SeptThis up-and-coming German death metal quartet have been around since 2005; ‘He Who Invokes Decadence’ marking their second full-length effort. So far all of their recordings have been self-released, including this latest one. The stylish, luxuriant artwork here and the band’s modernistic, all-too-legible logo belie this fact however, with initial appearances very much suggesting an album from a signed act. Evidently September Murder are hoping to change their label status, and with such effort going into their presentation, it’s hard to imagine such hard work going unnoticed for much longer.

Vague notes on the guitar ease the album in before some controlled brutality sets the true tone. As the opening track transpires, so too does the varied nature of September Murder’s metal brew. Hints of spooky atmosphere, At The Gates styled melody and Cannibal Corpse’s blunt-force blast-beats all emerge to provide a bit of something for everyone. Maybe there’s also a similarity to some of those deathcore bands, although these Germans certainly sound more energetic and dark from my experience. Vocals are shouty but pleasingly deep and death-like. An initial whiff of generic blandness comes with the second track, and its less than exciting beginning. However, once the playing heats up any such concerns are soon dispelled. And again, while a few aspects of the following track similarly trudge along, faith is ultimately rewarded. Like when the instruments go thoughtfully off in separate directions, or during that reflective end section which intelligently negates vocals.

‘From Adoration…’ rather unexpectedly announces itself like Type O Negative’s ‘My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend’ with thumping kick drum and quasi psychedelic guitar. Proving to be a refreshing and well-placed instrumental, it segues somewhat less surprisingly into ‘… To Deterrence’. It’s around this point in the album that the range of September Murder’s effort becomes clear. Heavy, shifting tempos rub shoulders with technicality and there are even hints of black metal as haunting riffs and fierce, abrasive tones emanate from the speakers. Elsewhere the band confirms not only its collective talent with the prog death section on ‘May Conviction Force Reckoning’ but also its breadth of knowledge/appreciation for differing styles, and the impact they can have. From what I understand of the lyrics (‘Man’s abasement of morality’) it’s equally possible to see how this far reaching subject matter is variously conveyed through the moods of the music. The only slight hinderance, at times, is the production – as exemplified in track seven’s ‘static section’.

It seems fair to assume that with label backing and a bigger production budget, this album would be impressive indeed. By the time of album closer and title track ‘He Who Invokes Decadence’, however, it’s not as if such a detail really affects the grand scheme of things – especially when that tightly coiled axis of guitar/drums gets those neck muscles working one last time. While I can’t say that a thanks list acknowledging the likes of Corey Taylor as an influence filled me with huge amounts of confidence before pressing play, this is more indicative of me being a (comparatively) old, judgemental fart than anything else. September Murder have more than defied my expectations, and surely have a promising future ahead of them.

(7.5/10 Jamie Wilson)