Saturday, June 8, 2013

September Murder - He Who Invokes Decadence - Album Review

Year: 2013

Progressive Metal is a genre, which is known for it's eclectic tempo shifts and time signature changes. Now, put this together with something as heavy as Brutal Death Metal, and the resulting concoction is something which is truly interesting. The mark of a good Progressive Metal band is to keep the listener hooked, while keeping the changes coming. On the other hand, a Brutal Death Metal band aims to pulverise everything in it's path. New age metallers, September Murder succeed in achieving both, for the most part.

September Murder, is a Progressive Death Metal band hailing from Saxon-Anhalt, Germany. Formed in 2005, this band is relatively new in the German scene, but they had managed to garner a lot of attention with the release of their d├ębut, "Agony In Flesh". Some went as far as to call them the future of German Death Metal. There is a certain amount of credibility to this claim and their second venture, "He Who Invokes Decadence", shows why. The album is set to be released worldwide on 18th June.

Listening to their sound, one can easily spot three main characteristics that work for them, namely progression, melody and brutality. The band puts in enough variations in their songs like, large quantities of riff changes, tempo shifts and time signature variation. The guitar riffs employed are hard hitting and at the same time, very catchy. This is a band that seems comfortable in making long tracks (the longest clocking in at 11 minutes), while most of today's death metal acts prefer to settle for a 3 to 4 minute time length.

The aspect that makes their guitars stand out, are the brilliant leads that they infuse with the standard chug-chug death metal riffs. These leads that they employ are oft very melodic. Another thing that they manage to pull off, is to make these changes feel so natural. The vocalist delivers some solid death growls and at times, breaks out into pig squeals as well. These vocal variations are timed very perfectly.

 Much of this is accomplished with the aid of their skilled drummer, who in a very natural way, toys with the pace of the music. At times he shifts from a slow sludgy beat to a fast thrashing beat, without making it sound forced. The bass guitar is present quite high in the mix. The meaty bass tone, provides girth to the music, especially in parts where there is no distortion. 

However, there are certain parts in the album that doesn't quite fit in with the flow. The first of these would be the track "From Adoration...". This is a 2 and a half minute long instrumental, which is driven by guitars which sound like they were electronically tweaked. The track is very melodic and very atmospheric. But amidst a bunch of solid death metal songs, this track stands out like a sore thumb. The purpose of this track being on this record, is lost on me.

The other part that doesn't work are the clean guitar intros and outros. What the band does, is use a lot of clean guitar sections. At times, the flow into these clean guitar parts sound very natural and very essential to the track ("Under Severed Skies", "He Who Invokes Decadence"). But this does not remain true always. In some songs, the clean guitar sections sound very forced, as if they really don't belong there ("May Conviction Force Reckoning", "...To Deterrence"). 

Putting aside these few negatives, there are enough reasons in this album to warrant repeated listens. The band has dished out a lethal concoction brutality and progession, in the form of "He Who Invokes Decadence".

Rating: 88%

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