Black September — Black September
(Mellow MMP 264, 1994, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-03-01
Black September is a four piece from Trenton led by keyboardist Michael West (of "God Sex Money" fame), the instrumentation consisting of violin, sax, and drums, with bass duties shared by violist/lead vocalist Jason Harper and reedsman Freddy Lutz. No guitars. Interesting then, that this is produced by Mastermind's axeman Bill Berends. The album kicks off with a mind-blowing thirteen minute monster called "Bellicose Agenda," and frankly, if the rest of the album met the standard of the first track, we'd have a pretty solid album here. But by the second track, "Freeze," and especially the third, "Forever Winter," it becomes painfully clear that Harper isn't up to the task of lead singer. Then we're treated to an instrumental – an excellent composition spoiled by lifeless drumming and way too much keyboard presence. "The Glen by Afton" almost gets everything back on track, it's clearly the most accessible and well-arranged song here, yet the vocals still drop it down a notch. The closing instrumental "Beast in Plain View" drives home the band's best tendencies – tight twists and turns, intricate complexities, flashy keys, and full band participation. Black September is a band with potential, and hopefully a second album will smooth out some of the rough edges that prevent this from being as good as it could be.
Related artist(s): Black September
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