Strange that the two genres in Metal where you will find the most devotion to J.R.R. Tolkien are Power Metal and Black Metal - genres which otherwise find little common ground. SUMMONING are an interesting kind of mutant hybrid of Black Metal and atmospheric New Agey music. This was their debut CD and despite what I expected, this works pretty well.
The band makes extensive use of drum machines for their rhythm section, as this is not a real band but more of a studio project. But the heart of SUMMONING's music is the melodic interplay between guitar and keys. The guitars are very dry and treble-end, as you would expect from a project rooted in Black Metal and the vocals are the inevitable goblin rasp - though on this CD, I suppose that's appropriate. The vocals are not mixed too upfront though, so they don't distract from the very good music at hand.
With long, long songs, understated vocals and a lack of any real bottom-end to the mix, the melodies had better be pretty darned good to make this disc worth the effort, happily, this album does not disappoint. SUMMONING rapidly prove that they know what they are about and continue to captivate with the cool music they have assembled here. This is less a collection of songs than one loooong composition that creates and sustains a particular mood and ambience. There is nothing on this CD you can really headbang or rock out to, but this album is compelling nonetheless and unfailingly interesting. SUMMONING may not appeal to the dedicated 'Tr00' Black Metal legions, but they are nevertheless a unique and fascinating band. (Online November 17, 2003)