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This is the fifth full-length album for one of metal's most inscrutable and original bands. Summoning play things their own way, and there remains probably no other band who are as defiantly iconoclastic and individual as this one. With this album Summoning have stepped beyond the bounds of any genre and forged the ultimate expression of their unique sound.
When bands aim for 'epic' they often hit 'boring' instead, and even the great Summoning themselves have had this problem in the past. (Witness the near-impossibility of sitting through all of "Dol Guldur") Frequently Summoning songs – and albums – went on far too long and seemed unnecessarily drawn-out. But not this time, this time Protector and Silenius have hit exactly what they were aiming for, and "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame" is nothing short of magnificent. Summoning have finally distilled their sound down to what they always wanted it to be: majestic. Anyone familiar with Summoning will be hardly surprised by the style of the album, as this is still slow, epic music fueled by orchestral keys and sparse but effective vocals. What I love about this album is the way it builds layers upon layers of sound. Each song starts with a rather simple keyboard melody or guitar riff, but then the barbaric war-drum samples kick in, and the melodies add to one another and vary, building on each other until the vocals come in like an infernal incantation and the sampled spoken parts repeat like the words of a spell, and before you know it the song is thundering along like a tidal wave, yet with no one instrument providing the driving force.
The booklet is beautiful, as I would expect, but enigmatic, as I also expected. Again there are no lyrics in the booklet, no thank-yous, no product endorsements. This band remains as elusive and as anti-commercial as ever. Since you will never make out the lyrics, I urge you to go online and look them up, as all of Summoning's lyrics are as beautiful and majestic as their music. They are not to be missed.
I have always liked Summoning, but until now they never managed to capture me as completely as they have with this album, and I am pleased to be able to place such fine work from such a defiantly artistic band on my top shelf. No one has ever made music like Summoning, and no one else ever will. A masterpiece.
Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com