The last SUMMONING CD I bought "Minas Morgul", was their debut from 1995 (Objection, your honour, "Lugburz" was their debut! - Alex). This is the follow-up released the next year and it is very much in the same mold. More like a continuation of their last album than a follow-up.
For those unfamiliar with this weird Austrian band, SUMMONING play a kind of gloomy, atmospheric Black Metal that is as far removed as you can get from the usual hyperspeed satan-screaming approach. They write looooooong songs with lots of moody keys and understated guitar harmonies set to programmed drumbeats. Even though this is a little more sprawling than "Minas Morgul", it is also more focused and the songs as a whole sound tighter and more unified that before. Unfortunately, that means they are sometimes more dull and less interesting. I have to say this album is not quite as catchy as its predecessor and the melodies are not as compelling. It starts out well with the short (for this band) intro track and then the excellent "Nightshade Forests", but some of the later songs ("Kor", "Into A Long Glory…") are way too long with not enough going on to keep them interesting. As a whole the album does wear out its welcome a bit and by the end you are dying to hear something more aggressive.
The booklet has awesome cover art and a nice look to the interior. The inside art is great but mostly lifted from well-known Tolkien artists. In case the title didn't tell you, SUMMONING are VERY into "The Lord Of The Rings" and pretty much all their lyrics are focused on Tolkien themes, sometimes simply quoting whole passages from the books. Even with an album this long, a note in the booklet promises that "The forgotten songs of 'Dol Guldur' will be released on the mini-CD 'Nightshade Forests'" Which CD I will review shortly.
If you like other SUMMONING CDs, you will like this too. It isn't quite as good as "Minas Morgul", but if you like super-atmospheric music this will hit the spot just fine. (Online January 13, 2004)