WINTER PARK FL – June 1st the Orlando music crowd was blessed once again with the touring band September Mourning and local favorite Meka Nism teaming up once again to rock us out. It would be the third time covering both bands and the second time the two bands were sharing the stage together. Putting these two together is a perfect blend and I was looking forward to see them perform once again. When I arrived at The Haven, a massive crowd was already there both outside and inside. The majority of the attendees were all wearing Meka Nism’s new t-shirt, which they were selling there that night. This show was also Meka Nism’s last show in the Orlando area before they left for Germany to record their next album, ‘The War Inside’, with producer and engineer, Lasse Lammert. Lasse has worked with bands such as Alestorm and Halcyon Way. Their fans wanted to ensure they got to see them one last time before they left town.
Meka Nism has been on a tear through the Central Florida area ever since their formation back in 2006, but 2016 brought them a tour with Avatar, the headliner slot at the local stage at the 3rd Annual Kink Fest in Orlando, FL, and being named by voters through Orlando Weekly as the number 1 Best Metal Band in Orlando. They followed that up in 2017 with being named the opening act to WJRR’s festival Earthday Birthday 24 that included Nonpoint, Alter Bridge, Sevendust, Candlebox, and Sublime with Rome. The band consisting of Meka (vocals), Bobby “The Ripper” Keller (guitar), Jarret Robinson (bass), Jay Adkisson (keyboards), and Chris Lane (drums) are not only a metal powerhouse, they are the nicest people who appreciate their fans. And the turn out that night showed how much their fans cared.
When they took the stage the crowd erupted into cheers. Those were outside quickly made their way inside to hear them rock The Haven. They opened up with “The Shift” the title track from their 2015 EP, ‘The Shift: Anthems for a Revolution’. It opens with a speaking voice talking about the unity of humanity struggling against the system and we should not despair as dictators come and the power will return to the people and liberty will never perish. And then Bobby rips into these deep riffs and Meka shows off her guttural vocals. It is amazing to hear her sing this song with such facial expressions and emotion. All the while the band is rocking away and the crowd is headbanging away. Truly a perfect song to get the crowd going.
They followed up with “From Out of Nowhere”, also from ‘The Shift: Anthems for a Revolution’. This song starts out slower with Bobby providing some beautiful string work and Meka’s voicing showing her falsetto before diving back into her guttural growls and mixing it up throughout the song. She truly has an incredible vocal range and to bring it through the highs and lows in the same song is stunning. Chris gives the song some awesome drum work rapidly working away behind his kit with Jay mixing in the keys. Jarret and Bobby perform some wonderful work together to complete the package. It’s one of my favorite songs from the band and couldn’t speak highly enough about how well they perform it live.
And then the crowd roared when the first notes of “Mouth of God” (also from ‘The Shift: Anthems for a Revolution’) came over the speakers. Musically, it switches up from a beautiful melody, led by Jay’s keys, to a heavy metal monster. Meka gets her falsetto up high through the chorus, which is chilling to hear. I feel this single has become one of the crowd favorites during their performances. Meka Nism went back to their 2013 EP ‘The Dance at the End of World’ with “Tyranny Reigns”. This song is pure metal with Jarret laying out great bass riffs and Meka going back to her deeper vocals. Chris was rocking out hard behind the drums for this song. I kept waiting for a cymbal to come flying off he was hitting them so hard.
The band made their way back to ‘The Shift: Anthems for a Revolution’ with “Mekamorphosis”. Bobby kicks it off with some really nice guitar riffs before the rest of the band jumps in. It stays slower through the verses before jumping into it’s metal pace. I absolutely love how Meka uses her voice through this song and really pushing her falsetto to some amazing highs. The band closed out with “The War Inside” the title track to their upcoming EP. It was phenomenal set for a “final” show before recording the new album.
