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Amazingly enjoyable near-ambient - 90%

MaDTransilvanian, January 4th, 2009

I had known Summoning for only a few months prior to buying this EP and only because I had made the excellent decision to blindly buy Oath Bound. I was very interested in exploring the rest of Summoning’s discography and I found this little gem at a small dedicated store I occasionally visit.

Lost Tales is a two-song EP containing two very different tracks, very different both from each other and from the rest of the band’s work. Both songs are nearly pure ambient (with some vocals) instead of the atmospheric black metal the band usually plays.

The opener, Arcenstone, is a song taken from the Dol Guldur sessions (a masterpiece of an album, by the way) which is on the more ambient side of the stuff recorded back then. It’s extremely repetitive, with much of the same spoken vocals repeated throughout. The vocals are very soothing, relaxing, in a kind of epic telling of a story reminiscent of the lyrical universe from which Summoning draw their inspiration. The absence of guitars on this track, replaced completely by keyboards, is actually very fitting to the overall atmosphere of the song and the same can be said of any type of harsh vocals. The drumming is the usual discreet programmed drumming which is prevalent in the less metal Summoning songs and it fits very well with the overall atmosphere which the band tries, very successfully I might add, to create on this 9-minute-long track. It’s one of the most beautiful Summoning songs I’ve ever heard.

Saruman is the album’s second track. The Tolkien influence is even more obvious here due to both the title and the samples used. The song is more experimental than the previous one and the vocals are outright spoken this time, and very repetitive, indeed too much so. While Saruman lacks the same amount of epic atmosphere so prevalent in Arcenstone, it’s still a very good song in its own right. The keyboards are also the main instrument used here and they give the song a very clean and melodic nature. The drum programming is also used successfully, especially in the passage starting at the 3:25 mark where it’s woven very well to the keyboard melodies, which reach their peak at the very end of the song (the last minute). The lack of the spoken vocals for much of this part of the song is also worth nothing as a good thing, although their presence isn’t irritating at all.

Lost Tales is a great EP by one of the best atmospheric black metal bands in the world, although it’s almost completely devoid of metal. The ambient music is soothing and epic and it’s the Summoning release to which I listen to the most frequently. It’s definitely worth hearing for all fans of atmospheric black metal and especially ambient.