Summoning – Old Mornings Dawn

summoningStunning. Awe-inspiring. Magical. Such is the musical legacy so carefully constructed and germinated by the Austrian duo know as Summoning. We have been waiting for 7 years to hear Protector and Silenius’ labor of mystical sonic spell-casting to carry us away on another journey to untamed landscapes and snow capped mountains by way of Middle Earth. The wait was worth every agonizing minute, for Old Mornings Dawn is yet another fine addition to their deeply layered and world building catalog.

Old Mornings Dawn is nothing new for Summoning in terms of formula, for there isn’t anything broken in need of fixing when it comes to the way they construct their symphonies. The emotive ideas filling their songwriting arsenal feel just as swollen with passion to feed the image conjuring melodies with a majestic flow and direction. Old Mornings Dawn is right in line with Summoning’s past works, if anything, the impact is a touch more striking as they have arrived at a fuller and less processed sounding guitar tone than found on the equally amazing, though oddly produced Oath Bound. The martial industrial influenced synthetic drum programming sounds far more produced this time out as well (ie: more low end), allowing every nuance and layer to stir this material into a hypnotic march. The album benefits from this rhythmically interesting depth which gives this project a very theatrical presentation. The riffs remain on the prog side of black metal, centering on clever repetition of well considered/note based riffs which act as a platform for the synth layers with their carefully constructed melody lines to soar high atop the fray with hooks that strike with a bird of prey precision. All of these separate lines of music congeal so seamlessly into an amazing piece of intricate classical black martial industrial metal that every time unlocks these forgotten chains in my mind and invite me to travel out of my body. It is a special band that can do this to me and Summoning have always held a power second only to Viking era Bathory when it comes down to favorite bands who wield the power to toy with my emotions.

With the harsh vocal structures of Protector and Silenius leading the way on our journey and providing an in-key sense of organic barbarity, the main thing that I feel sets this album apart from the last 3 is in the overall feel. Old Mornings Dawn finds all the once thin production values greatly improved upon, so more focus can be locked in on the actual content. I will say this material isn’t as bombastic when it comes to important dynamics shifts, rather each song flows lethargically like a long and winding river before it reaches the sea on the triumphant album closer, “Earthshine”. Summoning always leave us with a majestic track as if in reassurance that they will return someday with new tales to spin and their banners waving in the wind in victory and Earthshine is no exception. Magnificent choirs pour on the drama while a mighty trumpet synth tone screams fearlessly defiant in the face of battle. When those choirs and timpani’s hit, if a tear isn’t shed in witness to the  stunning impact and skillfully composed union of metal and classical music, you’re not allowing yourself to let go and become properly immersed in the grandiose crescendo. 20 years and 7 albums into their career and Summoning still sound just as vital and ravenous in regards to high brow composition as they did when they decided to shift away from the more traditional black metal style found on Lugburz, in favor of more adventurous concepts visually, stylistically and musically as on the genre defining Minas Morgul.

Old Mornings Dawn has been a brilliant gift, for in the last week I have had it in my possession, I have been physically and emotionally incapable of tearing myself away from it, unless it is to enjoy older Summoning albums. I could go through and tear apart every song in an attempt to help you understand the magnitude of an album such as this, but ultimately each track shares a similar vibe, while unlocking so many interesting twists and musical embellishments to give each song a spirit all its own. It is only April and before you lies your album of the year! Yes… it is that good. All brutal black and Darkthrone clones awaiting to release albums this year… this is your cue to simply stop. You have been bested and rendered irrelevant yet again. Summoning is music with unfathomable soul and character and it is going to be incredibly tough to wait for another new release from these 2 evil genius’. Until that day arrives, every album in their catalog is a timeless classic that never weakens no matter how  many times you spin them. “Old days come to life again… old mornings dawn.” Indeed. -Marty

Napalm Records

~ by martyworm on May 1, 2013.

2 Responses to “Summoning – Old Mornings Dawn”

  1. I must admit, Summoning is a band that has never piqued my interest enough to investigate them, as the whole Tolkien thing has put me off, and I tend to prefer the less symphonic side of metal. I think that may have to change – any music that can inspire a review such as this has to be worth listening to seriously and with open ears.

  2. Hear hear! Beautiful review, I’m definitely gonna give this one a shot. The Worm might turn me into a believer yet…

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