MetalBite Review by Chris Pratl on 7/17/2018 7:28:49 PM
Yep, it's been that long since we heard any of the incredible musical compositions of the mighty Summoning. It's really hard to believe Oath Boundwas way back in 2006, but, alas, here I sit with the first strains of Old Mornings Dawn, the new offering by this Austrian outfit, swimming through my ears. To be honest, I wasn't the least bit concerned that Summoning wouldn't deliver another impeccable piece of musical artistry, and they didn't let me down. In fact, they surpassed and expectations I had.
From the early tones of “Evernight” I just knew I was in for a magical journey yet again, and the atmosphere that Summoning is so famous for is abundant and rich within. The combination of black metal and folkish, medieval majesty propels the album in every corner of its existence. There isn't a solitary moment of boredom or laboring anywhere to be found, and that in itself is a feat of total reverence these days.
What Summoning manages to produce here is what many modern bands simply cannot, and that is a visual landscape wholly and solely produced within the wondrous frame of musical inference. The overall feel of ancient battles through a bevy of forests and overcast skies is so easy to visualize here; galloping through brushes and battered and broken trees while the brilliant soundtrack rings in the ears is a wonderment that only Summoning and a sparse few other bands can accomplish. With the amazing keys providing some of the finest bombastic sounds to ever abandon the power metal camp fattening the bottom end, this record can actually bring a welling to the eyes and a lump to the throat. As I try vainly to smell the acrid air and bloody metal shields with the title track, I'm lifted so high I swear I can feel Valhalla's winds upon me. It's evident that this is no ordinary release I am allowing into my heart.
What has always enthralled me about Summoning is the innate ability to create the perfect mental pictures to accompany the music. While only opera, classical and metal music can really achieve this with absolutely credulity, it's especially affirming when a band takes a seven-year sabbatical and manages to come back stronger than when they went into hibernation. Each track exemplifies a new emotion, a deep and wordless knowledge that something far more beautiful and fulfilling lay in wait for us. The haunting echo of the vocal in “The White Tower” seems to be calling out from a distant past, traveling through the chasm of time and memory and infecting my senses with sheer perfection. There are just so many emotions running rampant through me as I take in this record, and I'm not exactly sure how to accurately describe them. This is, without question, one of the best albums of the year thus far.
The timelessness of the music from a band like Summoning manages to tap into recesses in the mind so deeply buried they rush forth like a dam newly burst and flooding the land. The mixture of old folk elements and blackened metal stands right on the anorexic cusp of that 'epic' tag we tend to overuse and spread out like Nebraska thunder to many an undeserving band. That said, Old Mornings Dawn can produce a sincerely magical piece like “Of Pale White Morns and Darkened Eves” and find the happy median between deliberate majesty and accidental genius; this track needs to be heard and enjoyed for the utter apex that it shoulders. Hell, the whole album needs to be heard, and I strongly suggest you put it atop your to-buy lists.
When all is said and done, Old Mornings Dawn provides an intelligent, epic story with which to reawaken the imaginative giants in all of us that might lie otherwise lulled and forgotten. This will be on many year-end lists as one of the best of the year and with very good reason. One does not simply walk away from this record...one lumbers away weary from battle and parched with a thirst unquenchable and crippling, and it's wonderful.
Rating: 9.9 out of 10
(Originally written for www.metalpsalter.com)
MetalBite Review by Maciek on 5/29/2013
Long 7 years of waiting for the new release frim duo from Austria and it's finally here. And it's perfect in every single sound in my opinion. The masters of converting Tolkien's stories into music have created another brilliant masterpiece, which is as exciting as watching Peter Jackson's movies or reading the books.
There's no point in analysing all tracks separately, because the album is a whole composition leading you through the world of Black Metal/Folk collaboration. The construction of all songs remains nearly the same since 'Dol Guldur', but on this album the creativity and performance has reached new heights and I have to say Summoning have created some sort of their own genre in which they rule supreme. From the very beginning, elvish in my opinion, you are being dragged into the world of Middle Earth and taken on a journey through landscapes described in amazing stories about Lord of the Rings. First of all, keyboards add even more ambient atmosphere than before (never thought that would be possible), this album is another perfect example that you don't need real orchestra to create astonishing symphony, with perfect structure, where the calm beginning with only one instrument, develops into choruses which have all keyboards, harsh guitars and Black Metal shrieks to create an ideal climax. Each track sounds like an anthem, you can easily imagine the events happening before your eyes as delicate keyboards move to the background, guitar riffs move to the front and are shortly joined by choir. What is probably slightly different on this album, that guitars play slightly bigger role than on previous albums, you can hear them quite clearly here and sometimes it's actually the riff which is carrying the main melody line. The best example is the title track or 'The White Tower'. To me it is as enchanting as 'Dol Guldur', probably my favourite album until now and if you have never listened to Summoning before, try imagining the beauty of Clannad's music in the "Robin Of Sherwood" series from the 80s. Cannot think of any other music being so picturesque and matching perfectly the lyrics.
Protector and Silenius have invented a spell to drag you into the world of legends and the spell works perfectly on me for nearly 20 years now. And when you listen to it, you don't want to go back. It's going on my list of perfect 10s of this year.