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Whether a fan of Black, Death, or Power Metal, EVERYONE has a spot for Summoning. A popular duo from Austria, Summoning plays usually slow, clear, and epic sounding Black Metal fixed on themes from fantasy and Tolkien. The group is also known for their breathtaking album art, which everyone knows is surpassed by the music within.
Stronghold was my introduction to Protector and Silenius’ world, and for newcomers I recommend starting here because this album has stiff elements of previous works while still having formula that the newer material is built from. While the album starts off with the sweet instrumental and (believe me) catchy tune of “Rhun”, it just sets you into the mood like all the Summoning releases before it. The real fun starts with my first Summoning track heard, “Long Lost To where No Pathman Goes”. I’m not alone when I say I was mesmerized by Protectors guitar work, which is the backbone of the song entirely. Combined with a keyboard skyline and the simplistic drum pattern, this song shines in the Summoning catalog.
One must know that Summoning loves to infuse majestic melodies into each of their songs, while also having fairly diverse vocal styles (Compare vocals from track 2, 5, and 6). Both Protector and Silenius mix vocal duties, a feat that both men are masters of. At the time Summoning had no one covering drums (and still doesn’t), so Protector instead handles the programming (a decision many deem intelligent). Don’t fret, because the drumming is incredibly coherent and consistent with each song, filling a greater purpose than just “keeping pace”.
Although the guitar work plays an important role (albeit a bit scratchy due to production), the keyboards are truly what makes Summoning who they are. Take all the beauty that Middle Earth has to offer, and you have an approximation of what Protector and Silenius churn out when they even come close to a keyboard. Besides the “Long Lost To Where No Pathman Goes” and “The Rotting Horse…”, these tracks are remembered for their keyboard melodies, all of which contain a captivating tune of emotion and all that is good in the world. The atmosphere, my fellow listeners, is as enchanting as the lyrics of land and life we will never see in today’s world ever again.
Clocking over an hour, many will not (and are not) be displeased that there isn’t enough to capture. Make sure that you aren’t only listening to this album, but you also use your imagination when your setting is dull, as it will be your savior. Understand when I say that envisioning Middle Earth plays a huge part in enjoying this album. When listening to this piece, no one will want to come back.