Black September – Contortion

This is a real odd duck of a demo. Black September is a four-piece death metal group out of Chicago who released their debut demo, ‘Contortion’, earlier this year. They don’t appear to have a bassist, and the demo is composed of two long, meandering death metal tracks which, even more strangely, don’t really resemble any band in particular as stylistic influences.

The music here has a very strange feel to it. It almost feels like a jam session; the changes are sort of hesitant, like all the members are waiting for a signal from the others; I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a live recording. This isn’t really a detriment to the release; it simply gives it a more personal and warm quality. However, the music is anything but warm; this is an unusually cold and emotionless breed of death metal. Not that it’s sterile; merely that it’s very cold and calculating. This is extremely modern music; no ‘old-school’ sentiment will be found on this pair of songs. Production is similarly rehearsal room: audible, but fuzzy and perceptibly unprofessional, particularly on the snare-heavy drum sound.

Both songs are highly varied in tempo and style. They range from crawling, doomy passages (the end of the title track) to high speed, thrashy moments (a third through ‘Shattered’), and stay fairly interesting throughout. Technical performances, while not stunning, are all capable, though seemingly rhythmically unsure: there are passages where the rhythm guitars seem to be nearly random in nature, just flipping out strange sequences of staggered 32nd notes (the beginning of the title track). Perhaps this also relates to the rehearsal-room nature of this recording; it’s especially honest, though most certainly unrefined.

There is a slightly epic quality to some of the riffs here, which, when combined with the aforementioned emotionlessness, gives this demo a rather unique sound, more nihilistic than most, almost like an apathetic suicide. Granted, the fifteen minutes and two tracks of this demo don’t do a tremendous deal to reveal the nature of this band, they certainly make a listener intrigued as to what might be in store with the upcoming debut LP from this group. Not a mandatory purchase, but certainly an interesting one.

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~ by noktorn on March 22, 2007.

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