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epic metal landmark - 87%

odradek, June 19th, 2007

Minas Morgul marks a transition point in Summoning's history. Here can be found the last vestiges of the band's black metal roots as well as the introduction of some of the epic soundtrack elements that would define their future direction. The most notable change would be the drumming; some of the tracks here keep time to busy rhythmic patterns typical of the black metal genre, which Summoning would abandon in later releases for a more reserved symphonic style of percussion. Keyboards have already replaced the guitar as the dominant melodic instrument on Minas Morgul, although the familiar buzzy tremolo picked guitar lines contribute to some songs as well. Silenius and Protector both contribute excellent harsh vocals as always.

"Dagor Bragollach" is one of my all time favorite Summoning tracks. Rousing sythesizer lines punctuated by marching snare and bells generate an incredible tension, which somehow continues to elevate even higher at every transition. The intensity is so sharp the listener can barely breathe until the song concludes.

"The Legend of the Master-Ring" is another standout track that showcases what would become a Summoning trademark: captivating keyboard melodies that span many measures before repeating.

Minas Morgul isn't a flawless album. One or two of the tracks drag on a bit too long, and the keyboard sound quality is a bit weak at times. But there is great material to be experienced here, and its exciting to witness the emergence of the brilliant and original art that Summoning would continue to produce on the tremendous follow up -- Dul Goldur -- and subsequent releases.