March 24, 2009

Summoning - Stronghold

Band/artist - Summoning
Genre(s) - Blackened medieval metal
Origin - Austria
Album - Stronghold
Year of release - 1999

Legendary metal band from Austria, with a rather distinct style.
At first glance there seem to be a million reasons I could hate this band: slow black(-ish) metal with strong Medieval undercurrents as provided, of course, by loads upon loads of synths, and with programmed drums that are supposed to resemble old battledrums. The production is rather outdated too, as far as I'm concerned, but few black metal enthusiasts would share my complaints. Somehow though, with Summoning, it all fits together quite satisfactorily. There is little I hate more than digital drums in black metal, and I think by dressing them up as quasi-Medieval percussion, Summoning avoid a major aesthetic flaw here. It's quite a find, really. The guitars and keyboards are near-inseparable to the naked ear, keeping the sound cohesive, and melodies that are potentially crude are layered in such a way as to create something epic. The Medievalism of the melodies makes this a comparatively easily digestable, even bright band for its style, and Stronghold I think epitomises this sound; the refrain of the mysteriously titled Like Some Snow-White Marble Eyes can be called positively jubilant.
  1. Rhûn
  2. Long lost to where no pathway goes
  3. The glory disappears
  4. Like some snow-white marble eyes
  5. Where hope and daylight die
  6. The rotting horse on the deadly ground
  7. The shadow lies frozen on the sky
  8. The loud music of the sky
  9. A distant flame before the sun
Load it down (57.91 MB)


  1. I absolutely love this album. It's definitely the best work by an awesome band. I'm kind of surprised that I never posted it before. :D

    The rhythmic drumming is key to the wonderful atmosphere they produce; in fact I would say it's one of the band's biggest strengths (and I don't normally get excited by percussion).

    Although I normally ignore the lyrics in black metal without question, as a Tolkien-ite, I find this album's use of Tolkien's poetry to fit tremendously with the rhythms and atmospheres they produce. A Distant Flame Before the Sun is a particular favorite.

    Anyway, great post; highly recommended!

  2. Hmmm, I liked The Hobbit. LOTR turned me off right from the beginning. Some points got me wondering if I wasn't accidentally reading the Bible instead. Have to say I like the Bible a little more.