Review Summary: Atmospheric, melodic, epic and immense. Words can't describe this album. This is an amazing album from an amazing band.
I have experienced lots of different black metal bands in many different shapes, doom/black, black/thrash, death/black, power/black, old-school black metal etc. Many of these bands has pleased me with their music abilities but then a friend recommended me to take a look at a band called Summoning
. First of all, Summoning
was created in 1993, they come from Austria and they play atmospheric black metal. But it is more than just atmospheric, Summoning’s
music is immense! When their drummer (Alexander Trondl (Trifixion)
) left the band the remaining members decided to take their music to another level. Black metal is the whole platform in their music; they use lots of keyboards to create a huge atmospheric sound, the vocals are typical black rasp and the drumming is slow but heavy. Another thing that makes this band so interesting is that their lyrics are influenced by the J.R.R Tolkien’s famous fantasy story books called Lord Of The Rings. Black metal is usually all about Satan, evil and darkness but not when it comes to Summoning
. There are of course lyrics that has some similarities with darker themes such as death and blackness but these lyrics are not as offending as ‘’ordinary’’ black metal lyrics.
I had a chat with a friend and he suggested that I could take a look at Summoning’s
latest album called Oath Bound
which was released in 2006. I had no idea of how the album would sound like but I knew that this was not going to be repetitive hyper-speed black metal. This album really surprised me, I have never heard an album with this much atmosphere. I thought that Embraced
delivered very atmospheric music but I think I have to change my opinion. Summoning
delivers even greater atmospheric black metal! Oath Bound
is a musical masterpiece to my ears. The album material is almost extremely atmospheric, very melodic, beautiful and immense. Even if the songs follows an almost identical song pattern Oath Bound
doesn’t feel repetitive at all. The guys in Summoning
manages to create variety and diversity in all the songs by using sound effects like marching armies of orcs, different keyboard patterns, melodic guitars and slow, heavy majestic drum beats.
started as a trio but the drummer left and then there were only two members left. Michael Gregor (Silenius)
is a vocalist, bassist and keyboarder. Richard Lederer (Protector)
takes care of the drum programming and the guitars but he is also a vocalist and keyboarder as well. Together they have typical black metal vocals, evil and raspy vocals that are sung in a slow tempo. The guitars are also slow (everything in this album is slow more or less). Anyway, the guitars have a distinctive sound that stands out and really adds extra texture and depth to the atmosphere created by the keyboards. Melodic, slow and distinct would be the right words to describe the whole guitar performance. I’m sorry to say this but the bass is almost non-existent in this album, I can’t hear a single note or tune from the bass. The bass really fades away because of the enormous keyboards and guitars, but black metal is known for having a poor bass so this shouldn’t be a disappointment for black metal enthusiasts. And then we have the highlight instruments, the mighty keyboards! Yes the keyboards are mighty because without them this album would be just as interesting as a horror movie without horror. The keyboards create an enormous atmosphere that really lifts the songs to heavenly levels. Once again this is a slow and simplistic performance but all the songs sounds so beautiful, mythical, powerful and majestic because of the keyboards. At last you we have reached the drums, remember that these are programmed drums. Black metal bands use lots of blast beats and other types of hyper-speed drumming but here the drums are slow. The drums are slow and the drum pattern does not have a lot of variety, but the drum patterns still doesn’t feel repetitive. The mighty and heavy drum beats echoes nicely in the powerful songs, the drum patterns sounds familiar to what I call ‘’marching’’ drums. Imagine a horde of bloodthirsty orcs and other foul beasts marching towards a human settlement. That is the best way I can describe the drums.
That should be enough; this is how I feel about this marvellous album. I have to admit that there are no flaws in Oath Bound
. I liked everything in this album, the immense atmosphere, the classic vocal work, the guitars you name it. Everything flows together in harmony, nothing is too overwhelming or too overshadowed (expect the non-existent bass). The use of sound effects like the orcish battle cries, marching armies and battle drumming increases the song variety and adds more flavour to the whole atmosphere. Before I end this I will give some recommendations, any black-metal enthusiast should’ve heard at least something from Summoning
. Of you like doom, power metal and similar metal genres you would probably enjoy the kind of music without any bigger problems. If you like metal with connections to fantasy, viking, folk and medieval themes, both musically and lyrically then you should get Oath Bound
. If you thought that this has been an interesting and helpful review then I really hope that you get this album, this is one of few essential metal albums out there.
+ It can’t be more atmospheric than this
+ Melodic, slow, harmonic and relaxing black metal
+ You don’t even have to like black metal to enjoy this album
+ The classic evil black metal vocals make a great contrast together with the beautiful music
+ Even if the songs are more than eight minutes long you can still digest them with ease
- If you have problems with slow music than you might not like this kind of music
-- Land Of The Dead (Highly Recommended
-- Might And Glory
-- Across The Streaming Tide
This album will be given a solid 5/5.