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Have you ever wished that "Lord of the Rings" movies had better soundtrack or wished to hear some nice music inspired by LotR as a whole? Well, wish no more Summoning is here, and they have been for quite a long time (from 1993 to be exact). If you are a fan of metal as well you probably know about them and are a fan. But, yet more people need to know about this awesome band. On a simpler explanation, their music can be described as atmospheric black metal inspired by Tolkien, but it is so much more. These musicians can create a middle-earth in our minds on a whole new different level. This album is their latest effort, which actually is after a long gap of 7 years, following which might have been (according to some) their greatest release "Oath Bound". So naturally Summoning have a lot to prove, and although they might not have reached new grounds with this one but they still are very good at what they do and what they do is worship Middle-earth in a black metal way.
Summoning is definitely not a typical black metal band, in fact some would say they have completely shaded their black metal roots after delving this much into melody and implementation of orchestral elements into their backdrop of bass work familiar to black metal and repetitive yet thoroughly engrossing riff-work. There is so much to offer in their view of black metal, you get your typical dreary feeling but with a clearer view of landscapes and a beautiful insight into the minds of their Tolkien worshiping melancholy. Never had there been such a finer influenced form of music that complements its origin so much.
Despite their use of overall melodic approach at black metal with beautiful keyboard tunes and exquisitely crafted guitar riffs that enchant the listener into a vision of another world, Summoning implements somewhat typical black vocals. Although there are clearly spoken words and even some female epic vocals the use of blackish growls really complements their musical style. Keyboard works on the whole album is one of the key elements of the atmosphere with its outstanding capability to enrich our imaginations through its orthodox yet unique methods. Its not very hard to assess that the band uses drum programming which although at times pales in comparison to their other instruments is actually quite better than their earlier releases. The guest vocals are also a welcome element as it gives the overall vocal aspect variation keeping in accordance with the musical side which is so varied indeed.
Although there is not much flaw in this album in my opinion as you can tell from my previous appraisal, their are some drawbacks. The nature of any album of any band such as Summoning is that you have to compare it to the artists previous records. As in case Summoning their last 2-3 albums were the pinnacle of their achievement by far and really hard to follow as they have become a true underground metal giant through those records. So when one compares their latest effort with those it lacks somethings in comparison. The epic element in those releases is still present but unlike those records "Old Mornings Dawn" never really tries to achieve new grounds and just follows the pattern set by Summonings well tested style and that really is a bit of a disappointment. The songs are a bit too simplistic in some regards and never really aspires for that over arching vision that previous records did and that is a shame really.
At the end of the day, Summoning is still what they try to be and still one of the legends of underground metal. They not just a create music but an overall ensemble of emotions and atmosphere that needs to be experienced to be appreciated. Despite many giants of the underground scene losing their ways in recent years Summoning hold to their roots with firm hands and deliver to their fans yet another solid (although not without some flaws) record. We just hope that we don't have to wait another 7 years for the next one.
Notable Tracks - As all Summoning albums are an overall experience its really hard to select notable songs. But here are some good ones - "Flammifer", "The White Tower", "Caradhras", " The Wandering Fire", " Earthshine" etc.
If you do get this album try to get the version with the bonus tracks as those two are really nice short songs reminiscent of early days of the band.
Overall Score -
8.5 out of 10.
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