Summoning have returned with an album that feels more like a return to form and they’ve even opted for a more classic “raw” production value, which reminds me a great deal of the early work. There are eight cuts here, all of them heavily influenced by synth work, yet I feel that these synths are the strongest point in the album. Atmsopheres are built in mass, which made me feel so overtaken by tracks like “Silvertine” and “Herumor” that I didn’t want them to end. Ever. They could have just kept those instrumental sections going for two or more hours and I’d have been fine. There are some oddities on the disc however, especially when a cleaner vocal approach appears on “Carcharoth” and “Night Fell Behind.” I understand that perhaps age is creeping up and two decades of scowling can take it’s toll after awhile, but these clean tones just don’t work for me.
Suffice it to say, Summoning are making a bold attempt to capture the magic of their early albums where heavy synth and rough-edged black metal forged their unique style. A style which formed many copycats and will no doubt inspire several more of these, who are just as good as the progenitor. I honestly don’t believe that this album would be even half as memorable without the synths, just like classic Depeche Mode wouldn’t be as noteworthy for the same exact reason. It might sound a bit odd that I’m considering a Summoning album memorable for the same reason that I would consider a Depeche Mode disc like Violator or Construction Time Again, but in retrospect; the synths are what sold this performance for me. It is in a sense, a very horny album where medieval landscapes are triumphantly explored and a real sense of darkness uttered. Some may feel that the record only serves as a reminder of their previous work, which is arguably better. Though I can say that I’m more than happy with the performance offered here and it feels more like the Summoning that we remember.