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Summoning - Old Mornings Dawn (2013) - Review

Band: Summoning
Album title: Old Mornings Dawn
Release date: 7 June 2013
Label: Napalm Records

01. Evernight
02. Flammifer
03. Old Mornings Dawn
04. The White Tower
05. Caradhras
06. Of Pale White Morns And Darkened Eves
07. The Wandering Fire
08. Earthshine
09. The Darkening Of Valinor [special edition bonus]
10. With Fire And Sword [special edition bonus]

Seven long years have passed since Summoning's masterpiece Oath Bound and now the wait is over my dear Elves, Dwarves, Ents, Hobbits, Orcs, Men and all the rest of Middle-earth races. Like the story of Valar who listened to Eärendil's the Mariner plea, went with a mighty host to Middle-earth and overthrew Morgoth, now it's time for every men to reflect over the pleas for a better future and fight against what is rotten and corrupted among us... those who actually read The Silmarillion will know what's all about and new Summoning creation is in a great part inspired by the Tolkien story about Half-elven Eärendil, who has, after sailing a great part of the world, become the Morning Star. Ok, those are legends and in a part references, Old Mornings Dawn is here!
Silenius and Protector, the two responsible for the Summoning music are staying loyal to all those things that Summoning was and is about - their vision of a soundtrack for Middle-earth legends. Old Mornings Dawn is, believe me, one of the greatest sounding albums that deal with those matters and I can't be wrong with saying that Summoning have no competitors in this world. Do you remember the great, epic and melancholic closure of Oath Bound, hymn "Land Of The Dead"? The atmosphere on the present album is somehow similar to that, but still it brings a lot more, don't get me wrong that this album is just a continuation of Oath Bound, the truth is far away from there. Old Mornings Dawn is without doubt the most melancholic, nostalgic, and at the same time also the most encouraging, yet catchiest album in the history of Summoning. Without doubt this one has all the qualities that made them who they are today, still the range of sounds is wider and compositions are in a way reacher, yet there's a lot of that typical medieval and folklorish kind of ambiance.

If Summoning have worked seven years ago more on battle kind of ambiances and heroical poems, this time the emphasis is on the atmospheric soundscapes, heavier and more distinctive guitar riffs, somehow reacher percussions and more experimentation with vocals. If you pay close attention to guitar lines you might notice some resemblances with Burzum from Filosofem, but Summoning added a lot of melody. Everything is slow paced, but the atmosphere is very reach and dense all over the songs. All those sounds of whistles, flutes, horns, majestic orchestrations, strong and elaborate pounding drums, gloomy keyboards and of course vocals that can get under your skin with that raven kind of shrieks. There are of course amazing choirs and spoken vocals.

Each song is its own chapter, each one is an epic and solemn structure. Old Mornings Dawn opens with a short introduction "Evernight", but soon shows its potential in "Flammifer", where the composition is similar to "The Passing Of The Grey Company" from Minas Morgul, released almost twenty years ago. Then it continues with the strongest track up here, album titled "Old Mornings Dawn", that carries kind of optimistic zeal, even swords are heard in here, great launding choirs and battle kind of drumming, but this feeling is lost soon with the most melancholic and desperate "The White Tower", with a great guitar riff and still relaxing, but full of pain vocal interpretation.

The highlight in my opinion is "Caradhras". I have no words to describe the beauty of this song, it really takes your imagination out of this world, into places seen only in legends and stories. The song is growing slowly untill the ultimate climax is reached. Just listen how amazing the sound of flute interferes with solemn orchestration and heroic choir, how great catchy melody is carried through the whole track, so dense, so beautiful, so melancholic. Maybe the best track Summoning ever did.

Then, the drums and other percussion on "Of Pale White Morns And Darkened Eves" are breathtaking and the gothy keys in the beginning of "The Wandering Fire" that get lost and overtaken very soon by the blurred guitar riffs and other gloomy sounds are something darkest on this record. Everything closes with another beauty "Earthshine" that is growing around the playful sound of flute and offers some nice piano touches, heavenly orchestrations, choirs, spoken voice.

The wait for seventh studio album from Summoning was worth, the anticipation is repayed in a big way. Those who'll get special editions of the album will be revarded with two bonuses. The production is the clearest one that Summoning ever did, each instrument can be enjoyed in its fullest form. It has kind of organic, but at the same time very deep sound. Beautiful artwork just adds some points to this unforgetable experience. Summoning did an album that is an instant classic, it can offer an amazing experience, either you are listening to it in the solitude of your room, while playing one of the Elder Scrolls instalations, walking in the nature or driving the car through some mesmerizing scenery. If you've searched for a masterpiece within epic, atmospheric, and  black metal music then search no more, Summoning did it!

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 10/10