Release DetailsLABEL Moribund Records
RELEASED ON 4/26/2005
posted on 5/2005 By:
Dear Belial, this is a scorcher of a record. The agenda here, for those of you as yet unacquainted with this veteran band, is blowtorch, bonecrushing unabashedly AMERICAN death metal with subtle nods towards the likes of Sarcofagó, Ophiolatry, Morbid Angel, Destroyer 666, early Marduk and Blasphemy. What this all equates to, of course, is a strain of blowtorch barbarity that many internet types have classified as ‘’war metal’’, an impossibly vague term that has come to bracket cantankerous outfits as disparate as Revenge and Gospel Of The Horns. While sharing a definite kinship and ethic with many of their Aussie and Canuck peers, Summon’s attack has, over their long and storied career, taken shape into something altogether more disciplined and savvy than many of their bullet-belted brethren, a mercilessly cruel whirlwind of blasphemous butchery that manages to walk the tightrope between chaos and discipline with breathless finesse. Following last year’s seething James Murphy produced ..And The Blood Runs Black LP is, by any standards, a daunting task indeed, said record being an immaculate amalgamation of Finnish, Sunlight Swedish, Floridian, Canadian and South American sounds, tightly wound and funneled through a pummeling production job that provided them the sonic canvas to craft the finest moment of their career.
Does this deliver then? Sweet Belphegor, yes! While it is perhaps far too early to declare this as superior to …And The Blood Runs Black and the incendiary Baptized By Fire, Fallen is a fine, fine record that once again showcases Summon’s intimate sensitivity for songcraft and unbridled vigor for metal, a 35 minute opus of snarling mayhem that eyes the bloodstained throne that Angelcorpse vacated some years ago. What you will notice upon playing the record is that everything just feels so NATURAL- you don’t get the impression that Summon are overstepping their boundaries here, as every song feels meticulously crafted, every second deliberate, each idea executed with immaculate aplomb. This is clearly the work of veterans, and as such Summon hardly suffer from the busy convolution of so many younger bands of the same ilk. Arrangements are relatively compact, Summon steering clear of the 55 riffs per song formula favoured by many bludgeoning war metal outfits and inserting plenty of hookier, Dismember-flavoured riffage into the blastbeat-driven proceedings.
The influences throughout are many: early Morbid Angel is almost certainly the outfit which most pundits will point out, as well as pronounced shades of Deicide, Entombed and a filthy putrescent edge that recalls American forefathers like Havohej and Necrovore. Of course, such comparisons are merely superficial at best, as Summon merely shares an artistic bond with the mentioned ancients, forging a sound that falls somewhere between the unhallowed ground that Nephasth (Morbid Angel on roids), Hate Eternal, Impiety and Axis Of Advance (blistering cacophony siphoned through calculated structures) stampede upon. Wisely, songs hover around the 2 to 4 minute mark, streamlined nuggets that aim for the jugular and refuse to meander into more dynamic or introspective territory. Naturally, this is both Summon’s gift and curse- to all but the most battle hardened worshippers of the blast beat, the two speeds that this record plays at (fast and faster) could prove to be quite exhausting. Acutely conscious of this fact, Summon have thrown in more than enough headbanger friendly, downtuned riffage, SCREAMING Hannemann type leads, piledriving rhythms and ruthless riff changes to maintain a high level of interest throughout. And how about that Warfare on amphetamines “Loud As Hell, Fast As Fuck”?
While black metal purists may scream bloody murder at the pristine production job here (drums sound slightly tampered, but not overbearingly so, thank Beelzebub!), I have always been of the opinion that bands of Summon’s density and intensity absolutely require a superior varnish to their work, unless, of course, they aim for the wall-of-noise histrionics of Baltak or Revenge. The omnipresent kick drum sounds bold, full and rich, the cymbals appreciably crisp and the snare punchy and sharp. This is always a good thing when you have a player as fierce as Asteroth, who capably lives up to prior exploits with a jackhammer, relentless performance chock full of lightning fast kick drums and suffocating fills, allowing absolutely no breathing room for the hapless listener. The guitar sound is appropriately sludgy in a quasi-Sunlight fashion, barreling and churning at a slightly more ominous pace to the frenetic barrage of blastbeats, its only detriment being the fact that they are so bassy and downtuned that the addition of the bass serves little purpose other than to further buttress the hefty low end of the record instead of adding a further malevolent dimension.
Granted, this is far from the most dynamic record you’ll hear all year. This isn’t some pretentious pseudo-prog Opeth wankery, this isn’t a record that you’ll listen to searching for introspective depth and classical instrumentation. This won’t top the metal magazine top 10 lists with the rest of the My Dying Bride wannabe records this year, praised unanimously by journalists claiming to champion the artistic depth (read: wimpiness) in metal. This is a gauntlet in the face of pretense and wankery, presented with a naked aggression and grisly fury that can only be Summon’s. While previous fans may have noticed that the Sarcofagó and Sodom influences that typified their demo and early material has progressively given way to more Floridian and Sunlight inclinations, the raw and debauched sound yielding for something far more varnished, this is hardly a reason for complaint, considering how caustic, HONEST and barbaric Fallen is. Summon have delivered another winner, and if you dug Impiety’s latest, you will love this one.
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