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Summoning rates as one of the stranger black metal-styled acts out there today. Instead of frantic blast beats and Satanic screams, this duo goes in for a consciously epic feel and vocals describing the events of Tolkien's iconic works about Middle Earth. At least, that's their aim. If this album - so far the first that I've heard by Summoning - is anything to go by, they just don't do it very well.
The bottom line here is that the music doesn't sound so much "epic" as "tedious". I like epic music, whether epic black metal or epic anything else, but the purpose behind anything which is labelled as "epic" is for the sound to actually progress to somewhere by the end of the track. On the majority of "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame", that just doesn't happen. Our two musicians are more than content to noodle away on their keyboards, bang a bit on the drums and deliver what sounded on first listen like a gargle but then turned out to be vocals. Every now and then, they change this pattern by introducing a sample from the "Lord of the Rings" stories as well, with these samples being used over and over again on each track. Multiply that over the 8 tracks of the album and you have the rough sound of this release. That's right, there really isn't a huge amount distinguishing the first track from the last or anything in between.
It's a bit of a shame to say this, really, since there's clearly some musical talent in here somewhere. I get the feeling that if the two performers were prepared to focus their ideas a bit more (the tracks here average out at around 7 minutes in length), they'd be able to create something very impressive indeed. As it is, they just sound lazy and incapable of ending the tracks they've started.
Summoning is one of the bands which really ends up with fanatical fans, as the reviews here will show. It's already been said, but the idea of comparing this music to Wagner and so forth is a very bad idea - Wagner wrote music that went somewhere, whereas this music just goes around in circles. That might be the first indication that there's a case of overrating going on here.
I've tried very hard to enjoy this album, but when I'm constantly looking at my watch and wondering how much longer each track will run for, that just isn't likely to happen.