Review Summary: Well-executed black metal. While not essential by any means, Lugburz is definitely a highly underrated album in the black metal world.
If you’ve heard Summoning before, you know what to expect: extremely well-composed songs with several layers, catchy keyboard lines, and excellent screaming by the 2 band members, Protector and Silenius. However, Summoning’s first album release, Lugburz
, is by no means your typical Summoning release. Actually, it’s more like your typical black metal release. To be honest, this will already turn a lot of people off to this album, but it still sounds like Summoning: the well-composed songs and catchy riffs are still here, along with various keyboard breaks throughout the songs (they are not a huge part of the music here though, more on that later).
Unlike Summoning later 5 albums, this is the only one that could be considered “true” black metal. Frantic guitar riffs and drumming, inaudible bass (most of the time), and intense screams litter the album throughout, leaving little room for air. However, this is still Summoning. The guitars are very melodic unlike other black metal guitar riffs, giving the album a freer sounds overall, and allows the creation of nice catchy riffs. The love for Tolkien usually displayed by Summoning later on is clearly present, as noted by the song titles and lyrics. However, this album is also different from other Summoning albums due to Protector and Silenius sharing vocal duties throughout each song: Silenius is the one with the typical black metal shriek, similar to Varg, while Protector has a powerful scream that is probably considered one of the best among black metal vocalists technically. Finally, this is Summoning’s only album with an actual drummer, done by Trifixion, instead of a drum machine. He is your standard black metal drummer, so don’t expect anything too fancy in the drum department.
presents black metal in a much more melodic form, making the album far more listenable than other similar black metal albums. On top of that, the production level, especially for the year, is surprisingly well done for a black metal album. The instruments all come in loud and clear, and are easy to hear what’s going on in the mix. The traditional opening keyboard track that graces every Summoning album is here. There is no attempt to make it sound raw or anything like that; the keyboards are nice and soothing to listen to. The intro leads into the best track on the album, Beyond Bloodred Horizons
. Catchy, intense guitar riffing opens up the song, along with frantic blast beats by Trifixion. Protector is the first one to sing, while Silenius steps in shortly after. This song contains no keyboards, though they are present on other songs here. The next song, Flight of the Nazgul
, introduces a piano break in the center of the song, once again giving it a very melodic feel. Some of the songs actually feature the synth-y keyboard throughout the song, such as Dragons of Time
, but is not present in most other parts of the album. Finally, the guitars retain the extremely distorted tone throughout the entire album besides the break in the outro song Moondance
, which leaves very little room for catching your breath from the heavy guitars.
The only problem with this album I have is the slightly same-y feel throughout the album. The heaviness lets up, but not enough to keep a listener interested, and may tire the listener if he’s not used to the sound. This album has 11 tracks, which is much more than a typical Summoning album, but given, the tracks here are much shorter, averaging about 5 minutes apiece, which is actually still quite long. Regardless, black metal fans should definitely check out this album. Despite the slightly cheesy lyrics (which you can’t understand anyway, so big deal), and the kinda typical black metal sound, you will definitely like this. If you’re new to Summoning this would be the wrong place to start, try out Minas Morgul
, Dol Guldur
, or Oath Bound
instead, as those albums easily show off Summoning’s signature sound. While this is an excellent black metal album, in the end, it’s not really essential black metal. This should be the last album of Summoning you should get. However, you will not be disappointed.
Recommended Tracks: Beyond Bloodred Horizons, Flight of the Nazgul, Through the Vally of the Frozen Kingdom, Dragons of Time