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Lugburz is the first of Summoning's albums, often considered a demo release, though in reality it is a full fledged album. Summoning on here create a style very much unlike anything else they're done. The sound is much more of the Austrian black metal sound along the lines of Abigor. Meaning more complex melodic riffs tied together by a very neo-classical sense of writing. However Summoning on here are still much more minimal then Abigor, one can hear the roots of the minimal yet neo-classical feeling that they would continue on from Minas Morgul on.
The big difference here is the drum sound, as this has a real drummer. At first that was the biggest thing for me to get over, as the sound is very organic and slightly underproduced. But still there are mountains of reverb on the drums, which is something they would always continue to do. The guitars also have a great deal of reverb, and seem to be played in a cavern of sound. The vocals perhaps have the most reverb, and they scream with a passion and intensity that marks everything Silenius did at this point. Maybe not as intense as his work with Abigor at this time or his work on Minas Morgul, but still one of the best aspects. The bass is not usually highlighted (except on a few songs), leaving nearly all of the musical focus on the guitars. They do indeed manage to shine, with excellent riffs that do seem to weave patterns of sound and vision that create the dark medievalist and Tolkien atmosphere that Summoning would later rely on keyboards to capture.
The other big surprise from this album is that there are almost no keyboards. Except the intro and a few sections on the album this is pretty much keyboard-less. But with the raw sound and production, it's easy to understand why there's really not much in the way of keyboard work here. If I were to compare this to anything it would be to the Black Funeral album Empire of Blood, except with a more epic and medievalist sense of atmosphere. Both albums have a necro sense of production, but on the other side of Transilvanian Hunger, this is necro with a lot of reverb to seemingly create a dark almost gothic atmosphere. Also both albums have riffs that would seemingly sound "happy" yet combined with the dark evil presence of mind the almost "happy" sound is submerged into the dark world Summoning (and Black Funeral on that album) desire to create.
This is bleak and often quite evil black metal, and though very different from the rest of Summoning's albums is still effective at creating the medieval Tolkien-ish world they have always desired to invoke. Not the best place to start for those new to Summoning, it is however an essential release to own for anyone who likes Summoning, for despite the differences in sound it is still Summoning, and that does mean quality and intensity. An essential also for fans of bands like Burzum and Abigor.