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The dilemma of guitars - 80%

PK, May 11th, 2004

Lost Tales is an atypical Summoning-release, containing a track from Silenius' now-disbanded instrumental project called Mirkwood and a previously unreleased demotrack from the Dol Guldur sessions, both without vocals or guitars but enriched with samples from various radio broadcasts of Summoning's biggest influence, J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

The absence of guitars and vocals is a double-edged sword in this case. The Mirkwood-track which opens the album, Arkenstone, is very peaceful and dreamy, thus perfect without guitars. In fact, if Summoning ever re-did this track with guitars and vocals, I would probably find this magnificent piece ruined. If I really started glorifying the song as it deserves, I would probably write an essay, so let's not go into that. Let's just say that I would change only the fade-out, which it is way too short, making the song end as if it suddenly runs into a wall.

The other song, Saruman, on the other hand seems crippled without guitars and vocals. Unlike Arkenstone, Saruman is fast and bombastic. The heavy percussions make the keyboards sound thin without a wall of guitars supporting them. The song seems to scream out for some heavy tremolo-guitars familiar from previous Summoning-releases. Whereas the speech samples in Arkenstone fit in well, in Saruman they are too rhythmic, sounding sometimes almost like rap (read: not good at all). The composition and arrangement in Saruman is of typical Summoning quality (read: great), but with the leaking performance it leaves an incomplete feel.

Despite the weak Saruman, Lost Tales still definitely has its place in the collection of a Summoning-fan because of the masterly Arkenstone and its reasonable price.