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Perfection reached!! - 100%

Paganbasque, May 14th, 2010

Five long years had passed since Summoning released “Let the mortal heroes sing your fame”, an astonishingly epic album hailed by a lot of fans as the epitome of this unique Austrian band’s career. After this release the founding members Silenus and Protector disappeared under the mist, rumours about a new work were spread intensively but sadly no official news appeared during a long period of time. Finally the band announced its comeback with a new opus called “ Oath Bound” which supposed the long-awaited return to Middle Earth’s based lyrics.

When the album cover was unveiled every fan knew that something big was going to come, undoubtfuly Oath Bound´s artwork was the best of Summoning´s discography and was a visual warning of how majestic this album was going to be. Stylistically this work doesn’t differ too much from the previous albums, perhaps the main difference between “Oath Bound” and LTMHSYF is that OB recovered part of the old strenght of the guitars. Don’t misunderstand me, since “Minas Morgul” the guitars had been in a second line surfaced by the indisputable prominence of the keys and the atmospheric arrangements, this aspect has never changed but with OB Silenius and Protector created some interesting guitar lines and when the album was recorded they gave to the guitars a bigger presence and volume. In my opinion this decision was absolutely correct, mainly because it permited the songs to have a better balance between rawness and the atmospheric touch, which was perhaps the one little mistake of Let the heroes. So this album could be considered a logic continuation of Summoning´s traditional style, with very few changes and some new additions, as the first time use of a real flute in the epic anthem Land of the dead, or the interesting use of the black language of Mordor in Mirdautas Vas.

“Oath Bound” stars with the usual short intro which has nothing remarkable but its nice to listen and creates the necessary excitement to introduce us in this formidable journey through the Middle Earth. The initial song called Across the Streaming Tide is a perfect example of what Summoning is, the incomparable combination of raspy vocals, tremolo picked guitars and haunting atmosphere, as in the past the production is sufficiently row but at the same time clean. Mirdautas Vas begins with a highly recognizable war march drum style, the song is leaded by trumpet sounds(artificially created by programmed keys) and the march of an orch army, while Silenious screams give the neccesary strenght to the song, other remarkable aspect is that it is sang in the dark language invented by Tolkien, this detail reinforces the sense of eerie atmosphere of the song. Might and Glory in another beautiful piece where the guitars recover their relevance in combination with the obiquitous keyboards, which marvellous melodies are always capable of hipnotizing the listener, drawning us into the imaginary world of the Middle Earth, other excellent arrangements as raven sounds or a solemn choir help to fill out the ensemble. Beleriand is perhaps my favourite composition of this album, with an astonishing initial epic riff accompained by a simple but haunting key melody, Silenious vocals are simple awesome and highly emotive as always, the song itself is an unstoppable ode to the ancient battles of which grandeur is indescriptible. Albeit it doesn´t exist a single mediocre song in this album its no my intention to comment all of them, nevertheless under no circunstancies could I forget to mention and glorify the last song of this masterpiece, perhaps the most magnificent song that Summoning has ever composed, Land of the Dead. A delicate and precious piano melody commences this majestic anthem, followed by the first time used real flute which enhances the breathtaking atmosphere of this composition. When you reach the eighth minute of this song a daunting and tremendous choir appears, its imposible not to be moved while you are listening it, especially in the last part when this beautiful choir shares the stardom with the evoking flute, simply marvellous!!.

Overall the album is perfect from the very beginning to the very end, being a incredible combination of all those elements that make Summoning such a unique and marvellous band. Its extremely praiseworthy how these two musicians can create such an epic and shattering music with a simple key, guitar and drum machine, no enormous budgets or productions are needed to represent perfectly the legendary world of Tolkien. A must have for every fan of Summoning, Tolkien writings or epic soundtracks.