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Summoning, next to Blind Guardian, are probably the most faithful Tolkien themed metal band out there. These guys really know their stuff and include in their lyrics excerpts from some of his most obscure poems. But what I really love about this band is their absolutely brilliant ability to perfectly capture the mood of the subject matter of the lyrics, in this case having to do with Hurin and the curse on his family (taken from the Silmarillion).
Summoning are like few other metal bands; their music, to be blunt, is very slow and very repetitive. However, the melodies that they repeat are so well thought out and so well written that it produces a vast, deep feel to the music that's unlike any other I've heard. In combination with the plodding and heavy drums devoid of any blastbeats or double bass or even typical metal beats, murky production and non-linear songwriting, Summoning produce music that is completely worthy of the Silmarillion.
There are some truly epic (and not cheesy epic) tracks here, with one of my favorites being Beleriand. The entire song and particularly the chorus ischilling; I'd go so far as to say that this song more or less defines what "epic" should mean. Every song here is long, slow and winding and takes its time building up and up and up, sometimes ending with a climax and sometimes ending with utter silence. The vocals fit perfectly with the music, while not in and of themselves overly amazing screeches and rasps.
If there's one high point here, its the final song, Land of the Dead. This song may just be the greatest metal song ever written; without giving anything away I can say that it is by far Summonings greatest song and an absolute achievement in every way. Absolutely spellbinding in its composition of simplicity and simply one of the most brilliant songs I've ever heard.
This is one of my all time favorite metal (if one call really call it "metal" as there is experimentation with ambient, martial ambient, and several other genres here) and in my opinion a landmark for metal as a whole. This isn't crushingly heavy, mindbogglingly technical or even all that extreme. This is the spirit of Tolkien's Middle-earth captured in musical form.