Connect with Summoning
Listen to Summoning
For those familiar with the black metal realm, it is no secret that many of the genre's most influential outfits hail from Scandinavia in some form. So, it serves as a bit of a breath of "fresh air" so to speak when we get such bands from elsewhere. Even still, there exist countless acts from around the world that give their own take on the black metal sound and attempt to innovate ot refine the confines of this blackened area of extreme metal music. Summoning is a testament to that notion.
Originating from Vienna, Austria and possessing a longwinded career that began in the early 1990s, this band, which is currently signed to Napalm Records, has outdone their selves in several ways since their formation. With eight full-length albums and three EPs inspired by the Middle-Earth writings of JRR Tolkien under their belts, Summoning has accomplished quite a lot in their career. Oddly enough, the band hasn't performed live to this day...ever.
Recently, the Austrian black metallers have unleashed their latest offering onto the world. This new effort, titled With Doom We Come, is an atmospheric type of release that consists of eight tracks culminating into an album comprised of a little over an hour of extreme, dark, melodic and brooding content. Each song within this effort is typically seven to ten minutes, with two of the later tracks surpassing the eleven minute mark. The themes in this album are dark and foreboding as ever, one aspect that continually is there to clash with the ambiance and melodic and instrumental elements of the rest of the music. The band has pulled out all the stops on this one, so it seems.
This release really has many good things going for it. The album is lengthy, but it rarely ever wastes time; the ambiance, lyricism and pseudo-Lord of the Rings/Middle-Earth-esque themes are dark while the melodies and instrumentals are consistently progressive, with both upbeat folky and depressive tones throughout. The vocals are there to serve as yet another instrument in the mix, giving way to storytelling and exposition for the album's cycle. The added instruments and nuances here and there ultimately become the strongest aspects of this release, with a wide variety of sounds and instruments being implemented. You can hear strings, violins, acoustics, the usual infused percussion, some winds, etc. It truly makes itself out as an album with a ton of ambition and innovation in that aspect. The musicianship is stellar...as is the production, with the overall feel of the quality being not too crisp, yet not as low-fi enough for kvlt status.
Particularly, the 'Herumor' and 'With Doom I Come' tracks are two of the most notable and strongest on this release for a couple of reasons. For one thing, these compositions have the most balladic and melodic sections as well as the best variety in terms of ambiance. In addition, the eclectic instrumentals really take flight in these songs. The entire album has superb flow and transitioning throughout, starting off with a rather upbeat and exciting tone with the instrumental opening track (which serves as build-up for what's in store) and finishing off with a sort of melancholy atmosphere towards the end.
While this album does many things well, there are just a few little things to mention here in terms of the downsides. Firstly, the album itself gets a tad repetitive at times towards the middle, with the lengthy track times perhaps contributing to that aspect as well. The filler track at the center of With Doom We Come titled 'Barrow-Downs' is one that I didn't think was needed. The album already had sufficient build-up right at the beginning, so another filler instrumental track really could've been taken out. The other thing is the underwhelming vocals. There could've been a bit more done with these, maybe with a little more range or variety thrown in at times. They just end up feeling underused, even for this type of music. I will say that the chanting vocals at the album's very end are a nice touch, though.
In all, Summoning's latest effort With Doom We Come is a fairly entertaining and interesting album to listen to, despite its minor flaws, slight repetition and drawn out length. Ultimately, it is an appropriately dark and brooding atmospheric effort. The release sports an eclectic variety of different sounds and instruments, which coincide and play greatly with the album's fitting lyricism and themes. The structure and competent writing as well as peformances give way to an album that has several redeeming features and noteworthy elements that make it the stellar modern atmospheric black metal effort that it is.
I'd recommend this album to any and all fans of the previous works of Summoning, enthusiasts of the atmospheric portion of black metal, as well as to those listeners who want a little more variety in their music. It's good and refreshing to see that Summoning are still keeping it up after so many years.
Fave Tracks: 'Herumor'; 'Night Fell Behind'; 'With Doom I Come'
Review by: Dave Raffy
-Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to share it with others to help us grow. You can also like and follow us on the social media of your choice with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and support us on Patreon.