Summoning is an Austrian band, which plays black metal and takes its inspiration in Tolkien’s world, Middle-Earth.

The band was formed in 1993 by Silenius (Michael Gregor), Protector (Richard Lederer) and Trifixion (Alexander Trondl). Their first album Lugburz (1995) is more traditional black metal, but after that the drummer Trifixion left the band, and because they didn’t want to get a new drummer, they started to use keyboard in making medieval percussion sounds. The result can be heard on their second album, Minas Morgul (1995), which is more epic and ambient album with touch of the old black metal style. It was totally influenced by Tolkien themes, as all their later material, and also contained much of the material from old demos.

The third album Dol Guldur (1996) continues Minas Morgul’s style, musically and lyrically. It is less metallic and a lot more ambient than the first two albums, but the next release Nightshade Forests EP (1997) is their least metallic and most ambient work yet. After this, Summoning stopped their activity until 1999, when they released their new album Stronghold, which many fans consider as the band’s best album.

Their sixth album Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame (2001) is a kind of combination between the old and new style of Summoning, and they used more spoken-word samples. The lyrics were totally based on Tolkien’s Middle-earth again, but now combined with some lyrics from another fantasy author Michael Moorcock. In the year 2003 Summoning released a mini CD Lost Tales, which contains two songs that were officially composed and recorded in the years 1996 and 1997.

Summoning’s music consists of ambient noise made by guitar, melody lines provided by keyboard (which is primarily used to imitate classical/medieval instruments), heavy beats provided by a drum machine and shrieking and rasping vocals in long breaths. Actually the vocals are the only real tie-in to black metal; however they fit the music perfectly. Songs can be over ten minutes, very repetitive with little more than a single riff or melody line, but they move smoothly forward, without superfluous material or moments where one might lose interest and attention. The lyrics are based on the works of Tolkien with many lines and verses taken directly from the poetry and songs of Middle-earth. Compared to many other bands which also base their lyrics on Tolkien’s writings, Summoning is said to invoke something deeper and more enduring in Tolkien’s world – the darkness and mystery of it. However, unlike many other black metal bands which Tolkien’s world has had influence on or have Tolkien inspired names, like Gorgoroth or Burzum, Summoning is not clearly standing up for the dark side, but rather just expresses the tales and the essence of that world.

Summoning will never play live. They have made this decision not just because their music would be hard to play live on stage, but also the feeling of Middle-earth that comes from listening to the music cannot be expressed and experienced in a situation like that.

I’d recommend listening to Summoning to everyone who likes metal music, and especially if you’re a fan of Tolkien and Middle-earth! If you’re not so sure about metal music, then I’d suggest trying and seeing how Tolkien’s texts have been arranged for this music genre and just experience the feeling.

Here are the lyrics of two songs …

Elfstone from Dol Guldur

All that is gold does not glitter
All that is long does not last
All that is old does not wither
Not all that is over is past
And I may not get through in time
Oh, Elfstone – bearer of my green stone
In the south under snow a green stone thou shalt see
Elfstone – in the shadow of the dark throne
For the hour is at hand that long hath awaited thee
Greenleaf – bearer of the Elvenbow
Far beyond Mirkwood many trees on earth grow
Thy last shaft when thou hast shot
Under the mournful trees thou shalt walk
For dark are the waters of Kheledzaram
And my heart trembles at the thought that I may see them soon
I am longing for harmony – the freedom within me
Out of dark to the day’s rising
I came crying in the sun – sword unsheathing
To hope’s end I rode and to heart’s breaking
Now for wrath
Now for ruin – and a red nightfall
When the black breath blows – and death’s shadows grow
All lights pass
Life to the dying – in my hand lying
Shrivel like the old mist – like the winds go wailing
Lost and forgotten be – darker than the darkness
Where gates stand for ever shut
‘Til the world is mended

A Distant Flame Before the Sun from Stronghold

I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring
That I shall ever see
I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people who will see a world
that I shall never know

I sit beside the fire and think
Of older times that were before
I listen for returning feet
And voices at my door

On high above the mists I came
A distant flame before the sun
A wonder ere the waking dawn
Where grey the nordlands waters run
In elder days and years of yore
A year there is a lifetime
And a second but a day
And an older would will meet you
Each morn’ you come away

The thunder’s noise is our delight
And lightning makes us day by night
And in the air we dance on high
To the loud music of the sky

Here is a list of links to the sources used in writing this article and also to a couple of pages with well-written, interesting reviews of the albums …

Official Homepage – (some areas are not working)

Webpage – a lot of info, e.g. pics of the band and albums, lyrics, mp3 -extracts

Fan Webpage

Reviews –
and more reviews

~ fogriipus

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