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Summoning - Nightshade Forests
Review: Austrian midnight trippers Summoning emerge with another epic masterpiece of atmospheric, Tolkien-inspired narrative metal. While this album is still in the black metal style, they have modified it with synthpop-ish nearly tribal percussion, and lengthy, sparse passages marked by wandering keyboard melodies over sympathic guitar lines that emphasize harmonic space, giving it an epic, mystical and isolated feeling perfect for the moods of idealistic Romanticism.
Much of the philosophy of the past can be discerned from this style. While instruments each take an important role, none step into the spotlight because the music is formed of the interaction of each and not the instrument in itself, making context and role more important than flashy technique or out-of-place dramatics. This gives the music a constantly building, quiet dynamic that infiltrates consciousness and creates a perception of atmosphere in which repeated themes emerge in layers to silhouette a single idea that is never fully expressed but always present.
Each song is a series of melodies which develop into a larger theme, which narrates a journey, much in the way Tolkien unspun his dark tales. While these songs are mostly leftovers from what may be this band's best work, Dol Guldur, they are also in a style which is more like mainstream pop for its catchy electronic beats and poignantly mixed emotions on which it rides like summer clouds at dusk. However, the result is a beautiful and immersive thickly stacked musical feast in which it is easy to lose ourselves in contemplation of beauty, and for that this EP is one of Summoning's greatest successes.