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This is certainly not the epitomal work of Summoning, and it may be a strange new journey full of elves, magic forests, hobbits, and warm hugs from Uncle Tolkien, but how is any of this different from their previous albums? They still dodge the major pitfalls but track a little dirt indoors with some small things. They are still awesome just a little more adult and ambient and a little more old and queer, and i don't mean queer in a "homo" way, just in a "one adult hobbit male saying 'I love you' to another adult hobbit male" kind of way. But that is why we LOVE them. Summoning just like hobbits are allowed to do this kind of thing because it is in their nature.
In a point-by-point comparison this really a top-shelf album. Sure it isn't the awe inspiring "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame," but i will do. now that we have that out of the way just look at who is doing this work, and what their intention is. Protector and Silenius were aiming for a transcendental romp across Arda without the gay midget kids in tow. Did they complete this? I think we know the answer here. look at who is doing the work- two guys who have been at it for fifteen years! Just two of them! And i am not afraid to say it this album is far more tolerable than most other black metal duets. *cough* Abbath and Horg *cough* Clearly they wish to keep the project as intimate as possible rather than just letting anyone come play drums. plus if i'm not mistaken it would take either several drummers or one drummer in several recordings by what it sounds like. Im not saying that it sounds like a lot of people drumming at once but rather a variety of kinds of drums. e.g.- Mirdautas Vras uses huge war drum sound then a military sounding snare, the middle of the song just before the tuba (I know right! Who the fuck said the could put a tuba in black metal? )has a kettle drum sound, then they seem to finish the song with a regular drum set. Of course they used a freakin drum machine! But, i do admit, after fifteen years someone could have learned to play the drums to the extent that they need them. I'm no drummer but I think if I tried I could pull off what the need in a few months of practice.
This brings my next point though! To everyone that whines about the recording being to roomy, misty, layered, muddled, flat, strained so on etc.? Seriously? Screw you! Maybe I can agree with "strained," but "misty and roomy?" What the hell does that even mean? I will go ahead and apologize for them not using the traditional black metal recording method: opening all the windows and door of the house while screaming from the basement at a microphone attached to a kite flying forty feet above in a thunderstorm. Whoops i'm talking about black metal! change the words "house", "basement", and "thunderstorm" into "castle," "crypt," and "eternal frozen north wind" respectively. Get over yourself.
Yes, there are uneventful points of the music, but i think that Summoning's music is written in the same fashion that Tolkien wrote L.O.T.R. Yes, it has bland parts that droll on about nothing but it makes the album one step closer to what it would be like to really be in middle earth, which I amount to a metric shit-ton of walking before a single orc shows up. Before I know the words and translations and lyrics or even the title of any song by Summoning I get a damn good idea of what they mean, and that is what music is about: the universal conveyance of emotion. in the same way that a scientist/mathematician can express a fact to you with a formula or equation, this band can convey to the listener the experience of witnessing the heroic and villainous deeds of the history of middle earth.
To get on the subject of what they did right! First is ambiance! This is AMBIENT black metal! It is all background sleepy-time carry-you-off-to-middle-earth-time music. The second isn't that they made the plunge into the icy black waters of dork-hood ( That happened long before they even formed this band), and not even that they learned to survive in those lonely frozen depths by accepting it, but they released any chance of climbing out, drying off and getting laid by singing an entire song in the black speech of Mordor. Man, the Austrian chicks must love the fact that they can say "it's a good day to kill" in orcish. The samples are very tastefully done here where with most bands, samples almost seem to detract from the experience. And lastly is that metal tuba? Seriously this has to be a first.
Standout tracks: Bauglirv, Mirdautas Vras, Land of the Dead
4.5 / 5.0