September Mourning’s “Volume 2” reviewed by Ryan Lang of Omaha band “More Than a Memory.”
September Mourning Album Review of “Volume 2”
My name is Ryan Lang and I play in a hard rock/metal/electronica band called More Than A Memory from Omaha, NE. This is my first album review ever!!! Super stoked to do this!!! I’m very honored to be asked by The Pit Magazine to do the review for September Mourning’s new release off of Sumerian Records “Volume 2”. Having gone back to listen to the first album “Volume 2” completely steps up the game for September Mourning. Everything from the songwriting to the layers of electronics seemed to have been injected with some type of steroid that boosted everything!
The album starts out with an intro that is the premonition to the whole album. Electronic percussion with some epic melodies sit behind the lead vocalist Emily Lazars vocals as the intro builds into a drop into the next track “Angels To Dust”. When “Angels To Dust” kicked in it reminded me of a more industrial/electronic KoRn track with the skipping of the guitars while it slams and instantly grabs your attention. Vocals in the verses remind me of the Shawn “Clown” Crahan side project Dirty Little Rabbits. Great starting track for this album! Show casing the steroids I referenced earlier from the beginning of this review. While maintaining the multi-media platform of September Mourning “Angels To Dust” has a dialog at the end that bleeds into the next track “Eye Of The Storm” to tell more of the bands themed storytelling. The band becomes a bit more melodic with more palatable songwriting on this track. More reminiscent of the Christian-rock band Red in this track. Ambient verses with hardly a pre-chrous really seemed strange to me but in this case it worked.
One of favorite tracks off this record is “Before The Fall”. It has a very driving riff that makes you nod along to the guitars and drums in syncopation easily. My favorite thing about this song is the HUGE anthem-like chorus! One of the best of the record in my eyes. And then you slightly get a bit of influence from In This Moment style in the bridge to give you a bit of the heaviness the band had been hinting at through the first three songs. Easily one of the best tracks to get into. Great track!
“Children Of Fate” starts off with more dialog to fill in that multi-media platform the band has been building since it’s inception and goes into a Egyptian type of melody jam. Some of favorite records are ones that can bring in different rhythms/feels of songs and it looks to be this is what September Mourning was trying to do with this song as it had a waltzy-like pendulum chorus that compliments that earlier Egyptian melody. EVEN MORE In This Moment influenced vocals in the bridge that would really bring fans of that band into September Mourning. Again, the songs ends with ambiance with Emily Lazar creating haunting dialog to carry the September Mourning story.
Halfway through the record you hit “Skin and Bones”. I feel like this song is a drop down from the rest of the previous tracks. It really is just a “meat and potatoes” type of song with nothing that sticks out to you songwriting wise or anything for that matter. Still a good song just it doesn’t feel like it has it’s own identity from the rest of the record so far.
“20 Below” sounds like to me, lyrically, is the love song of the record. Huge fan of love songs myself and I feel like they pulled it off well. Especially with the “Whoa” backing vocals so that crowds everywhere can get in on the fun at the live shows. The song starts pretty slow with “Whoa” vocals starting off to get you programmed to know when they come back In for the sing-alongs. I really like the feel of the vocals and the lyrics that Emily brings to this song with her melodies. The bridge is VERY simple with a guitar lead and a softer build back into the final bridge. Super simple song as love songs should be in my opinion! Dug it!
Time to shift gears back to the darker part of September Mourning as “Heart Can Hold” starts off with a very ominous electronic build with drums into another guitar lead (love it). The band also seems to pick up the rhythm in this song as the chorus is a bit more upbeat to keep the song chugging along. Super electronic heavy song which I can never be disappointed with a breakdown-like bridge is always welcoming for me! This track is definitely another favorite of mine as the band hardly breaks from that up-tempo, dark melody, epic heavy electronic vibe! Possibly my absolutely favorite!
