Summoner’s Circle

Many of the bands I review on this site, I randomly encountered. That’s the case for Tennesse’s  Summoner’s Circle. In my “why the fuck not,” era just last year, I saw a festival of which I had not heard in my state called Toledo Death Fest. Despite the hot sun, they were a stylistic sore thumb, being the only black metal band on the bill. They played in broad daylight, too.

I picked up two of their full-lengths at the show and enjoyed them. They have many influences, one of them being Dimmu Borgir, which shows up several times across the album. The first track “Cult of the Dead Son,” has symphonic flourishes throughout, with a mixture of high black metal rasps and lower growls. The band knows how to write a hook as evidenced in the song’s chorus.

The Dimmu Borgir influence is obvious from the beginning of the next track, “Shroud of Humanity.” Symphonics are present again, as well as background choral vocals. There are some cleans here, too. The keys luckily don’t touch the dark Disney vibes seen on Dimmu’s most recent output. However, at the 3:23 mark, the Dimmu references are chiseled in stone because of those Snowy Shaw/ICS Vortex vocals. They don’t sound forced, either. The chorus opens the door for them early.

“I thought you said there were other influences?”

Don’t worry because folk black metal has its place as well. Take for example the intro to “Thirst of the Vulture.” Okay, so it doesn’t last long before getting back into familiar territory, including those cleans I mentioned earlier. The folk influence does come to the center a couple more times, but it’s not a focus. The ending of the track with its clean guitars and symphonics proves that Summoner’s Circle knows how to write a great song.

“Profit of Death” could be the closer at nearly 7 minutes, but it’s not. It is however the longest track. It begins with some clean vocals, which are prevalent enough to never be a surprise even during the first listen. On the track itself, they’re front and center with almost a trade-off with the brutal lows. It bears mentioning this track highlights the production. A production in which you can hear all instruments. The guitar lead, which seems to signal the end of the track is one of the best on the album. It also segues into a moodier section with more soulful leads. Despite its length, this probably SHOULD have been the closer.

Without rambling on much further, I pre-ordered the CD not long after hearing this for the first time. That was well over a month ago. It’s always a pleasure to find a band completely by accident, speak with them briefly, and become a fan. I enjoy this album immensely, and if you’re into symphonic black metal, check this out. It scratches a specific itch of which you could probably rid yourself in the shower, but you’re not going to do that. Pick this up instead.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
June 13th, 2024


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