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Summoning is an Austrian black metal band based in Vienna. Since their formation in 1993 they have released eight albums and two EPs on Napalm Records. Their lyrics make extensive use of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth writings and mythology. Since 1995, their lineup has had a consistent lineup of musicians Silenius and Protector. The band has never performed live and has consistently maintained that they have no interest in ever doing so. Their latest album "With Doom We Come" was released on January 5, 2018.
Summoning was formed sometime in 1993 by Silenius (Michael Gregor), Protector (Richard Lederer) and Trifixion (Alexander Trondl). Before creating Summoning, Protector was playing drums in a thrash/death metal band called Marlignom and had embarked on a four-year study of drums in music school. Silenius was in a doom metal band Shadow Vale (at 16 years old) and had a few years in music school studying piano. Before Summoning, Silenius was making music, together with Pazuzu (Ray Wells) in a band Cromm. Trifixion played in the band Pervertum.
Summoning recorded two demos (Upon the Viking's Stallion and Anno Mortiri Domini), as well as a split with the Austrian band Pazuzu (The Urilia Text) and a five-track promo tape for Lugburz. Nearly all songs from the demos were never released after or took place on CDs in a very different version.
The demos sold quite well in a record shop in Vienna called "Why not". Some time later Silenius got in contact with T.T. (Thomas Tannenberger), eventually leading to the birth of Abigor. Silenius ended up doing all vocals for Abigor releases (except the demos) as a permanent member until 1999. The first Abigor album was recorded for the young Napalm Records label, which led to Silenius managing to get a deal from Napalm for Summoning's debut Lugburz in 1995. At that time the members of Summoning were: Silenius – vocals, keyboards, bass; Protector – vocals, keyboards, guitar; Trifixion – drums (his last release with the band); Pazuzu lent some additional vocals and wrote some of the lyrics. Lugburz was more traditional black metal and very different from the band's later releases that would follow.
The band continued as a duo after the departure of Trifixion, releasing Minas Morgul in 1995. This was the band's first release in their new style, an epic and atmospheric style utilizing guitar purely as a background instrument and synth almost as a lead, using re-recorded early songs. Dol Guldur, in 1996, continued this style and saw an influence from Protector's darkwave project Ice Ages. It also credits J.R.R. Tolkien for lyrics. In 1997, the Nightshade Forests EP was released, and has since been included on the recent Dol Guldur pressings. After this, the band ceased all work for nearly two years, and also stopped work with many of their other music projects. But in 1999, Summoning returned with Stronghold which, while still in the classic Summoning style, focused more on guitar work to create melodic lines rather than keyboards and synthesizers than in previous releases.
In the year 2001 the follow-up Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame was released. This release was a kind of combination between the old and new style of Summoning, with the keyboard lines being more epic and polyphonic while the guitars bore a similarity with the more complex and rock-esque guitar-style from Stronghold. This time the band used more spoken-word samples to bring a more dramatic style to the songs and for the first time the band works with clear vocal choirs on the song "Farewell". The lyrical concept again was totally based on Tolkien's Middle-earth, but for the first time it was combined with some inspiration from Michael Moorcock's fantasy writings. In 2003, they released the Lost Tales EP, which consisted of leftovers from the Dol Guldur sessions.
2006 saw the release of Oath Bound, which consisted of all new material. The long break between Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame and Oath Bound was due to struggles in the band members' personal lives, along with lack of ideas. Oath Bound featured a "relaxed arpeggio style" guitar sound, which gave a more epic feeling to the sound of the album. The band also had higher-quality equipment available to them for the recording of the album and were able to create greater choir vocals than they had done before. A 4-song mini CD was suggested for release in 2007 containing at least one song which didn't make it onto Oath Bound due to size issues, however, this idea was abandoned and Protector instead began work on music for a full-length release while waiting for Silenius to finish recording the next Kreuzweg Ost album.
Following the release of Oath Bound, Summoning entered a period of inactivity. Silenius experienced a creative block and lacked inspiration for creating new music for Summoning. He also suffered a heart-attack which "knocked me out for another half a year, but somehow all this brought me to a point where I got hungry again and since then I concentrated again on making riffs. Everything started in small steps. but after a while I knew in which direction the music was going and the more I knew this, the easier it was to compose and the result is what you hear now."
In February 2012, the band announced on their website that they were in the process of writing new songs, and were hoping to have most of the songs complete by the end of the year. In December 2012 it was announced that all the guitars and Protector's vocal parts for the new album were complete and that the upcoming album would be entitled Old Mornings Dawn. Old Mornings Dawn was released in June 2013 on Napalm Records and lyrically focuses mostly on nature themes, as well as J.R.R. Tolkien's Valinor.
In 2015 the band confirmed that they had already begun working on creating a new album, and were focused on rewriting some of the leftover material from Old Mornings Dawn.
On December 15, 2016 a compilation tribute album titled 'In Mordor Where The Shadows Are - Homage to Summoning' was released by Wolfspell Records. The album features covers of 21 different Summoning songs by artists such as Caladan Brood and Emyn Muil.
On August 12, 2017, Summoning posted an update on their official Facebook page noting that despite troubles, setbacks and disputes, the band's new album will be released in January 2018 through Napalm Records. The band posted a teaser of the new music, although they did not disclose the name of the forthcoming album.
On October 1, 2017, Summoning posted an update on their Facebook page announcing the title of the album as With Doom We Come. The album was subsequently released on January 5, 2018.
The band's debut album Lugburz was a traditional black metal album, with a raw, lo-fi production style. On their following album Minas Morgul the band's sound changed significantly, and has been characterised as "a departure from straight black metal in favor of bold atmospheric experimentation which retains a definite blackened feel." The band's sound has remained relatively consistent since then. The band's sound is frequently described as 'epic, 'hypnotic', and 'atmospheric', and makes extensive use of keyboards, choir vocals, clean singing, synthesized instruments, and programmed drums. Though the drums are programmed, they are played using a keyboard rather than with a drum machine. Their sound has been described as "a particularly widescreen version of progressive black metal, a style that more recently has been infused with an almost medieval strain of twiddly folk music of the lutes 'n' flutes variety." The band's music is deeply influenced by the literature of J. R. R. Tolkien, particularly The Lord of the Rings. Most of the band's lyrics are derived from Tolkien's own works. Silenius has claimed to be influenced by dark wave and ritualistic music as well as fantasy literature.
The band has said that they consider themselves to be composers rather than musicians and do not practice together before recording. Guitarist Protector does not own a guitar and has used a different borrowed guitar for every recording since Dol Guldur. Read more on Last.fm
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