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Summon the Wolves of War - 93%

Edmund Sackbauer, April 4th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, Askio Productions (Limited edition)

Greece and Russia are among the top countries when it comes to black metal so bundling together one band of each surely is a good idea. “Summon the Wolves of War” is a split including six tracks by Russian outfit Doden Grotte and four by Greek warriors Fullmoon Cult. This split is released with a nice looking artwork by Greek label Askio Productions, and as I have not been familiar with neither of the two bands this split has been a really nice surprise.

The fiery tremolo attacks are hitting with full force but it becomes immediately evident that melody plays a similarly important role for both bands. The main ingredients are sinister black metal chords, accompanied by the typical relentless drum patterns. Both outfits have a great feeling of weaving some intricate harmonies into the overall soundscape, giving the songs a very atmospheric and gloomy feeling.

The speed and the intensity are kept high over the course of the album, with only a few passages where the tempo is slowed down and the listener gets a chance to breathe. However, the melodic harmonies and the fantastic hooks make the record a very enjoyable affair. The song structures are pretty stringent, and while technical prowess plays an important role in certain sections the album has a great flow and it is pretty easy to get into the music. A lot is going on in the background, and the bands always make sure that the epic elements lend a very atmospheric nature to the music.

The drumming is tight and precise without being pushed too much into the foreground. The instrumentation is flawless without the musicians ever losing themselves in redundant wankery. The songs are written in a very stringent and (for that kind of music) accessible way, making them immediately enjoyable for the consumer despite their sheer brutality and grimness. The single parts of the songs are woven together in a way to make each song stand on its own feet and the technical complexity is used as additional tool to underline certain sections.

Both bands chose to include a cover song, with Doden Grotte going for one track by the (to me) unknown outfit Baal Zebuth while Fullmoon Cult having chosen a more prominent peer by covering Impaled Nazarene. While those are done well there are enough own ideas making the self-written tracks even more interesting than those covers.

The production is spot on, with Doden Grotte offering a more dynamic and punchy sound and the Fullmoon Cult tracks having an extra portion of rawness. That being said the sound is great, giving the instruments enough room to breathe, underlining the bleak character of the music. All in all “Summon the Wolves of War” comes with the highest recommendation for fans of traditional black metal and collectors should try to get a copy of it.