Release Date: July 29, 2016
September Mourning is a “transmedia dark culture” project from performance artist/vocalist Emily Lazar and comic book guru Marc Silvestri (various X-Men Titles and CEO of Top Cow). The story features a human-reaper hybrid named September (Lazar) who navigates the worlds of both the living and the dead, challenging fate by offering some humans a second chance. Volume II may be the second release from this project but it appears to be much more widely accessible then previous comic and album releases.
Musically, Volume II is really strong. It features aggressive guitars, soaring vocals, melodic choruses, and a smattering of electronics to round it all out. It even gets Screamo heavy for quick bits here and there. While, I wouldn’t call this sound unique at all, the subject matter gives it an edge for sure and the production is as crisp and clear as they come. “Superhuman” is a highlight here for me. It’s one of the most radio-friendly songs but it’s got an anthemic quality to it that I dig and a super-catchy chorus. There’s a break midsong as well that turns it all upside down with a twisted carnival flare before returning for the last big chorus run.
“Children of Fate’s” dark vibe is cool too as it’s punchy, tight verses wrap around a creepy bridge that explodes into a very Alice Cooper-esque chorus topped off by some screaming (just enough to catch your attention without pissing your ears off). While most of this album is darker in nature, the album’s closer, “Til You See Heaven,” takes a slightly different road, immediately setting it apart. It’s got a Thirty Seconds to Mars and Seven and the Ragged Tiger era Duran Duran kinda vibe. Huge echoing drums drive it and the vocals really stir you up, but what really makes it a force to be reckoned with are the strings. When the strings come in, the song pulls back a bit and gives you time to reflect before hitting you one more time with the lighter worthy chorus. It’s a really upbeat and positive tune that takes the album out on just the right note, making you want to dig right back into the journey.
If you are musically a fan of Alice Cooper’s post 1995 albums, In This Moment, Evanescence, or Thirty Seconds to Mars then there is a lot here for you to latch on to. Lazar is a pretty stunning vocalist and most of the album is pretty radio-friendly so there is a lot that you can sing-along to. Of course, stories of the disenfranchised always make for the best lyrics and you get that in spades here as well.
Reviewed by mark1340