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Blind Guardian are usually associated with the craft of J.R.R Tolkien while Summoning seems to cower in the corner, neglected. No more! These guys take it to another level. I mean, their entire discography is dedicated to Tolkien. It just doesn't get any more dedicated than that. Rule 75 of Black Metal is fulfilled.
This album starts off with some hobbit speech, err excuse me, I mean 'black speech' and very soon the listener is immersed into the dark world of Summoning where drum machines, fuzzy guitars and simple keyboard passages in a constant loop rule. Amazingly, they sort of manage to capture that "epic" atmosphere despite the hilarity of the spoken samples, uncanny similarity between the songs and the usual sore throat black metal vox.
Actually, I wouldn't call this album black metal. It's much mellower than the previous Summoning releases that I have heard(Dol Guldur). Forgive me father, for I have sinned. It's not very metal at all. It's still pretty nifty, though.
The songs have managed to bore themselves into my mind and I have actually considered the outcome of having these tracks as the soundtrack for the LotR trilogy. Should fit some parts of the movie quite well.
I must say that most of the songs are quite repetetive, but that was obviously the intent. I don't think that I can pick a favourite track since this album is more of a mood piece and should be consumed as whole. The songs are pretty catchy on their own, however. "The torches blazed with light" is currently on repeat in my head. God damn these hobbit fiends.
The keyboards ARE the primary instrument on this album. Beep bop, casio, beep bop. The guitar sound is pretty unique altough it some parts remind me of Emperor a little, but not overdone. The drum sound sounds quite fabricated, but oddly enough it doesn't really hurt the music.
Overall, this is a pretty good album despite the cheesy factor and the droning effect it has on after repeated listening. Check it out if you consider yourself a fan of epic (but not orchestral or symphonic overkill - see Rhapsody) music and don't mind Gollum with a stick up his ass as a vocalist.
Tolkien fantaics with Satan in mind
"In the darkness bind them"
In the fields, shortsword in hand
Is where you may find them