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Summoning: Oath Bound

One look at the cover painting of Summoning's latest release for Napalm Records, Oath Bound, and you just know that you are going to be in for a symphonic and epic journey of fantasty filled metal. Now eight albums into their career, the Austrian team of Silenius (vocals, bass, keyboards) and Protector (vocals, guitars, keyboards) once again return to J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth for inspiration, and have created a atmospheric, melodic, and symphonic black metal album that even contains a song sung in the black tongue language of the Orcs of Mordor! Fans of Dimmu Borgir, Old Man's Child, and Cradle of Filth, as well as symphonic prog lovers, will surely find much to dig into here!

After the instrumental and orchestrated opener "Bauglir", the band gets down to business with "Across the Streaming Tide", a lengthy epic filled with keyboards, doomy guitar riffs, thunderous drums, and eerie black metal vocals. A similar, yet less metal edge is followed on "Mirdautas Vras" (featuring the Orc language), as the keyboards make up the main instrumentation along with the banshee black metal shrieks. Guitars return in full force, alongside some creepy church organ sounds on the ponderous "Might and Glory", and driving legato guitar patterns combine with proggy keyboard melodies on the majestic black metal piece "Beleriand".

The song "Northward", if listened to from a purely instrumental point of view, could easily serve as part of the soundtrack to Lord of the Rings, with its catchy and upbeat keyboard orchestrations and driving rhythms, but the shrill black metal rasps keep it firmly in the metal realm. The same can be said for the adventurous "Menegroth" and the chilling closer "Land of the Dead", both with soaring keyboard melodies, choirs, and catchy guitar harmonies. In fact, the keyboard work on the synths and piano is so close to progressive rock on these songs that if it weren't for the vocals this wouldn't be classified as metal at all. Which is one reason why this album, for all its strengths, might not catch on completely with the metal crowd. In the end, it's just not heavy enough, even though the message and end result is massively powerful. Sure, the vocals could use a bit more variety to them (add more choirs guys!) , and I'd add a few more heavier guitar riffs here and there, but otherwise this is probably the most symphonic and atmospheric black metal album I have ever heard, and I urge prog-rock fans to check this band out if you haven't already. Long live Tolkien!


Track Listing
1.Bauglir
2.Across the Streaming Tide
3.Mirdautas Vras
4.Might and Glory
5.Beleriand
6.Northward
7.Menegroth
8.Land of the Dead

Added: February 4th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Napalm Records
Hits: 3441
Language: english

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Summoning: Oath Bound
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-02-04 14:14:01
My Score:

Summoning are a very interesting Experimental/Atmospheric Black Metal band led by Protector (Richard Lederer) and Silenius (Michael Gregor). They form the nucleus of the group that plays mainly songs about the mythical worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth. The pair is so adept at crafting music about this realm that they even are able to deliver a number that has been written in the native Black Speech of Mordor. Simply looking at the cover, which takes you off to places far away, you tend to wonder what the adventures inside would be like. This is sweeping and epic music and despite its genre classification it really takes a number of other styles into consideration. The use of the term "Metal" in stuff like this is somewhat deceiving, for while it is heavy at times, this is not Metal in the conventional sense at all. You don't have ripping guitar riffs and double bass drumming, but instead you do have the similar Black growls that are associated with bands like Dimmu Borgir and Immortal. The symphonic stuff is showing to be very Progressive and Melodic deep inside and with the track "Land Of The Dead" (which is the bands longest number to date) you see these elements very much. "Mirdautas Vras" (the song in Orc) is pretty wild and it made me wish that I had a lyric sheet to know more about the song. Further research into it had me finding it referencing battles and victory for "as the Nazgul fly, it is a good day to kill".

It's great stuff for this kind of music but it requires that you leave certain musical expectations behind to allow yourself to best understand and enjoy this one. I recommend this for any of the Metal heads who enjoy the Tolkien works for it uses his influences and creations very creatively. Fans of the group would be interested in Richard Lederers other project Die Verbannten Kinder Evas (translated to "The Exiled Children Of Eve") which is a Darkwave group.




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