It’s hard to pin down the ninth track “Superhuman”. It’s definitely the most pop-rock written song on the record. When I first heard the opening for this song I was really excited only to be disappointed when it didn’t hit after the intro. For me, the song doesn’t “hit” like the other songs and takes a while get there for me which is weird for a pop-written type song. Very rock-driven chorus with pop laden type of vocals that make you think that it could Lady Gaga on the vocals (I love Lady Gaga but it doesn’t work for September Mourning). More dialog for the HUGE September Mourning fans ends this track following the immersive storyline again! I actually believe that this makes the band very interesting as music is needing to be able to find different ways of surviving out there in a world where you almost need more than music to keep anyone interested in anything you’re doing musically. Big-ups to September Mourning for taking these extra steps for their fans!
2017, March 6-September Mourning-Winsel Concertography-4843The next track is called “Live Like You’re Alive” and to me this call to take the bull by the horns of life is actually quite the melancholy of a song. It starts slow with not-so-busy guitar work with the bass drum keeping what seems to be the pace of the song and hinting at the drive this song will have. The chorus comes in and the beat drops off which to me was unexpected and has a bit of sway to the rhythm. Again, this is one of those songs that I don’t think was up to par with others on this record. After the first chorus it just drags on to me and maybe this is my metal/hardcore background coming through but with a song that is supposed to be uplifting lyrically I would think that the song would also be pretty intense and more up-beat with a brighter melody. The song is executed well for how it was written but just didn’t sit with the rest to me. The guitar-lead/run that is buried deep in the mix during the bridge was the highlight of this song.
The cover of “Stand By Me” by really took me back to the days of me listening to the oldies station with my grandma as a kid! Super impressed with how September Mourning put their spin on this. Originally written and performed by Ben E. King the darker melody that SM throws at this song makes it a very desperate and dramatic sounding song. Extremely different than any other track and one of my favorites. Very Marilyn-Manson-esque. The only style difference between Marilyns cover of “Sweet Dreams” and this cover is the HUGE chorus full of strings and orchestra. Huge fan of that and it definitely doesn’t drag. Emily then brings the intensity with her soaring screams with the chorus vocals over the bridge with a complimentary guitar lead which is one of the biggest sounding parts of this record. At the end of this song there is a constant line Emily says over and over “Death is where I can always help…” very ominous and grabbed bonus points from me! Aside from that, LOVED THIS COVER!!!
At last but not least the final track “Til’ You See Heaven”. This track starts with a soft backwards melody and low-fi industrial drums which compliment the tender and heart-felt vocals. I would say that this is the ballad of Volume: II and you can definitely tell that’s what exactly September Mourning was shooting for. Verses that keep you intact with the vibe and feel while the choruses are big without losing the emotion of the slow rhythm and melody of the song. Everything seems to be accented very tastefully with ambient electronics until the bridge. This time instead of having the guitar take lead the band switches it up by having a violin take lead in the bridge that, for this song in particular, was a great move. Very creative and tasteful. Not a lot of bands can pull off ballad songs much but these did their homework and did great. One of my favorite tracks that has me keep listening over and over.
Overall, I believe this effort by Emily Lazar and Co. in September Mourning was very solid. Definitely a step in the right direction for this band and went to another level from Volume I. Never heard them before this and am now a general fan of the band. I will be checking them out the next time they come by me here in Omaha, Nebraska for sure! Make sure you do the same by supporting your favorite bands so they can keep doing what they do!!!
There you have it! My first album review! I had a great time listening and digesting these songs for a few weeks so I could prepare this. Huge shout-out goes to Kurt and everyone at The Pit Magazine for having me here dropping my thoughts and feelings on a record of a very talented band! And if you’re still reading this then do your favorite bands a favor and go BUY their record, GO to their shows, BUY their merch, and SHOW them love. They need it to keep going FOR YOU!!!
For fans of: In This Moment, Red, Lacuna Coil, Butcher Babies, Dirty Little Rabbits
Another starving musician,
Drummer of More Than A Memory