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Summoning - With Doom We Come (2018) - Review

Band: Summoning
Album title: With Doom We Come
Release date: 5 January 2018
Label: Napalm Records

01. Tar-Calion
02. Silvertine
03. Carcharoth
04. Herumor
05. Barrow-Downs
06. Night Fell Behind
07. Mirklands   
08. With Doom I Come

Guardians of Middle-earth, the mighty Austrian duo Summoning is back with a new work of epic proportions. With Doom We Come is another Tolkien based album that exceeds many expectations that I had. Ok, the band which is maybe the most significant and maybe the most influential one playing this kind of atmospheric black metal, certainly won't leave anything to coincidence and five years after their stunning piece of dark art called Old Mornings Dawn the two maestros, Silenius and Protector, created another masterpiece that will expand the borders of our perception how the fantasy world can be infringed into music. With Doom We Come is in many regards quite similar to its predecessor, but still it evokes many different emotions, it's their most ambiental and gloomy work so far, also the ever present whistful atmosphere makes it as one of the most melancholic albums released by Summoning until now.

With Doom We Come is not a concept album like were some of the albums released before, every song is its own story, the only thing that connects them is as always that they are based on J.R.R. Tolkien's writings. Musically this album differs a lot, the black metal side is not that much evident anymore, except for the cold-grim-shrieking vocals, but even the vocals here are so very varied that we can find also clean vocals, deeper growls, spoken vocals and some choirs that make the songs so very intriguing and dynamic. But don't be afraid, their traditional raw blackened guitars are still present, only not that evident. In the mix they put in front line more ambiental side of their music and sounds of strings, horns, trumpets, woodwinds, flutes, different keys and percussion are way more penetrating and exposed, or at least at the same level with guitars and other traditional instruments. This certainly makes their sound even more multi-dimensional and ambiental than ever before.

Over eight tracks, With Doom We Come indulges all things sublime and majestic, while grandiose keyboard backgrounds and mystical intros weave pure atmosphere contrasting with raw black metal. This album is meant to take you on a journey into the fantasy world, it's a dark cinematic soundscape for those who like to dream, but this dream might be a wild one, taking the listener from the land of the Valar to Morgoth and visiting the hills of Shire, before entering in the shadow land called Mirklands. With Doom We Come doesn't feel so very heroic like Old Mornings Dawn or Oath Bound and Stronghold, but it's certainly in many aspects more captivating and haunting. Of course those of you who maybe expected Summoning to return to their black metal roots of their first albums, Lugburz or Minas Morgul, will be disappointed, but fear not, all the blackness is here, just more elaborated, Summoning has grown so very much in terms of compositions in those years that not many can reach their grandiosity.

The album has many surprises, for example the first song, "Tar-Calion", an ode to the last king of the island of Númenor, is an introduction that is in the end working out as a proper song, is without any harsh voices, just bone shaking spoken vocals that set sail to the mystical lands and undiscovered regions of Middle-earth. So very lush, slowly evolving captivating melodies that penetrate the listeners mind while grandiose neo-classical arrangements and orchestrations enrich everything in such a majestic manner. Strong pounding drums and gritty melodic guitar lines that remind to old Burzum stuff are the backbone of the fascinating doomy soundscapes that maliciously enchant the one who enters the musical world of Summoning in the songs that follow. Just listen to the enchanting wistful masterpiece "Silvertine" or to the spectacular "Carcharoth" with those raw driving yet smooth guitar lines and majestic keys, it feels like if some elements from the mighty song "Caradhras", which was present on the previous album, are taken out to create something otherworldly. And indeed, Summoning are otherworldly, there are not many bands on this planet which are able to build up and intensify the ambiance in their songs like they do.

Then these ever evolving slow paced epic sounscapes reach their peak in the cold rather melancholic grim tale called "Herumor". What a fantastic vocal job and how very seductive everything is in this one, fantastic choir closes this one to make kind of a sublime ending. Simply breathtaking, but yet more is to come. In between we are granted with a luxuriant, rather oriental with martial industrial feeling instrumental "Barrow-Downs", followed by a typical Summoning song named "Night Fell Behind". Then with the absolutely epic masterpieces like is 11 minutes long musical saga called "Mirklands", simply stunning sonic journey full of coldness, or the mesmerizing nicely building up, but unfortunately badly mixed (at least the digital version is), "With Doom I Come", the album in a glorious way ends, and even if Summoning offer more than one hour of music it feels like that it ends in an instant.

With Doom We Come is another album made by Summoning that reaches the sublime, and Protector and Silenius have in a magnificient way turned over a new leaf in their bottomless saga. It's a multi layered album that simply needs to be heard many times before every single thing that is hidden inside those refined soundscapes is revealed to the listener in all its glory. It's an album that will not only appeal to their devoted fans, as well it's recommended to fans of genres like dark ambient, dungeon synth, neo-classical music, neo-folk, medieval,... and of course I believe that also some doom metallers will dig it if they are ready to enter the realms of fantasy world with these maestros of cinematic atmospheric black music. I can't be wrong by saying that Summoning have no competitors in this world and every single time, even if we have to wait for it five years or more, just prove this. More than recommended - a must!

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9,5/10