September Mourning began setting up their gear. The band formed in 2010 and is built around the superhero/rock star concept. The character of September is a human-reaper hybrid. She feels the need to give human souls a second chance at life, toying with Fate. September refers to her fans as the Children of Fate. Marc Silvestri, one of the founder of Top Cow Comics, worked with September to put together the story of September Mourning in graphic form. The September Mourning Comic, Volume 1 is on sale now. The band also has it available at their merch table while they are on tour. September Mourning consists of September (vocals), Riven (guitar), Wraith (guitar), and Stitch (drums).
When they finished setting up the stage, they had something different on stage that wasn’t at their last show, a projector. Connected to what I assume was a laptop, it was displaying the Top Cow logo on the screen at the back of the stage. When the band was ready to begin, the Top Cow image disappeared and pages from their current comic book appeared. September’s voice came through the speakers narrating part of the story of the comic. The band slowly walked on stage, shrouded in their cloaks, and then shed them off and jumping into “Eye of the Storm” from ‘Volume II’.
The song has a deep sounding guitar riff throughout along with a matching drum beat. September’s vocals though are anything but deep. Her voice is very high and very strong. She transitions through notes while dancing and moving around on stage quite easily and projects her voice with ease. After the song the band paused and the projector once again told another part of the comic. It was as if we were watching webisodes of the September Mourning tale. After the comic portion was done they jumped into “Superhuman”, which I find to be lighter than some of their other music. It has a great beat that I find very catching. You’ll find yourself singing along to the chorus “Oh oh oh you never knew it. Oh oh oh oh you’re superhuman.” Afterwards, once again the band paused and went back to the projector to continue the comic story.
From there they continued into “Stand By Me” which is a cover of the Ben E. King song. This song is most amazing cover I’ve heard of this song. The band gives it this slow, creepy, dark tone through the verses and then speeds it up and heavy thrashing during the chorus. The take on it is definitely original and is probably one of my favorite songs on the album. And when September holds out some of the notes in the chorus with this high pitched scream you’ll be blown away.
Once again the band paused to go back to the projector and tell more of the comic story in between songs. And this continued throughout the entire set. As much as I enjoyed the story they were telling, I felt the breaks in between each song was too long. Each pause was at least 30 seconds to a minute minimum so the show wasn’t flowing they same way it did during the other two times I’ve seen them. I could see some fans were getting antsy because they wanted to hear them play, not watch a comic on a screen.
They moved on to “Heart Can Hold” and “Angels to Dust”. “Angels to Dust” I love for the awesome guitar riffs right at the opening of the song and the throughout the song. September brings back that awesome metal scream into this song. This one is definitely another favorite from this album. They played “Skin & Bones” as their next song. One thing I do need to call out is the musical talent of the Reapers. Riven and Wraith are excellent guitar players and provide such a great sound together. Stitch on the drums is amazing. Besides having one of the coolest drum kits I’ve seen (colored all in black), his drumming style is very aggressive, and he purposely has patterns (such as forming an X above his head) during play of certain songs. Bring this together with September’s phenomenal vocals and solid song writing, it’s easy to see why September Mourning has such a large fan following.
“Till You See Heaven” and “Children of Fate” were next in the set list. “Children of Fate” I enjoy as it has a blend of soft tones at one point and suddenly falls into their metal sound and continues to mix it up throughout the song. It’s excellent songwriting and is a good solid song when you hear it you know it’s a September Mourning song. They closed out the set with their most recent single “20 Below”. September urged the crowd to sing along to the chorus which includes “Oh oh oh oh ohhhhhh”. She got the crowd to sing it once but urged the crowd to be louder. The second time was more to September’s liking as she started off the song. When she got to the chorus she pointed the mic out to people in the crowd to sing the Ohs. And it’s hard to stop yourself from singing it because you easily get caught up in the song. At one point she put the mic right in my face so I happily obliged by singing out at the top of my lungs. Once the song was done, she thanked the crowd and they applauded loudly for the band’s performance.
Overall the night was a huge success for both bands. Two female fronted bands with powerhouse vocals had complete command of the crowd and brought us some great metal songs and rocked us out leaving it all on stage. And both bands stayed around to take pictures with fans and talk with them. For me, it was definitely a fun night and I look forward to the next time Meka Nism takes the stage and when September Mourning comes back to visit The Haven again.