Ever since their debut „Lugburz“ in 1994 SUMMONING had been something special in the Metal scene. Originally a splinter of ABIGOR, the duo Protector and Silenius have evolved into one of the most original bands of the scene in the course of the years and six albums and two EPs, which by now has surpassed ABIGOR in terms of fame and success for a long time and by far.
Many people look down on SUMMONING as monotonous band of the “Know one, know them all” category and that for years now they creatively tread water. I can’t completely wipe off the first accusation, as between the albums there is only a very limited evolution to be detected, but in the case of the Austrians, they have almost perfected this sound and masterfully know how to create their very own atmosphere and how to take the listener onto a travel to Middle-Earth.
Now “Oath Bound“ is the first album since 2001 and the time definitely was well spent for they are putting more emphasis on the epic atmosphere of the compositions than ever and almost 69 minutes playing time for eight songs are a pretty good indicator of this as well. But how does the quality look like? Here they manage to take up, where their best times had left off and even top them off for what the duo has presented us with here is very typically SUMMONING, but with all the assets put into the right light.
The extensive, melodic/epic keyboards, the often rather minimalistic guitars, the drum computer, which does not even try to conceal its origin yet almost perfectly fits this sound, setting an almost machine-like contrast to the warm melodies of the synthesizers, and the rough voices of the two gentlemen make “Oath Bound” an archetypical album, which does not hugely differ from the previous releases, but most probably is the pinnacle of their creation so far, even surpassing the grandeur of “Dol Guldur”, as all elements are put together in the almost best possible way.
The epic opener “Across The Streaming Tide“, “Might And Glory“, which features the first installment of a choir on this album, and the to big parts instrumental “Menegroth“ are three of the highlights of this album, but two tracks stand out even more: “Land Of The Dead“ with its almost 13 minutes, where these choirs elevate the atmosphere of the song even further and then maybe the best SUMMONING track ever: “Mirdautas Vras“, completely sung in the black language of Mordor, incredibly dark and intense, with the rough shrieks of the orcs, the battle horns, one can almost see the dark army rising in front of your mind’s eye, incredibly!
Like with the previous albums SUMMONING most probably won’t win over many of their naysayers with “Oath Bound”, but it has turned out to be an outstanding album, which fans will love from second one and people, who have not come to know this band so far, should definitely check out “Oath Bound”! (Online March 26, 2006)