's bluesy hard rock roots in Heaven Gate and the more sophisticated compositional developments with a wider use of keyboards in the form of Hammond organ, Moog and Fender Rhodes outbursts which exhibit fiery displays of symphonic bombast. On the guitar front, heavy riffs trade off with energetic licks and solos and the musical scores meander through different moods and motifs which animates the five tracks in myriad ways. The softer passages refer to the Italian prog scene as well as elements of Genesis on albums like "Nursery Crime" whereas the heavier passages channel the classically infused prowess of ELP, Yes and King Crimson.

Had the French music scene been more supportive, SATAN surely could have been one of the great French progressive rock bands of the era. The music is more diverse than Ange and while highly melodic, also engaged in a hard charging drive that forged heavy rock with more reflective passages. The vocals ranged from bombastic to quiet contemplative spoken word narrations (en français) and the instrumental workouts are outstanding especially on tracks like "O.S." which go through many exciting musical developments as the piano and guitar duke it out fortified with excessively progressive time signature workouts and other fantastic musical interplay. The track itself depicts the nightmare of a factory worker tormented by machines. "La Suit Des Temps" is the longest track just exceeding the 9 minute mark and is based on René Barjavel's famous novel of the same name. This track engages in a wide variety of mood and motifs ranging from Pink Floyd inspired psychedelic soundscapes to more Genesis inspired pastoral passages and finally an energetic guitar rampage along with classical keyboard workouts.

SATAN's long lost album is a true treasure of occulted French progressive rock. Despite its influences the band had successfully developed its own dynamic style and it's not hard to understand why the band was popular as a live act given their outlandish live shows that found them decked out with makeup and costumes. Unfortunately the band opted to self-produce and wasn't keen on the intricacies of the cut throat music industry and failed to find a record label. Clearly talent was not the deciding factor as i find SATAN a superior act compared to the more famous French bands of the era such as Ange, Mona Lisa, Pulsar and Atoll. Despite its long awaited debut, the album unfortunately has only been released on vinyl. No CDs or digital downloads are available which makes this excellent album a bit obscure even though it has found a long awaited international audience. Also at the time of this review (17 Nov 2019), there are no YouTube audio samples other than that of "Le Voyage." Hopefully this situation will change but this is an excellent album that displays five excellent slices of French progressive rock from the golden years. SATAN is a testament that many undiscovered gems from the era surely still lurk in the shadows. The band folded in 1976 but continued on as Ciel D'été which was a more commercial band in which they found more financial success.

4.5 but i'll round it up as a reward for the looooooong wait!

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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