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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the Summoning website  Summoning - Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame [Napalm - 2001]

Summoning is a band that you either love or hate. You find it very beautiful or extremely boring. But since reviews need to be objective, I'll look at the new album from both sides.

Silenius and Protector, the duo behind Summoning, have been quite busy last year with different musical projects. Silenius has Kreuzweg Ost, industrial featuring Martin Schirenc of Pungent Stench & Hollenthon and Protector has been working on Ice Ages, a more gothic influenced project. Yet they have found the time to do another Summoning album. "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame", as the disc is named, is Summoning's sixth release, and also the sixth on Napalm Records. Except for the debut album "Lugburz", which was pretty chaotic and primitive, the music created by the Austrian duo has always sounded the same: slowly-paced and mellow keyboard melodies with additional guitars and screaming "black metal" vocals. Inspiration was mainly draw from J.R.R. Tolkien's works like "The Lord Of The Rings", but also from former Hawkwind member Michael Moorcock, which is also a fantasy author. This becomes clear in the artwork and lyrics, of which the latter are self-written, not using quotes from the authors' works.

The listener will notice that there are no big surprises on "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame". The bombastic synths, mainly using horns, are still an excellent soundtrack for fantasy literature. Since all the albums sounded the same, the duo did do something experimental on the previous album "Stronghold", just to give the repeating sound a break. The result was a track featuring the soprano vocals of Tania Borsky, life partner of Protector. A nice song for a change, but this time they left the female vocals out. The experienced Summoning listener however, will notice some changes to the sound. For the first time more or less "clean" vocals are used, alongside the raw screaming voices. There are samples used from a British broadcast of "Lord Of The Rings" too, for the first time as well. According to the press information, the new release is also more keyboard driven than the last album, which was more guitar orientated. Maybe it's just me, but I don't hear the difference really. Keyboards are still in front and guitars in the background, as ever.

The production is something that needs improvement. Protector recorded everything in his home "Nachtschatten" studio, and the result is that everything sounds overly synthetic. It seems that everything is programmed, and even the guitars sound if they're coming out of a computer. This is a part of Summoning's characteristic sound, but what if there was a budget available to use real instruments? Now that would be something interesting...

I think Summoning is becoming too repetitive. "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame" is a nice album, but I still prefer "Minas Morgul", released in a time when this kind of music was still interesting. The fans will of course not be disappointed with it, but the music feels outdated and is not interesting enough to keep my interest.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Justin Faase
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