Summoning – Old Mournings Dawn (Napalm Records)Friday, 14th June 2013
The elusive duo of Silenius and Protector have already cemented their career with the back-to-back pairing of 1999’s Stronghold and 2001’s Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame. With a sound that is designed to visualize the world of Middle-Earth, the two spared no matter of triumph and wonder with these two albums, and when factoring in their mysterious presence in the black metal scene, it made Summoning a thoroughly compelling entity. However, these long breaks between albums (2006’s Oath Bound was their most recent release) have managed to peel away some of the band’s luster. Old Mournings Dawn is equally as unsatisfying as its predecessor.
The eight songs that comprise of Old Mournings Dawn are largely mired in fairly C-grade melodies and movements. Whereas the band’s output from over a decade ago found the proper median between epic volleys and morose passage, Old Mournings Dawn fails to find the proper pairing. And given the long breadth of cuts like “The White Tower” and “The Wandering Fire,” without those moments of climax, Summoning shows some severe chinks in its battle-tested armor.
The plodding drum machine patterns were a given, as was the vocal trade-offs between Protector’s Bathory-rasp and Silenius’s more traditional spew, yet there’s this surface-level malaise that blankets the album that is hard to bypass. Granted, Summoning has their own sound to cling to as well as the most-ardent attachment to Tolkien in all of metal, but that doesn’t account for what has become a two album streak of generally boring songs.