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Having been together for twenty years now, Protector and Silenius of legendary Austrian based band, Summoning, return in 2013 with, 'Old Mornings Dawn.' Over those years they've hardly been prolific though, its been six years since 'Oath Bound' came out, making this latest offering just their seventh album.
I've been listening to Summoning since the 'Stronghold' days (1999) and news of a new release from these two had always got me so charged up, even hearing about this album and viewing the trailer on youtube promised great things. However, after a few listens something became obvious to me -- Summoning hasn't matured or changed in any way whatsoever.
'Old Mornings Dawn' offers up just what you'd expect out of it; epic keyboard orchestrations, various samples, programmed drums, choral vocals, both Protector and Silenius' harsh screams and usually stern narrative spoken parts that sound like Saruman or Gandalf from Lord of the Rings movies. But there's a major problem.
Repetition seems to be this albums main formula, I guess that's always been typical of the band, but in the past the band managed to create some truly marvelous and majestic melodies that drew the listener into their fantasy world and kept them for a long time. On this album the melodies mostly seem dull and lifeless and really all I want to do is just leave their world. Also figure in the fact that the guitars are merely backing noise, buried by the percussion, synths and vocals, and nowhere within the album are their any riffs that stick out either. The album does have a slightly uplifting moment with the first few minutes of the song, 'Caradhras,' although once the intro passes its simply more of the same. The choral parts hardly seem interesting either, I mean, the first time I heard old songs like 'Land of the Dead' or 'Farewell' I was blown away. Even the main vocals seem to lack passion and considering the screams we've heard out of these guys in the past they just seem tired here.
Its all been done before though, and not just by Summoning, but several, several other bands have all made their best attempts to completely rip this band off and I must have just reached the point where I simply don't care about epic fantasy metal any longer, because this album offers mere glimpses of brilliance with the remaining pieces just being repetition and old worn out ideas. On the other hand, if Summoning is one of your true favs its entirely possible that this album will hit home for you, but for me its just a big mess of stuff I've heard before.
Considering the bands pace at releasing albums it would only seem likely that they'd spend another 5-6 years writing, and if they do I truly hope they consider the possibilities of experimenting and taking the Summoning sound to the next logical level, finally.
Originally wrote for, Lunar Hypnosis: http://lunarhypnosis.blogspot.com/