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A long-awaited dawn - 92%

belegur13, June 17th, 2013

After the long stretch between this album and Oath Bound, any Summoning fan would expect to hear nothing less than epic music. And that is what they have provided. Some parts do take time to get used to after such expectation, but fortunately they grow on you (at least they did me).

The guitars sound similar to that of Oath Bound, blending into the keyboards to create a symphony that flows evenly. There are times where they keyboards drown the guitars, however, which can be distracting. The biggest surprise for me came from the drum sounds. Rather than being the resonant, pounding drums of previous releases, these seem comparatively danceable. The introduction to Of Pale White Morns and Darkened Eves, for instance, almost feels like it was written for Protector's Ice Ages project. That's not to say they don't have their epic moments, but they do make this album sound more upbeat.

Still, the dark atmosphere and resounding vocals that Summoning have made themselves known for are as strong here as any previous release. Female vocals and spoken word featured on some of the tracks add to the atmosphere, and the choirs make a prominent return, sounding better on this album than they ever did on the previous two releases. It's not hard to picture another world entirely while listening to this music, which is what this band is best at.

Fans of Summoning will likely be pleased by what the band has to offer, however it make take a few listens to wrap your head around it, mainly due to the drums and some of the keyboard effects, as mentioned before. Standout tracks for me were Old Mornings Dawn, Caradhras and Earthshine.