Satanic Panic 4: Possession
by: Vacation bible school
Written By: Flanger Fobia
Published: October 31st, 2021
There are some Halloween memories that most people have likely experienced in their lives, such as carving pumpkins or going to Halloween parties. Even on a night where ghosts and ghouls walk the Earth, there is nothing to be afraid of. After all, such monsters that we dress up as are only make believe, right? Well, Satanic Panic 4: Possession by Vacation Bible School makes those scary monsters come to life, and YOU are at the center of it all.
The narrative of the album follows the listener, as they make their way to a party at a church, looking forward to a night of fun. However, as this is not a typical vaporwave album based on relaxation and good vibes, things will not go as planned. Imagine going to a Halloween party, excited to see your crush there, except when you finally see her, it turns out she has a partner, and it’s not you. Can things get any worse? Of course! She could get possessed by a demon, and it could be your fault. Now then, how do you plan on surviving? Do you think you can save the day? Such questions can only be answered by giving the album a listen. If getting chased by Satanists in Satanic Panic 3: Hell House was not enough to spook you away from the series, then you are in for a scare.
While the concept for the album is very intriguing in its own right, the music itself is quite captivating even when separated from the other elements of the album. The selection of sound choice comes from a variety of different sources, including various genres of music, promotional movie trailers, and atmospheric noise. The wide range of audio sources helps to put the listener in the state of feeling as if the events are unfolding right in front of you.
There is always a feeling of uneasiness throughout the sample choice, regardless of what the original source was, which demonstrates that Vacation Bible School has significant skill when it comes to manipulating samples. For example, on the track “Harvest Moon Over the Pumpkin Patch,” VBS manipulates the pitch and tempo of “Shine On, Harvest Moon”, an old blues song dated to 1908 , which creates a feeling of tension, despite the listener consciously knowing that this part of the album is the most relaxing it will get. Sounds of leaves crunching underfoot and crickets chirping that cut out half way through the song, as well as the music cutting out all together before the track is completed, add to the feeling that this Halloween party is not going to go quite like the rest. While the majority of the storytelling is told through atmospheric noise and instrumentation, track 6 of the album, “The Demon Wrecks Havoc,” uses voice clips from a promotional trailer for the 1987 movie Demons 2 to describe the situation you are faced with: “There is nowhere to hide, no place to run.”
The music that is sampled varies greatly in terms of genres and the ways they are manipulated, with blues, pop, rock, and synth-dance all being reverbed and filter-cut in such a way that can make your hair stand on end and leave you anticipating to listen to the next track. There are times where it appears VBS clearly wants the lyrics of the samples to be heard in order to convey order, and times where the lyrics clash against instruments into a garbled mess, making it abundantly clear that chaos surrounds you. Even if one listened to this album without looking at the titles of the albums, a listener could fairly easily discern which types of emotions VBS is trying to convey to the listener with each track. In terms of how each sample is manipulated, the tracks appear to be produced using similar techniques. Such techniques include running the track through filters, lowering the pitch of samples, slowing the tracks down, and the occasional reversal of a sample helps to create terror that is felt when listening to this album.
After listening to this album multiple times, I believe I am going to skip carving pumpkins, lest they end up possessing my crush after I cut into it, revealing a hidden demonic spirit. Actually, scratch that. I think I am going to skip out on Halloween parties for a while altogether — you can never be too safe.
Vacation Bible School
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