Get ready to be transported into the wonderful world of Tolkien, because Austria’s Summoning are back with their eighth full-length effort. We took the plunge.
When Old Morning’s Dawn came out all the way back in 2013, I enjoyed it immensely. At least, initially. Since then, it has existed as a sort of black spot in my Summoning collection for some reason, and for a long time, I didn’t have the foggiest as to why that was. Late last year, however, when I sat down and listened to everything the band did from Stronghold on, trying to prepare myself for the release of With Doom We Come, it finally hit me; Old Morning’s Dawn lacked standout tracks. It’s excellent from start to finish, but it dearly misses one or two songs which make you sit up and take notice. Oath Bound had Land of the Dead and Mirdautas Vras, Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame had Farewell and In Hollow Halls Beneath the Fells, but Old Morning’s Dawn? It just went on about its business for an hour. Oh dear. Time to start worrying about the upcoming new album then?
Well, good news: With Doom We Come is a leap back into the right direction. First and foremost, there is much more variety in the material this time around, which helps a lot in keeping things interesting for over an hour. Things start out lightly with Tar-Calion which, although a proper song clocking in at over seven minutes, feels more like a glorified intro, easing the listener into things to come. As far as I’m concerned, With Doom We Come kicks off properly with Silvertine, which is as classic a Summoning song as they come. There’s basically one guitar riff and a keyboard part played on top of it, and it grows during almost nine minutes, with musical layers added to it continually. The same goes for the following Carcharoth (and, by default, for all other tracks on the album save the instrumental interlude Barrow-downs), with the only difference here being that the raspy black metal vocals have been eschewed in favour of something more resembling actual singing. I’m quite sure the band won’t win The Voice with it any time soon, but it’s an added element to the Summoning sound.
The next highlight is the brooding Herumor, built around a melancholy (digital) harpsichord melody, which then swells and swells until it’s this big, pompous thing full of sounds and choirs. Barrow-downs sets things up for Night Fell Behind, which is perhaps the album’s darkest song, drive by a crunchy guitar riff over which are layered keyboard melodies and ominous drums. Mirklands offers almost eleven minutes of pure, folksy atmosphere before the band closes things off with the phenomenal With Doom I Come. It’s the closest the band has come to emulating the epic Land of the Dead, and it’s a brilliant way to close off the album. The recipe is, again, as simple as putting one good riff and one good keyboard melody on top of that, but it’s a trick Summoning does so damned well. The musical theme is melancholy, and with the almost militaristic digital drums and the choirs it turns into the undisputed highlight of the album. Like it damn well should be.
After a slight lull in the proceedings, Summoning are back in fine form on With Doom We Come. There is a lot more variation in the material here, and whilst the album lasts for well over an hour, time seems to fly and the repeat button looms, which are the hallmarks of a great album in my book. Oath Bound is still the one Summoning album to rule them all, but With Doom We Come veers dangerously close to the quality of that one. If there is one band and one album able to transport you into Tolkien’s Middle-earth this year, look no further.
Label: Napalm Records
Release: out now
- Night Fell Behind
- With Doom I Come
- Protector – guitars, vocals, keyboards
- Silenius – bass, vocals, keyboards