Review by Greg Maki
Maybe the biggest compliment I can pay September Mourning’s “Volume I” actually carries the tone of a criticism—it’s too short!
The six-track EP serves as a thrilling introduction to the world of September Mourning, and I say “world” because this is much more than a band. It’s a multimedia musical, theatrical art project with characters (portrayed by the band members) and a storyline. September herself told us about it in an interview earlier this year:
“September Mourning is a human/reaper hybrid. She was human, and a reaper was sent by Fate to take her soul. But instead of taking it, he fell in love with her and sacrificed himself and his powers for her to live on in eternity. So she becomes this reaper. She has this feeling in her mind that she has to take souls, collect souls, but she realizes, because of the humanity side of her, that she wants humans to control their own fate and their own destiny. So she starts trying to stave off the taking of the souls and giving these people second chances at life in other people’s bodies …. Fate doesn’t think that’s a great idea and really is pissed off at September for trying to do this. So Fate sends all these other reapers after her to stop her. So it becomes this epic battle between Fate and the other side, which we call Mortem, which is where the souls go to, and the world of the living and humanity.”
We’re concerned primarily with the music for the purposes of this review, and even if you don’t look deeper, “Volume I” takes the listener on an impressive journey with its six songs. The opener, “The Collection,” serves as a rallying cry of sorts (“Together we will die/Together we will fall/Together we will rise”) before building into the dramatic “Angels to Dust,” establishing the band’s mix of heavy guitars and dark, atmospheric electronics, as well as September’s sweet melodic vocals punctuated by occasional bloodcurdling scream. It’s important to note the emphasis is on melody throughout the EP, heightening the impact of the screams when they occur.
The centerpiece of the album is the single “Children of Fate,” a powerful, anthemic song that seems to pack everything September Mourning is about into four striking minutes—the guitars, keyboards, varied vocal attack, dynamics, theatricality and an inclusive nature (“We are children of fate/We won’t bend, we won’t break as we burn through the world”) that pulls the listener into the otherworldly storyline. It’s a song of the year contender for me.
In less than 20 minutes, “Volume I” establishes September Mourning as one of the few truly unique acts active today. The title implies this is the only beginning, which is a promising, exciting thought.
(For fans looking to dive into the story for an even more immerse experience, there also is “A Murder of Reapers,” a comic book from Top Cow Comics, available through the September Mourning website.)
(T-Boy Records, October 2, 2015)