SUMMONING - Oath Bound

Summoning - Oath Bound

8 songs
69:08 minutes


After thirteen years in the business you can hardly call a band newcomers, and as much as I wanted to like Summoning's eighth album Oath Bound, I just have too many problems overcoming production deficiencies. Maybe it's because this Austrian two-piece - that collected already experience in other Austrian dark metal bands Abigor and Die Verbannten Kinder Evas (although I always thought they were from Liechtenstein) relies too much on synthetic sounds, which by itself wouldn't be a problem, but the final result never sounds transparent enough. Maybe this washed out production was wanted, but the guitars totally drown beneath the keyboards that very often have this pre-programmed shopping mall sound. The drum programming at times isn't bad, but again they fail to develop the necessary punch.

I know that a lot of black metal related bands take pride in an underground feeling to their music, but here this really hurts because from a composing point of view, Oath Bound is really a top notch album. After the three minute long intro, we are treated with seven more songs that all run between eight and thirteen minutes, without Summoning ever showing problems to fill them up with interesting moments. The fact that the songs are interpreted in the Orcish language (as nearly all of Summoning's songs happen in a Tolkien universe) even adds to the novelty factor.

This could have been a great dark symphonic metal album, but as it is, the weak sounds and flat production make you think you listen to a demo recording, something totally unworthy of a band with so much experience!

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