|Review: Summoning - Oath Bound|
Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2006
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: April 22, 2006
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4.39/5 (87.72%) (57 Votes)
Sixth and long-awaited album from the legendary, enigmatic Summoning, "Oath Bound" is everything I could have wanted, and barring some sort of miracle, it is pretty much guaranteed the top spot on my 'best of' list for the year. I have been back and forth for weeks now trying to decide if this album is as good as "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame", or if it is better. I have to finally admit that I just can't decide, and so with head bowed in awe I have to just say that this is almost undoubtedly not only the best metal album that will be released this year, but the best album period.
No one makes music like Summoning, because I don't think anyone else can. I hesitate to class them as Black metal, but that's apparently what they want to be called, so I won't buck that here. But this is so far from 'blast n' screech' BM you can barely see it from here, the harsh vocals being the only component to their sound that recalls their roots at all. As on "Mortal Heroes…" Summoning craft colossal, thundering soundscapes so epic they make most so-called 'epic' bands sound like little kids banging on tin pots. Huge, sweeping themes backed by the crashing war-drum samples cut through by the tortured howls of the vocals intoning some of the most beautiful, evocative lyrics you can imagine – there's no one else who makes music like this. As on the last album, there are places where they give up the vocals to a massed choir, and those parts sound so good I wish they did it more.
I find it hard to describe how much Summoning and their music affect me. As a kid my first bedtime story was "The Lord Of The Rings", so I went to Middle-Earth when I was 5, and in a lot of important ways, I have never really come back. For me this band evokes that place better than any other, and their music just transports me to a place where I will never go, but that my heart will always call home. Maybe other people won't feel that call like I do. But I believe that if you put this album on and close your eyes, then Summoning will carry you away. Magnificent.
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