To Mordor and Back: 5 Great Summoning Songs

In our age of detached irony and social earnestness, there’s something to be said for a band that chooses an epic or mythological motif for their music. This is nothing new in metal, of course, but it tends to be the realm of power metal and pagan metal. Many metal journalists either scoff at these styles or just don’t get the satisfying sense of menace and aggression present in other styles (I fall into the latter group).

But black metal has proven fertile ground for this as well. You can see it in Enslaved who explore Norse mythology and history in their music, as well as bands like Kawir that reach back into the Homeric world of Zeus and Poseidon. Additionally, J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium, with its heroes, dragons and dark magic, is the perfect staging area of a self-consciously grandiose sound. And this is where Austria’s Summoning comes in. Since the mid-1990s, the band has specialized in blending second-wave black metal with sounds reminiscent of dungeon synth, along with hints of death rock (they’re there if you know where to look). And to add to this legacy, they will be releasing a new album, With Doom We Come, on January 5, 2018.

Yes, I’m sure many of you black metal fanatics don’t need an introduction to Summoning. However, they last released an album in 2013, and many new fans have come to the genre since then. Also, in the rush to discover as many bands and scenes as possible, some big names can get overlooked. So check out the quick primer of five great Summoning songs below. Great for anyone into atmospheric black metal with a taste for (sometimes cheesy) synths or who really loves The Silmarillion, or DM’s looking for good background music for the next session:

“Morthond” (from Minas Morgul, 1995)

“Nightshade Forests” (from Dol Goldur, 1997)

“Land of the Dead” (from Oath Bound, 2006)

“Flammifier” (from Old Mornings Dawn, 2013)

“With Doom I Come” (from With Doom We Come, 2018)