Black September – The Forbidden Gates Beyond (Prosthetic Records)

Friday, 22nd March 2013
Rating: 6/10

Seriously, who isn’t putting out records from Chicago these days? It’s like everywhere you turn, a new band from Chicago has a new album coming out. And being that the metal scene loves a good geographical pile-on, the fact that Black September are from the Windy City must mean they’re worthy, right? Eh, not really. It’s more like Chicago is close to becoming the Tampa of this decade, minus all of the influence and Scott Burns production jobs.

At any rate, The Forbidden Gates Beyond was originally released last year via Shaman Records and is getting the reissue treatment from Prosthetic. Musically, Black September is a not-so enticing mix of death and black metal, leaning more toward the black metal side of the fence. The usual array of tremolo picking, harsh vocals, and downbeats comprise the bulk of this short seven-song outing, with singer Jen Picket hemming and hawing away like no tomorrow. Problem is, this is largely unconvincing stuff, blending in with the rest of the neo North American death/black brigade (i.e. Black Anvil, Book of Black Earth, Skeletonwitch etc.) to the point where little can be taken away. It just tumbles by, sounding like the rest of ’em.

There should be considerable worry that labels are signing bands from Chicago just because they’re from Chicago, which isn’t exactly the brightest idea. Not like the mighty Prosthetic would go out of their way to do such things, but considering the label already has a band on its roster that is a better alternative to Black September (the aforementioned Book of Black Earth), then it makes a release like The Forbidden Gates Beyond rather null and void.

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